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Channel 10 News: Chula Vista Councilman Lied To Grand Jury

A Chula Vista city councilman lied to a county grand jury investigating his personal interest in a South Bay condominium conversion project, a prosecutor told jurors Wednesday, but a defense attorney said his client did nothing wrong. Defense attorney Marc Carlos said Steve Castaneda never inquired about buying a condo at the Sunbow Villas complex and never made false statements to the grand jury about it. Castaneda is charged with 12 counts of perjury and one count of mailing in a false document. Deputy District Attorney Patrick O’Toole told jurors in his opening statement that Castaneda moved into the Sunbow apartment complex in 2005 when the Chula Vista City Council had already given tentative approval to convert the apartments to condominiums. Castaneda gave a sworn deposition five months before testifying in front of the grand jury, the prosecutor said.
In that deposition, Castaneda said he was renting and didn’t plan on buying a condo at Sunbow and didn’t expect any benefits, the
prosecutor told the jury. The defendant reiterated that testimony to the grand jury, O’Toole said. The prosecutor read an email
from a man associated with the owner of the complex, informing Castaneda when the conversion project would be completed and about the “presale offerings.” Castaneda did not mention those discussions when he testified before the grand jury, the prosecutor said. O’Toole accused the councilman of concealing the truth and impeding the investigation of the grand jury.
“You don’t get to lie about it,” the prosecutor said. “You don’t get to obstruct a grand jury investigation.” But Carlos said everything Castaneda said under oath is true, and that he was never interested in buying a condo at Sunbow. The attorney said the prosecution was trying to establish a relationship between Castaneda and the developer of the condo conversion
project, Ash Israni. Much of the case is based on assumptions people made when they heard Castaneda talk about wanting to buy two separate condos for him and his exwife because they had recently divorced, Carlos said. Castaneda signed a shortterm rental agreement for her to live at the Sunbow apartments, and he lived somewhere else, his attorney said.

p-Carlos defends Chula Vista Councilman

About Marc X. Carlos

Marc Carlos is a partner and co-founder of Bardsley and Carlos LLP. Mr. Carlos has been practicing criminal law since 1987. He has been a member of both the Los Angeles and the San Diego County Public Defender's office where he was a senior trial deputy focusing primarily on serious felony trials. Mr. Carlos has tried over 140 jury trials and represented thousands of clients in criminal matters. He has tried a variety of complex criminal matters ranging from fraud to murder, including death penalty cases.

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