By Garrett Bergthold
The federal trial of former Adelanto Mayor Pro Tem Jermaine Wright has been postponed until the end of summer, court records show.
U.S. District Judge Jesus G. Bernal granted Wright a continuance on Jan. 30, Wright’s third since his original Jan. 9, 2018 trial date. His trial was rescheduled from Feb. 26 to Aug. 20.
Wright’s attorneys, Deputy Federal Public Defenders Roger Ponce and Angela Viramontes, filed court documents on Jan. 29 requesting more time to examine government evidence. They said the trial is expected to last 10 days.
There are about 12,000 pages of evidence, including written reports, bank records, text messages and other materials, according to the court records.
Wright pleaded not guilty in December 2017 to federal attempted arson and bribery charges. In a criminal complaint filed a day before Wright’s arrest in November 2017, the FBI claimed Wright accepted a $10,000 bribe in exchange for aiding a cannabis transportation business with its rezoning and code enforcement concerns.
The person with whom Wright made the deal turned out to be an undercover FBI special agent representing a fictional business. The deal was arranged through a mutual acquaintance.
Wright’s attorneys did not respond to several requests for comment.
In the midst of the investigation into the alleged bribe, Wright allegedly paid another undercover FBI special agent $1,500 to burn down his restaurant, Fat Boyz Grill, to collect $300,000 in insurance money.
The restaurant was located near the corner of Rancho Road and Highway 395. Authorities charged Wright with attempted arson of a building that would affect interstate commerce, a federal crime.
This is not the first time Wright’s attorneys have sought extra time to pore over the government’s evidence against their client.
The Wright case publicized the FBI’s ongoing investigation into public corruption within Adelanto. The FBI served four search warrants on May 8 at locations including City Hall, former Mayor Rich Kerr’s home and the Jet Room, a cannabis dispensary on Adelanto Road. No arrests have been made.