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Azar also blasted Jennifer Keller, Wagner's lawyer at the time of the plea deal. She accused Keller, one of the county's most prominent defense lawyers, of professional misconduct for not adequately explaining to Wagner the consequences of being labeled a sexually violent predator, a designation that could keep him incarcerated beyond the four-year term. Keller's performance violated her "duty-bound" oath, according to Azar.
Terp said the appellate court should reject Wagner's complaints because neither the judge nor his lawyer saw signs of intoxication. He noted that the cop submitted a "fabricated" doctor's letter to bolster his intoxication claims and faked ignorance of the criminal laws. "It defies logic for Wagner, veteran cop on the verge of retiring, to say he had no knowledge of the sexual violent predator [statute]."
With Wagner's wife scribbling circles on a legal pad while sitting in the audience, Azar made one last attempt before Justice Kathleen O'Leary cut her off for rambling.
"He was ready to go to trial," Azar said. "He wanted a trial. Let's go to trial. That's all we're asking. My client is innocent. . . . He didn't have a reasonable understanding [of] what was happening."
The appellate court will issue its opinion in the coming months.
This column appeared in print as "Government 'Voodoo' Convicts OC Gangster: Ramiro Alex Huerta accuses officials of hiding exculpatory evidence from his jury."