The Bradford trial: Why are we here?

Several jurors in the perjury trial of Chief C.O. “BAMF” Bradford expressed confusion and frustration about why they were all there in the first place:

“I don’t see how this issue is worth the court’s time. … It seems like a trivial matter,” said juror No. 51, who was not selected.


Although 58 percent of the jury pool said they had heard of the case through the media and friends, several seemed confused about the alleged crime. Some thought Bradford was on trial for using the profane words.

The most vocal prospective jurors often engaged in a give-and-take with prosecutor Don Smyth about whether the chief intentionally lied.

“I do think it’s trivial,” said juror No. 15. “Hell, the president of the United States didn’t get convicted of perjury.”

The pool erupted into applause at the reference to former President Clinton.

But when Smyth asked the group how many thought “lying under oath was no big deal,” the group was silent.

The prosecutor’s question has merit, and in fact is the only reason for this trial at all. The perjury charge stems from testimony Bradford gave at a grievance hearing. Bradford had issued a letter of reprimand to Captain Mark Aguirre for using harsh language on his subordinates. (Ironically, this overruled a sterner five day suspension sentence for Aguirre.) Aguirre appealed, and Bradford was questioned about whether he had cussed at his subordinates as Aguirre had done. He denied it and was later contradicted by one of those subordinates, and here we are today.

Perjury is obviously a serious charge, and if the chief really is guilty of it he deserves punishment. I think the main reason for the disgruntlement is that anyone who’s read about this case would have a hard time believing that the prosecution can prove this.

What we have here is basically two pieces of evidence: Bradford’s testimony, which is vague and waffling, and the eyewitness account that contradicted his testimony. The eyewitness is likely credible, but I can’t get past the chief’s words, as seen in the transcript:

“I don’t remember calling Joe that in any casual term much less in a mandatorily called meeting where I’m talking to supervisors or subordinates. No, I categorically deny having done that. Do not have any recollection of it. And would be thoroughly embarrassed. And if I did it, I would be wrong, and it’s still not acceptable,” Bradford said at the hearing, according to the transcript.

That sounds to me like a man who doesn’t remember. I guess the DA sees it differently. We’ll know what the jurors think in a week or so.

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