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Preliminary hearing date set for trio accused in Palm Springs corruption case

Preliminary hearing date set for trio accused in Palm Springs corruption case

INDIO, Calif. - A date has been set for the 3-day preliminary hearing of three men facing bribery and perjury charges in a corruption case which rocked Palm Springs. 

Former Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet and developers John Wessman and Richard Meaney will head to court on April 15 for the first day of their preliminary hearing. 

David Greenberg, Wessman's attorney said he was relieved a prelim date has been set.

"We've been wanting to bring this to court and show Mr. Wessman's innocence since the get go. It's just been an unbelievable amount of discovery. The last load was over a 150,000 pages so we've been getting through it," he said.

Richard Meaney was the only one of the trio who appeared in court today. During today's hearing, conditions were set for the brief return of Meaney's passport to allow him to apply for a REAL ID driver's license.

 

 

Wessman, Meaney, and Pougnet are all facing bribery and perjury charges in connection with the downtown redevelopment project -- including the new Kimpton-the Rowan Hotel which was completed after the scandal broke.

The developers are accused of paying Pougnet at least $375,000 to buy votes and influence those projects.

Payments to Pougnet were allegedly drawn directly from accounts maintained by Meaney's Union Abbey Co. and Wessman Development inc., according to court documents. They all pleaded not guilty in October 2017. 

If convicted on all charges, Pougnet could face up to 19 years in state prison and be barred for life from holding public office. Meaney and Wessman could each face a prison sentence of 12 years. 

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