- Associated Press - Monday, August 28, 2017

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (AP) - Three of four defendants were found not guilty Monday after a marathon trial in a San Bernardino County corruption case.

Jurors reached the verdict after about two days of deliberations in a trial that lasted nearly eight months and a legal process that lasted several years.

Former county Supervisor Paul Biane, former county official Mark Kirk and developer Jeff Burum were found not guilty of bribery, conflict of interest and other charges stemming from an alleged scheme to get county approval of a $102 million court settlement.

A fourth defendant, former county Assistant Assessor Jim Erwin, has a separate jury that is still deliberating.

Burum appeared tearful after the verdict was read in a crowded courtroom.

“I’m grateful to the jury,” he told the San Bernardino Sun outside court (https://bit.ly/2vyNYlD). “The jury gave up part of their careers and lives for eight months. I’m grateful to my friends and family for sticking by me in the belief this would be over eventually. Nobody should have to go through seven years of waiting to defend themselves. Nobody.”

Prosecutors said they would have no comment until after the Erwin verdict.

The saga began in 2003 when Colonies Partners sued the county over flood control easements on a housing and commercial project in the city of Upland.

That led to the 2006 settlement, which was fraught with allegation of bribery and blackmail, leading to the indictments.

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Information from: The Sun, https://www.sbsun.com

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