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August 29, 2015

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Gilbert case may turn on investigator’s testimony

Attorneys for CSN official claim his remarks mislead grand jury

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STEVE MARCUS / LAS VEGAS SUN

District Judge Donald Mosley listens as defense attorney John Momot makes an argument for dropping charges against CSN construction chief William Gilbert.

Gilbert

Gilbert

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CSN official William Gilbert is accused in the theft of college property in the building of this home on Mount Charleston.

District Judge Donald Mosley on Monday refused to buy into the brunt of the defense’s attack on the theft case against College of Southern Nevada construction chief William “Bob” Gilbert and three other college employees.

But the judge left the door open to dismiss the charges. Mosley took particular interest in the defense argument that a state investigator made misleading statements to the grand jury that indicted the four CSN employees.

After listening to both sides for five hours Friday and Monday, Mosley said he wanted to compare the grand jury testimony of the lead investigator, Anthony Ruggiero, with tape recordings of his interviews with some of the defendants before deciding whether to toss out the case because of any missteps by Ruggiero.

If defense attorneys’ allegations about Ruggiero “are of any substance, then I’m going to have a problem,” Mosley said.

Mosley said he also plans to review state statutes to determine whether the Nevada attorney general’s office properly charged Gilbert with four counts of misconduct by a public officer.

Gilbert was also charged with

13 counts of theft in September in a 34-count indictment alleging he used college equipment, materials and employees to build his Mount Charleston estate. Three men who worked under Gilbert in CSN’s Facilities Management Department — Thad Skinner, Matthew Goins and George Casal — were charged with assisting in the alleged thefts from January 2002 to June 2007. All four defendants are on paid administrative leave.

Defense attorneys John Momot, Joseph Sciscento and Frank Cremen argued Monday that Ruggiero gave misleading testimony to the grand jury in September, testimony that encouraged the panel to indict their clients.

Cremen, who represents Goins, said he has a tape of his client’s interview with Ruggiero that shows Ruggiero “lied” to the grand jury about at least one statement attributed to Goins.

Goins had independently recorded the interview while Ruggiero was also recording it, and what Ruggiero told the grand jury about that statement does not appear on Goins’ tape, Cremen said.

Ruggiero left the attorney general’s office this year for another state job.

Chief Deputy Attorney General Conrad Hafen said he will ask a grand jury to indict the defendants again if Mosley tosses out the charges.

As he had on Friday, Mosley again scoffed at the defense claim that the charges should be dismissed because the attorney general’s office failed to give the grand jury a CSN police report that found “no indication” of any college property at Gilbert’s home.

CSN’s police chief sent his top deputy to Gilbert’s mountain estate to inspect the property several days after a March 26, 2007, Sun story on the construction.

Mosley on Monday said the police report lacked credibility.

The judge also shot down the defense claim that the indictment was faulty because Hafen failed to call two former CSN presidents to testify before the grand jury. Mosley said Monday the two presidents likely would have harmed Gilbert more than helped him if Hafen had questioned them in front of the grand jury.

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