Judge won’t excuse Brainard from court
Embattled City Councilor-elect Rick Brainard must show up for court, a Mesa County judge ruled Friday.
County Judge Craig Henderson issued an order denying a request, lodged by Brainard’s attorney, Stephen Laiche, which asked the judge to waive Brainard’s required presence during a status conference scheduled for 8 a.m. May 6 at the Mesa County Justice Center.
“Defendant must appear as previously ordered,” Henderson said in a handwritten notation to the order denying the defense motion.
The motion filed by Laiche said Brainard’s employment “causes him to be unavailable on the date of his status conference.”
Similarly, the judge denied a defense request for Brainard’s presence to be waived at all future hearings in his domestic violence case.
Henderson also approved a defense request seeking permission for Brainard to travel to Arizona. Laiche’s motion said Brainard needs to be there for “family-related matters” between today and April 20.
Brainard, who is free on a $1,000 personal-recognizance bond, is not under the supervision of Mesa County Pretrial Services.
The District Attorney’s Office didn’t object to Brainard’s request to leave the state, Laiche wrote in his motion.
Brainard and other newly elected Grand Junction city councilors are scheduled to be sworn into office at City Hall, 250 N. Fifth St., about two hours after his scheduled court hearing on May 6.
Brainard, 51, has said he intends to serve following his April 2 election to the council’s at-large seat. He was arrested April 6 on suspicion of third-degree assault and harassment against his then live-in girlfriend.
An arrest affidavit obtained by The Daily Sentinel said Brainard initially denied to a Grand Junction police officer that an altercation with the woman turned physical, then admitted he’d pushed her, grabbed her hair and slapped her.
The affidavit said he slapped her because she needed to “shut her mouth.”
“Rick stated that (girlfriend) had said something so offensive that he had to slap her,” the affidavit said. “When asked what offensive thing was said, Rick stated he did not remember, although later he stated she had been saying for over one hour that he was sleeping with other women.”
A temporary protection order says Brainard is restrained from contacting the woman or being at her residence, which is Brainard’s own home in the Redlands.