Tom Mesereau represented the former director of an anti-poverty agency in a four and half month jury trial in Alameda County Superior Court, Oakland, California. The former agency head was charged with multiple counts alleging public corruption. Prosecutors claimed she stole federal grant money and used it for personal gain, including steak dinners, travel, a massage, work on her personal residence, and improper salaries for her husband and herself. Mr. Mesereau’s client was also accused of sending false information to a federal agency, backdating agency documents and illegally allowing a relative and his friend to participate in agency training. The defendant was exonerated and acquitted of every felony count alleging personal use of these funds (steaks, massages, hotel bills, travel, personal work on her residence, improper salaries, etc.). Mr. Mesereau’s client was convicted of misappropriating federal funds and backdating documents. The client received probation and no jail time. See article: No Prison time for Convicted Alameda County Anti-Poverty Director.
Significance: This was the longest criminal trial in this judge’s courtroom. He described his sentence as rare and unusual. The judge claimed he was being lenient because the defendant was acquitted of every count reflecting personal gain.
Postscript: The convictions for misappropriating federal funds were thrown out on appeal.