A former public defender could provide crucial testimony for county prosecutors as they pursue felony charges against one of the lawyer’s former clients.
A superior court judge ruled Thursday that Michael Tellechea will stand trial for attempted murder, arson, assault and other serious crimes.
Statements from Tellechea’s former defense attorney, Andrea Bayer, where important evidence against him during his preliminary hearing.
Bayer pleaded guilty last year to buying a .357 Magnum handgun for Tellechea.
Bayer won an acquittal for Tellechea as his attorney in a 2016 felony case, in which Tellechea was charged with kidnapping, torture and assault.
Court documents and evidence in Tellechea’s current case confirm that Bayer became romantically involved with her former client after she represented him.
Bayer co-signed the rental agreement for Tellechea’s Ocean Beach home and accessed a county-owned computer system to check on criminal warrants filed against Tellechea and his twin brother and co-defendant, Matthew, testimony revealed.
Bayer also helped Michael Tellechea rent a storage unit to hide a rifle, ammunition and other items.
But Bayer turned on her former boyfriend and his brother last year, following her arrest on felony charges related to her purchase of the handgun for Michael Tellechea.
According to court testimony, Bayer agreed to testify that the Tellecheas had bragged about their crimes and showed her videos of their illegal acts.
On Thursday -- the last day of their three-day preliminary hearing -- defense attorney Shawn Huston urged Judge Michael Groch to disregard Bayer’s testimony.
“The deal on the table (for Bayer) is if she performs to the satisfaction of the state, that she’s going to walk away without having to do actual jail time,” Huston said, in reference to the guilty plea Bayer entered on the felony weapons charge.
Huston argued that Bayer has every incentive to exaggerate her testimony against the Tellechea brothers, and thus lacks credibility as a witness.
Huston noted that Bayer admitted she also had a romantic relationship with another former client in an unrelated criminal case, and took drugs with at least one of those former clients.
“The evidence suggests Andrea Bayer was an active participant in the lives of her clients and that she pursued sexual relations with them, and that she’s now lying about the statements made by the defendants,” Huston argued.
But Judge Groch ruled that Michael and Matthew Tellechea should stand trial on almost all the charges filed against them.
Bayer is expected to be a crucial witness against the brothers at that trial.
Meanwhile, her sentencing on the weapons charge has been delayed until at least October.
Bayer’s attorney, Domenic Lombardo, declined to comment on the statements made in court about his client during this week’s preliminary hearing.