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San Diego : 3 Theft Charges Against Associate of Ortiz Dismissed

A judge dismissed three grand theft charges against Maria Caldera, an associate of former Registrar Ray Ortiz, at the San Diego County district attorney’s request Thursday.

Caldera, 51, of Chula Vista, was not present and neither was her attorney for the two-minute hearing conducted by San Diego Superior Court Judge David Gill, who presided over Ortiz’s trial.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Doug Gregg made the motion for dismissal, saying the request was made in light of the July 9 acquittal of Ortiz on 27 charges.

“In view of the jury’s evaluation of the witnesses and evidence in that case, we believed it would serve neither the interest of the defendant nor the community to go forward with this related case,” Gregg said.

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Gregg said talking to jurors on the Ortiz case helped him decide to dismiss Caldera’s case.

When Ortiz and election consultant Lance Gough, 32, of Escondido were acquitted, the jury forewoman, Cyntree Day, questioned the motivation of the chief witness against Ortiz.

Lynn Kienle, vice president of sales at Jeffries Banknote Co., testified under a grant of immunity that Ortiz sent him false and padded invoices, resulting in losses to the county.

Ortiz’s attorney, Merle Schneidewind, maintained that Kienle lied on the stand to get back at Ortiz because he had lost $100,000 in commissions after Ortiz broke his contract for printing election materials with the county.


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