Judge OKs Brainard trip to Middle East

Rick Brainard



A Mesa County judge signed off on a request allowing Grand Junction City Councilman Rick Brainard to travel to Saudi Arabia on a business trip.

Brainard, who’s under the supervision of the 21st Judicial District’s probation department, has secured employment with an airport consultancy, Safeflight Academy, which is seeking to send Brainard to work with an airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, according to a motion filed by attorney Stephen Laiche.

Brainard was requested by his new employer to consult there for “approximately 6 to 9 days maximum,” Laiche’s motion said. County Court Judge Craig Henderson on June 14 approved the request, while making a hand-written note in his order, “Defendant must report immediately upon return to probation.”

It wasn’t clear as of Friday if Brainard — who attended Wednesday’s City Council meeting and voted in favor of $3 million worth of upgrades at the Avalon Theatre — had already made the trip.

Laiche wrote in his request Brainard has complied with all terms of his probation and has started court-ordered therapy. The District Attorney’s Office offered no objection to Brainard’s request.

Under terms of his probation, Brainard is prohibited from leaving Colorado without permission of the court or his probation officer. Among a host of other restrictions, he’s prohibited from possessing firearms or excessive consumption of alcohol.

Sworn into office May 6 despite threats of a recall election, Brainard on May 17 received an 18-month deferred judgment sentence after pleading guilty to third-degree assault. Brainard was ordered to undergo a domestic-violence evaluation, comply with all terms of treatment and complete 40 hours of useful public service.

Formerly vice president of business development at West Star Aviation, Brainard’s profile was removed from the company’s website without explanation in early May.

His attorney on May 17 told the judge Brainard lost his job in the aftermath of his arrest April 6 at his Redlands home on suspicion of domestic violence against his then-live-in girlfriend. The councilman told an officer he slapped her because she needed to “shut her mouth,” an arrest affidavit said.


COMMENTS

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Let’s hope he stays there.

The good news in this story is that Brainard is in therapy. The bad news is that he is still a City Councilman.

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