Former attorney of Central High coach takes stand during attempts to get case retried

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Now based on information Loren Lebeau did not have when he pleaded to several felony counts, he wants a retrial. (KFSN)

Loren Lebeau's tearful apology was sincere, according to his new attorney. But, now based on information Lebeau did not have when he pleaded to several felony counts, he wants a retrial.

The basis is a video reenactment taken by the attorney who represented the family of Donovan Maldonado in a civil lawsuit.

"Based on the evidence he's now become aware of, it corroborates his initial statement that I didn't see him, I couldn't avoid it, no matter what," said Roger Nuttall, Lebeau's current attorney.

Thursday, Lebeau's former attorney told the court he kept his client fully informed of his options and the evidence through each step of the criminal proceedings.

"Based on all the information we had at the time, I felt I did a thorough job," said Jeff Hammerschmidt, Lebeau's former attorney.

Hammerschmidt told the judge the case was so complex, he even advised his client to get a second attorney to review the case-- which Lebeau did.

Hammerschmidt also testified that he discussed options with Lebeau at length. But in a letter to the court dated earlier this month Lebeau claimed he was out of the loop and not part of any plea negotiations.

Hammerschmidt said that is not accurate.

Lebeau is serving a 12 year sentence at a prison in Tehachapi. He pleaded no contest to gross vehicular manslaughter, hit and run causing death, and drunk driving.

Lebeau has about six and a half years left to serve, but he believes based on a new expert from LA and the videotaped re-enactment findings, it changes some of the circumstances.

Withdrawing his plea is a gamble; Lebeau could get up to six years added to his sentence if he is found guilty. However, his attorney is hoping for the chance he could get three years less or even acquitted.

The judge will decide whether a retrial should be granted later this month.
Related Topics:
newsdrunk driving deathtrialhigh schoolfresnoFresno
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