Both sides rest in police corruption trial

Prosecution and defense attorneys in the federal corruption trial of two San Francisco police officers rested their cases Tuesday, clearing the way for the jury to begin deliberating on Monday.

Sgt. Ian Furminger, 47, of Pleasant Hill, and Officer Edmond Robles, 47, of Danville, are accused of stealing money and property during searches in 2009 and conspiring to distribute drugs. Prosecution testimony in the trial in the court of U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer began two weeks ago and was completed on Monday.

Robles’s defense attorney, Teresa Caffese, told Breyer on Monday that the officer would testify in his own defense. But Robles and his attorney later changed their minds and Robles did not testify today.

Outside of court, Caffese said:

“The government did not prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. I’m confident of that. … We don’t need to dignify these false allegations with a response.”

Both sides rested their cases during a brief court session today. Breyer scheduled the closing arguments for Monday morning, after which the case will go to the jury. The only defense witness to testify was Furminger’s estranged wife, who was called to the stand on Monday.

The chief prosecution witness in the trial was a third defendant, former Officer Reynaldo Vargas, 46, of Palm Desert, who pleaded guilty last month to various charges and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.

In testimony last week, Vargas told the jury of several searches in San Francisco and Newark in 2009 in which he and one or both officers allegedly stole money or Apple gift cards during searches and divided the proceeds among themselves:

“I committed these crimes with my partner, Officer Robles, and at times with my supervisor, Sgt. Furminger.”

Furminger and Robles both face eight criminal counts. The charges include conspiracy to commit theft from the Police Department, theft of more than $5,000 and conspiracy to violate civil rights.

They are also accused of two counts of depriving the citizens of San Francisco of their honest services between 2008 and 2012; two counts of wire fraud; and conspiracy to distribute drugs between 2009 and 2011.

Furminger alone is accused of a ninth count of extorting property from a confidential informant in 2011 and 2012. Furminger and Robles were suspended without pay from the department after being indicted in February. Vargas was fired in 2012 for falsifying timecards.

Vargas pleaded guilty to four counts of conspiracy to distribute drugs, distribution of marijuana, conspiracy to commit theft, and theft. His sentencing date has not been set.