The attorney for former Councilman John Drayman, who has been charged with embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars, said outside a Los Angeles County Superior Courtroom on Thursday that he intends to prove that someone else stole the money.
Drayman was indicted in May on charges that he embezzled between $304,000 and $880,000 from a weekly farmers market on Honolulu Avenue in Montrose, which he helped establish and run.
The charges in the indictment include forgery, filing false tax statements and money laundering, and are alleged to have occurred between January 2004 and April 2011.
Reaction to charges that Drayman embezzled from the popular Montrose Harvest Market ranged from shock to disappointment, with one longtime supporter saying they felt “like a punch in the stomach.”
But after a routine pre-trial hearing in downtown Los Angeles Thursday, Drayman’s attorney, Michael Kraut, said he had evidence that would show someone else was responsible for the financial losses.
“You’re going to see that the loss of money is associated with someone else,” Kraut said, although he declined to indicate who he was referring to.
The Montrose Shopping Park’s executive director, Dale Dawson, said after the indictment was unsealed that Drayman may try to point the finger at him. But Dawson has said he’s not worried.
Drayman, who has pleaded not guilty to the charges, appeared relaxed at the hearing Thursday dressed in a gray suit.
He was released from custody in May on $200,000 bail -- $16,000 of which was put up by his supporters.
By September, both sides could have a clearer picture of when a trial may occur, said county Deputy District Atty. Dana Aratani.
But much can happen between now and then.
The trial is likely to be decided by a jury, Aratani said, unless both sides agree otherwise.
Both attorneys said there is much more to come, with Drayman’s next court hearing scheduled for Sept. 27.
“We’ve very much at the early preliminary stages,” Kraut said.