SALINAS, Calif. - Three King City police officers pleaded not guilty Thursday in Monterey County Superior Court to charges stemming from an alleged car impounding scheme.
Former chief Dominic "Nick" Baldiviez pleaded not guilty to a felony embezzlement charge, as did officer Mario Mottu Sr. Officer Mark Baker pleaded not guilty to a charge of criminal threats.
The three are among six King City police officers arrested last week. The others will be arraigned later this month.
All three officers at the court today are not charged with targeting Hispanics in an alleged car impounding scheme.
Former Chief "Nick" Baldiviez's attorney, Thomas Worthington, says his client is innocent.
"This man started with law enforcement in 1987. He started with the King City police department in 1989. He was the chief in 2005," said Worthington about his client.
Now, February 6, 2014 Chief Baldiviez is in court, pleading not guilty, to embezzlement.
Worthington says as far as Baldiviez knew he had permission from King City City Council to give Mario Mottu Sr. a King City police car for a public relations tool for the police department, and he says there are documents to prove it.
"I'm not prepared to discuss the paper work at this time other than to say there was never an intention to do anything unlawful with this car," said Worthington.
Richard Rosen, who's representing Mottu Sr., says the D.A.'s evidence must meet certain criteria to prove embezzlement.
"They have to show it was done fraudulently with the intent to profit," said Rosen.
The D.A. says he can show that intent, and the documents the officer's attorneys are talking about are no surprise to him. Worthington says he's only just started to build his case.
"We need to read all of the documents the district attorney is going to give to us, and see the paperwork that was submitted to the Department of Vehicles when this transfer occurred," said
Rosen believes the evidence in this case will speak for itself.
"You don't steal a car and then put it in a police parade," said Rosen.