Santa Ana councilman's lawyer wants sex assault charges dropped, citing tainted public opinion

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Santa Ana City Councilman Carlos Bustamante, accused of sexual assault charges, will soon face arraignment but his attorney James Riddet has filed a motion to have the charges dismissed.

Bustamante is accused of sexually assaulting seven women he worked with while he was an executive with the Orange County Public Works Department between 2003 and 2011.

His defense attorney says that Orange County prosecutors’ public comments about the case would make it hard for Bustamante to get a fair trial. That includes calling victims "emotionally vulnerable" and accusing Bustamante of "verbally badger[ing] and mentally harass[ing] them."

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said the alleged sexual assaults of the seven women happened in Bustamante's office at the Orange County Public Works Department. They also took place in stairwells, parking lots and areas the victims were driven to by Bustamante, according to the D.A.

Bustamante's attorney is now asking for the charges to be dismissed; his motion will be considered at the arraignment.

Originally scheduled for Thursday, Bustamante's arraignment has been rescheduled to an unknown future date.

A judge previously denied Riddet’s request for a gag order on the case.

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