Judge dismisses motion to delay trial of former Fresno State student accused of groping women

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A last-minute effort to derail the trial of a man accused of groping women near Fresno State did not work. A Fresno Superior Court judge decided testimony will start Tuesday morning.

Deandre Jean-Pierre was set to hear from the women he is accused of groping near Fresno State. The alleged victims were ready to speak out for the first time.

But Monday morning, attorney Franz Criego delayed the trial with claims the prosecution didn't provide discovery.

"Open up my emails this morning and lo' and behold, I have received all of this discovery," he told the court. "This is just plain wrong. It's gamesmanship and it is wrong."

Jurors were sent home without hearing a word of testimony. Instead, the defense tried to prove prosecutors withheld evidence and never gave him victim information he was entitled to.

Deputy District Attorney Selena Farnesi was initially assigned to the case. She spent several hours under intense questioning about dates and times she turned over evidence that Criego claimed he never received.

"Did you receive multiple e-mails from me saying there was difficulty receiving the reports from you?" Criego questioned.

"I received an email from you on March 24, and I responded by emailing you a full copy of all the reports," Farnesi replied.

Criego claimed he didn't see many of the reports until Monday morning. But prosecutors noted he had specific information about one alleged incident because he talked about it during an interview with Action News on Friday.

"In one particular case, one of the victims claimed my client bear hugged her and grabbed her," Criego said Friday.

In the end, after reviewing prior court transcripts and even courtroom audio from previous hearings, the judge determined there is no grounds for dismissal.

"It went to two different trial assignments and never once was this particular issue raised as a roadblock to trial readiness," Judge John Vogt told the court.

The ruling means the trial will move forward Tuesday morning.
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