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Mistrial declared in Goldberg Sr. fraud case; son held in contempt of court
Goldberg Jr. was restrained by sheriff's deputies at the courthouse due to his behavior
FARMINGTON — A mistrial was declared Thursday afternoon in one of Daniel Goldberg Sr.'s alleged fraud cases after District Judge Sandra Price found his son in contempt of court for his behavior in the courtroom. She ordered him to be transported to the San Juan Regional Medical Center, questioning his ability to testify as a key witness for the prosecution.
His behavior led him to be booked at the San Juan County Adult Detention Center after being accused of acting violently towards hospital staff.
The incident started around 2 p.m. in Farmington District Court while Goldberg Sr. was in the middle of a jury trial on eight counts of fraud.
He is accused of collecting about $11,500 in property rent on a residence where Goldberg Sr. filed a fraudulent quitclaim deed.
An emergency break was ordered by Judge Price and the jury was escorted out of the court room so Goldberg Jr. could speak to the judge.
Goldberg Jr. was scheduled to testify as a witness for the prosecution in the trial, according to a court order.
After returning from a lunch break around 1:15 p.m., San Juan County Assistant District Attorney Keith Mandelski raised the possibility that Goldberg's son might be under the influence of alcohol.
Mandelski was questioning Det. Derek Booker of the Farmington Police Department about his investigation into the case when the emergency break was ordered.
Goldberg Jr. walked into the court and started talking to Judge Price. He started talking louder and louder to the judge.
He then started yelling at Judge Price, accusing the 11th Judicial District of being "against" him and his family and stating his belief that she recuse herself from the case because she is prejudice.
Judge Price said she believed Goldberg Jr. to possibly be under the influence of alcohol.
He denied being under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance and also refused a breathalyzer.
While Goldberg Jr. continued yelling at Judge Price, she declared him in contempt of court for his behavior, and for failing to follow her instructions.
He was handcuffed and escorted out of the courtroom while crying.
Judge Price asked the defense and prosecution whether Goldberg Jr. should be transported to the county jail or to the hospital to be supervised so he would not injure himself.
Goldberg Sr. requested his son be held at the hospital and Mandelski did not oppose.
While Judge Price worked on her order, Goldberg's son was restrained by multiple deputies on the floor of courthouse lobby because he was acting out of control, according to Detective Lt. Kyle Lincoln of the sheriff's office.
Goldberg Sr. left the courtroom and went to visit his son, trying to calm him down as deputies restrained him.
After being transported to the hospital, deputies were later dispatched about 3:40 p.m. after reports of Goldberg Jr. being violent and belligerent, according to Lincoln.
He said Goldberg's son was too much of a disturbance at the hospital and he was transported to the county jail.
Eric Morrow, Goldberg Sr.'s attorney, repeatedly said during the incident and the following court proceedings that Goldberg's son had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and was prescribed medication for the condition.
He brought this up while discussing the possibility of Goldberg Jr. being able to testify in the trial.
Morrow told Judge Price he believed Goldberg's son would be able to testify today and wanted to proceed with the trial.
Mandelski said the prosecution needed Goldberg Jr. to testify in the case and believed he would not be able to in his current condition.
After hearing the arguments, Judge Price declared a mistrial.
The members of the jury returned to the courtroom where they were informed of the mistrial and were dismissed.
When asked by Judge Price if they heard anything during the incident, a couple members of jury acknowledged they heard the commotion.
A pre-trial conference for Goldberg Sr.'s fraud case is scheduled for Oct. 3 and a two-day jury trial is rescheduled for Oct. 11 and 12.
Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.
Note: This story was modified after publication because the first version incorrectly spelled the names of District Judge Sandra Price and attorney Eric Morrow.