A real estate agent accused of swindling a Newman family and scheduled to stand trial in December has been granted more time to hire a private attorney.
Erica Burdg, 61, of Modesto twice before had asked for time to hire a private attorney to represent her in her second trial, which is scheduled to start Dec. 4. Her first trial ended with a hung jury in August 2011.
Burdg has been charged with grand theft, forgery and attempted perjury. The defendant is accused of taking money from Carlos Gonzales' family, which believed it was buying a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house in Newman.
Burdg has testified that Gonzales' bad credit and lack of employment collapsed the deal to buy the home. The defendant said she instead talked her husband into buying the house as an investment and that they rented the house to the Gonzales family.
Monday, Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge Linda McFadden gave the defendant more time to hire defense attorney Berndt Brauer. Burdg currently is represented by Donnell Snipes, a deputy public defender.
The judge scheduled Burdg to return to court Nov. 2 to determine whether she was able to hire Brauer.
Michael Linn, the Gonzales family's attorney, was in the courtroom during the hearing Monday morning and objected to the defendant's request.
Linn argued the defendant already has filed for bankruptcy and claimed to be indigent, yet she has stalled the start of the second trial twice before to hire defense attorneys Kirk McAllister and Frank Carson. Burdg was not been able to hire either of those attorneys.
"It is delay, delay, delay," Linn argued in court. He also said he is worried Burdg will hire a new attorney and ask the court to delay the trial again so that the attorney can have enough time to get up to speed.
McFadden told Linn she will not interfere with the defendant's constitutional right to hire her own attorney. She also told Burdg the trial is still scheduled to start Dec. 4, so the defendant needs to make sure a new attorney has all the needed information as soon as possible.
Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2394.