Brainard asks to skip court dates
Grand Junction City Councilor-elect Rick Brainard said in a court filing he can’t attend the next court hearing in his pending domestic violence case.
In a motion filed by attorney Stephen Laiche, Brainard is asking Mesa County Court Judge Craig Henderson to waive his required presence at a status conference scheduled for 8 a.m. on May 6 at the Mesa County Justice Center.
That hearing will take place two hours before Brainard and other newly elected councilors are scheduled to be sworn in. The Justice Center, located at 125 N. Spruce St., is roughly five blocks away from City Hall, 250 N. Fifth St.
Councilors on May 15 are expected to select a new mayor.
“Mr. Brainard’s employment causes him to be unavailable on the date of his status conference,” Laiche wrote in a motion asking Henderson to waive Brainard’s physical presence in court on May 6. Brainard is also vice president of business development at West Star Aviation.
Laiche’s motion goes further: “Counsel requests the court waive (Brainard’s) presence at all further hearings,” the motion reads.
If Brainard failed to appear without prior court authorization, a warrant would likely issue for his arrest.
Henderson hadn’t ruled on Brainard’s request as of mid-afternoon Wednesday, while the District Attorney’s Office had yet to file a formal response.
Brainard, 51, who is free on a personal-recognizance bond while facing misdemeanor charges of third-degree assault and harassment, released a statement Tuesday indicating he had no intention of withdrawing from the City Council following his April 2 election to the city’s at-large seat.
Brainard also is the subject of a temporary restraining order that prohibits him from being at his own home, located at 2207 Avenal Court, or having any contact or communication with a girlfriend whom Brainard allegedly assaulted late Friday or early Saturday.
According to police dispatch and arrest records, Grand Junction officers were initially called to the home at 4:32 a.m. Saturday by Brainard’s girlfriend, who reported she’d been assaulted.
According to an affidavit in support of arrest, Brainard initially described a minor tussle with the woman over a cellphone but later admitted to grabbing the woman, pushing her, grabbing her hair and slapping her on the left side of her neck/cheek area.
Brainard said he slapped the woman “because she needed to ‘shut her mouth,’” according to the affidavit.