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Former HB officer's trial pushed back

Both sides agree to continue trial to July 11 so more witnesses can be subpoenaed.

April 13, 2011|By Mona Shadia, mona.shadia@latimes.com

The jury trial for a former Huntington Beach police officer who is charged with 20 felonies, including rape, was continued Monday.

James Roberts' trial is now set for July 11.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed to continue the trial until more witnesses are subpoenaed.

Roberts' attorney, John Barnett, is issuing more subpoenas and told the court he expects them to be ready on the pre-trial date, which is set for May 13.

"I think he's going to be found not guilty of everything," Barnett said Monday.

Roberts is charged with false imprisonment and forcible rape and sodomy against his ex-wife and a mistress and making criminal threats against a man while working as an officer for the police department.

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His attorney filed a motion to obtain Roberts' personnel file from the police department.

The file was obtained to access interviews that were conducted by other officers pertaining to Roberts and the case, Barnett said.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Cyril Yu said his office is ready but is fine-tuning the case against Roberts.

Once the trial commences, it will take about three weeks until it goes to the jury for a verdict because of the number of witnesses and details involved, Yu said.

Roberts' ex-wife, whose name is withheld because she may be a rape victim, filed a lawsuit against the city alleging fellow officers and superiors covered up for Roberts and refused to help her and her son whenever she called police for protection from violence against her.

Among her allegations is negligent infliction of emotional distress and deprivation of civil rights for her and her son.

The city has challenged the lawsuit, saying the ex-wife's allegations are not based on facts.

The July 11 trial will take place at 700 Civic Center Drive in Santa Ana.

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