A week after Twin Peaks defendant George Bergman rejected a plea offer for misdemeanor deferred probation and demanded his day in court, his attorney and the McLennan County District Attorney’s Office agreed to postpone the trial.
In a joint motion filed late Thursday afternoon, prosecutor Michael Jarrett and Dallas attorney Clint Broden asked 54th State District Judge Matt Johnson to postpone Bergman’s trial at least 180 days. The judge granted the motion.
The motion states only that the postponement is not sought for purposes of delay but so that “justice is done.”
However, Johnson said the attorneys told him they were jointly seeking the delay so they could wait for prosecutors in San Antonio to disclose evidence gathered in the federal prosecution of Bandidos leaders there. There is a February trial date in that case.
Broden said Thursday evening he agreed not to comment on the joint motion for continuance. Jarrett also declined comment, saying he cannot comment on pending matters.
The continuance forced the 11th-hour cancellation of a large jury panel that had been summoned to court at 1 p.m. Friday to fill out background questionnaires for use in Bergman’s case. Jury selection in Bergman’s case had been set for Jan. 23. His trial has now been postponed until July 23.
It is unusual for Broden to seek a delay for either of his clients, Bergman, a former Desgraciados member from Wills Point, or Matthew Clendennen, a former Scimitar from Hewitt. Broden has been one of the most outspoken of all the Twin Peaks attorneys in clamoring for speedy trials for his clients, arguing shortly after they were indicted that he did not need to wait for discovery from the state because there was no evidence against either of his clients.
Just last week, he argued that the charges against Bergman should be dismissed because his right to a speedy trial had been violated.
“I certainly think there has been presumptive delay in this case,” Broden said at the time. “It is going on about 32 months now. Mr. Bergman asked for a trial at the earliest opportunity, and the state chose to take a case involving a man who was not asking for a speedy trial over Mr. Bergman. A year is a presumptive delay, and now we are at 32 months. I think this is a very egregious violation of speedy trial acts under the federal and state constitutions.”
After the hearing last week, Bergman said he did not accept the plea bargain because he did nothing wrong. After riding to Waco in a caravan of about 20 Bandidos and their support members led by Carrizal, he was walking toward Don Carlos Mexican Restaurant to go to the bathroom when the first shots rang out, he said.
He said he ducked for cover and stayed there until the firing stopped.
“How can I say I am guilty for something when that is what I did?” Bergman said.
Broden said last week the state has no evidence against Bergman “other than he was present at Twin Peaks and was wearing a motorcycle jacket.”
“It is a very simple case,” Broden said. “Really, I think you could impanel 12 monkeys on this case and they would acquit Mr. Bergman.”
Waco attorney Barry Johnson, who will face McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna in the March 6 Republican primary, said he thinks the trial continuance obviously was arranged because Reyna did not want to lose a Twin Peaks case before the primary election.
“There is no question they delayed that trial until after the primary,” Johnson said. “They don’t want a loss or another mistrial before the primary. I think there is no question about that. Those trials need to be tried. They have been postponed too long already.
“I think there is no question the way this thing (Twin Peaks) has been mishandled that they didn’t want to get a case with a defendant who wanted to go to trial prior to the primary. They didn’t want to get into that. That’s why they wanted to plead it down to a misdemeanor. They don’t want to face the music.”
Reyna did not return phone messages Thursday.