DA's Office seeks to bar some testimony in trial
FARMINGTON — The San Juan County District Attorney's Office has filed a motion to bar certain conduct, behavior and testimony from an upcoming trial for Daniel Goldberg Sr., a man accused of multiple fraud charges for alleged bail bondsman activities.
Goldberg's lawyer responded to the motion by claiming the DA's Office is attempting to deprive Goldberg of his constitutional rights, including freedom of religion.
Goldberg, 57, is set for a two-day jury trial Thursday and Friday in district court. Two criminal cases will be heard during the trial.
He is accused of 11 felony charges in one case for fraud, extortion and racketeering, along with three misdemeanor fraud charges, relating to allegations that Goldberg extorted money from people who bonded with several businesses associated with him.
In the second case, nine felony fraud charges against Goldberg are related to allegations that he collected about $11,500 in property rent on a residence where Goldberg filed a fraudulent quitclaim deed with the San Juan County Clerk's Office.
Goldberg Sr. is not authorized by the state of New Mexico to act as a bail bondsman after regulators refused to renew his license in 2007, according to The Daily Times archives.
The motion barring conduct, statements and testimony was filed on Aug. 24 by the DA's Office.
Multiple requests in the motion ask the court to bar Goldberg, Goldberg's attorney Eric Morrow and any witnesses testifying in the defendant's case from making any statements or offering any testimony on several topics in open court while the jury is seated, according to a copy of the motion.
The DA's Office seeks to bar any statements or testimony related to Goldberg's religious beliefs, volunteer work with his church, charity and volunteer work in the community, and Goldberg's run for the office of the San Juan County sheriff.
Another topic prosecutors hope to bar from discussion is Goldberg's alleged belief that the DA's Office, the Farmington Police Department and the San Juan County Sheriff's Office are "biased and/or corrupt" toward him. Prosecutors also seek to have Goldberg barred from wearing or displaying any symbols of his religious beliefs, according to court documents.
If the motion is approved, the DA's Office asks that anyone who violates it be held in criminal contempt and jailed at the San Juan County Adult Detention Center.
Morrow declined to comment, referring to a response he filed to the motion on Thursday afternoon.
Morrow's response states the prosecution is asking Goldberg to "forsake" his constitutional rights when he enters the courthouse, and Goldberg believes the DA's Office is attempting to deprive Goldberg of his "religious rights and his right to defend himself," according to the motion.
Morrow also alleges the prosecution is attempting to deprive Goldberg of defense normally available to defendants.
Dustin O'Brien, San Juan County Chief Deputy District Attorney, said the motion was filed in response to Goldberg's behavior during a trial in February in which he was convicted of a fourth-degree felony and petty misdemeanor fraud charges.
One concern for prosecutors is that Murrow might address the court, then Goldberg himself would speak directly to the court, including the jury.
O'Brien said the judge has the final authority, but he believes Goldberg could speak in a way to cause a mistrial or at least cause prejudice to the prosecution in front of the jury.
A pretrial conference is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.
Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.