Kirk Vartanian Pleads Not Guilty

July 1, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
A Fresno businessman will remain in jail for several more days, and his attorneys say it is part of a legal strategy.Kirk Vartanian made his first court appearance on Wednesday and plead not guilty to domestic violence charges. Wednesday marks Vartanian's fifth day in jail. Las Vegas law enforcement also want to prosecute Vartanian for what amounts to passing bad checks. At the same time, his attorneys are predicting financial ruin for a development Vartanian hoped to jumpstart.

Defense attorneys started the arraignment by trying to get cameras out of court. The judge overruled their objections. Kirk Vartanian appeared in an orange jumpsuit, a big difference from the normally well dressed businessman who launched The Edge night club at Granite Park.

Vartanian's Defense Attorney Dan Bacon said, "We intend on fighting these charges. He's not guilty. He's innocent of these charges. This is a marital discord that has mushroomed into a charge that is very serious." Vartanian plead not guilty to six criminal charges relating to a domestic disturbance over the weekend. Fresno police say he assaulted a woman with a knife and tried to smoother her with a pillow. The man's attorneys asked a judge to lower Vartanian's bail because of his efforts to redevelop Granite Park. The judge denied the request Bacon said, "He has several business interest that hinge on his ability to be there and negotiate contracts. Hopefully the Granite Park project doesn't fail because of this."

Vartanian said renovations on The Edge would continue since opening day in June. But we've have been at Granite Park everyday this week. So far, a tractor remains in the same spot. We found no visible signs of progress on the building.

Vartanian also hoped to buy the Public House restaurant, but we noticed it has been closed for the past several days. The phone is now disconnected.

In the mean time, Vartanian's attorneys hope to keep him in jail. If he bails out too soon, they fear Las Vegas Police will extradite him to Nevada where he is accused of stealing from two major casinos.

Late Wednesday, one of Vartanian's defense attorneys told me he is flying to Las Vegas Wednesday night to deal with the charges there. Vartanian remains in custody on a $155,000 bail. He returns to court in July.

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