Judge denies dismissal in former Madera County supervisor case

September 20, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
It was a plan to extort an old man. That's what Harry Baker's attorneys told a Fresno County Judge on Friday afternoon. Baker has been in and out of court since 2007 when he was arrested and accused of child molestation. In the latest court battle, Baker's attorneys tried to get that charge dismissed.

The Judge denied the dismissal, but before he did, the courtroom got a glimpse of how a team of attorneys plan to craft Harry Baker's defense.

Wearing his World War II hat, walking slowly, and using a breathing device, 85-year-old Harry Baker walked into court and asked for a hearing aid. His attorneys wanted the lewd and lascivious charge against him dismissed, saying the former Madera County Supervisor is a victim of extortion.

Defense attorney Rick Berman said "This is what the gypsies do to old people- they attack old people, make schemes, they attack old people". The case has dragged on since 2007, when Baker was accused of touching a 13-year-old girl in a Fresno hotel.

Since then, health problems have plagued Baker. At one point he showed up to court in an ambulance.

Berman said, "He's an 85-year-old who's breathing through a tube, who's had an aortic transplant, who's had sepsis in the last four years, he's doing amazing for all of that."

Berman said he's doing his best to end the case for his client, telling the court that he's having a hard time talking to the victim, and that the scheme involving Baker is a complicated one. "She comes in with a plan to get the old man to touch her," Berman said.

Judge W. Kent Hamlin said in open court, "I understand you've got this claim that this touching is non-sexual, he's not a medical professional, he's not a doctor, and it's puzzling to begin with."

Judge Hamlin denied the request for dismissal and moved the case forward, with Berman saying his argument is far from over. "There's no showing whatsoever that there was sexual gratification sought- or attained by either party. And that's why he's not going to be convicted at a trial and I'm trying to end it earlier than that".

The six year old case continues in November.


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