Monterey County

Preliminary hearing begins for two King City police officers

Judge weighs evidence against two King City officers

SALINAS, Calif. - A Monterey County judge is hearing evidence this morning to determine whether there's sufficient evidence to bring two King City police officers to trial.

Former Chief Dominic "Nick" Baldiviez and Officer Mario Mottu Sr. were arrested earlier this year along with four other members of the department and the brother of acting Chief Bruce Miller.

Baldiviez is accused of illegally giving a city-owned patrol car to officer Mottu. They both face charges of felony embezzlement.

Central Coast News reporter Cassandra Arsenault is at today's hearing. Earlier this morning, the police chief's longtime administrative assistant was questioned about the documents and invoices Baldiviez had to sign.

Defense attorneys have argued that ownership of the car was legally transferred to Mottu, though the documentation authorizing that has been called into question.

Also taking the stand today is George Gutierrez, an investigator for Monterey county Sherrif's Office who interviewed Mottu previously.

He testified that Mottu told him he had taken ownership of a police car in order to make it into a show car to raise moneys for the Explorers program. Mottu also told investigators he couldn't remember which officer he'd submitted forms for the car to before he went to the DMV to officially transfer ownership.

The hearing did not conclude Thursday and the judge has not issued a ruling yet. Testimony will resume Friday, May 30 at 10 a.m.

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