An Orange County sheriff's deputy accused of helping a convicted murderer have sex with his wife while behind bars and smuggle drugs into jail in exchange for Los Angeles Kings tickets and other perks got his bail reduced from $1 million to $150,000.
In his first appearance before a judge today, David Lloyd Cass, 38, of Glendora, watched behind a courtroom cage as his defense attorney Paul Meyer argued that his client is not a flight risk nor a danger to society. Meyer also downplayed the allegations against Cass as "bottom of the barrel ... four hockey tickets and a spa card.''
The defense attorney also revealed in court that Cass had discussions with convicted murderer Stephenson Choi Kim about how to escape jail, but Meyer dismissed it as "loose talk'' and a "stupid'' conversation."
Deputy District Attorney Rebecca Olivieri told Orange County Superior Court Judge Gerald Johnston that the defendant had more than one conversation with Kim before and after his conviction of murder about "The best way to escape.''
The prosecutor said authorities seized a "plethora'' of weapons, including an assault rifle, and marijuana when they searched Cass' home. The fact that Cass "comes cheap'' when Kim allegedly bribed him should be "irrelevant at this point,'' Olivieri said. The prosecutor also noted that Cass "turned a blind eye'' while Kim's wife, Ha Nguyen, smuggled in razors, which could be used for "shanks'' or other weapons in jail.
Meyer argued there's no evidence so far that Cass knew Nguyen was smuggling in weapons or drugs. Johnston said the case represented a "stunning moral bankruptcy that I find chilling,'' but he said $1 million bail would not be necessary to guarantee Cass' continued appearances in court.
Cass will be confined to California, and Meyer volunteered his passport. The arraignment for Cass was rescheduled for Feb. 22. Cass had been on paid administrative leave for the past 11 months, but is now on unpaid leave, Jim Amormino of the Orange County Sheriff's Department said.
The deputy's supervisors used a ruse to get Cass to come to sheriff's headquarters because investigators thought it was a safer place to take him into custody, Olivieri said.
Cass has worked as a deputy for the past seven years and was assigned to custody operations in the Orange County Mens' Jail facility, sheriff's officials said.
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