Deal reached for 6 defendants in Fresno witness intimidation case

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A former Fresno County court clerk and 5 other people in a witness intimidation case have accepted a plea deal.

After 18 months, 6 people accused of intimidating a witness have decided to take a plea deal but one of them, a man named Ricky Modesto, hesitated at first, "it doesn't surprise me, his behavior and what he's done to all these people in this case, the lives he's ruined in this case," Defense Attorney, Gerald Schwab said.

Schwab is one of the attorney's involved with the case. In 2013, Modesto was in jail, accused of brutally beating a man and breaking his jaw. While behind bars, Schwab says Modesto wanted to keep witnesses from talking so he called his client and 4 other people, "he victimized them, called them, got them involved, called them relentlessly until they got themselves involved," Schwab added.

He says Modesto also dragged his ex-wife, the mother of child, Christina Lugo into the mess. At the time, she was a Fresno County court clerk and prosecutors say she answered Modesto's calls at work. Schwab said, "the prosecution has a fairly easy case, they have everything on tape."

All 6 were facing 7 years to life. Since they all took a plea deal, things have changed. Modesto agreed to 11 years and 4 months in prison. The 5 others accepted a felony charge and agreed to a maximum sentence of 3 years. All of them will also have to register as gang members.

Schwab said, "he (Modesto) is the person who deserves whatever he gets, all these other people were simply pawns in Mr. Modesto's game."

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