District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis Testifies in Campaign Finance Scandal

Testimonies continued in federal court on Wednesday in a campaign finance scandal involving a Mexican businessman.

Jose Susumo Azano Matsura, 48, referred to as “Mr. Lambo” in the indictment, is facing federal charges for allegedly funneling $600,000 into San Diego campaigns.

According to the indictment, he is one of several individuals accused of hiding the source of campaign donations or concealing donations in records with the San Diego City Clerk, the Federal Election Commission, or the California Secretary of State.

Earlier this month, San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis was subpoenaed to testify in federal court on Aug. 10 as a witnesses. She was called to the stand by Azano's legal team.

On Wednesday, Dumanis testified that she had two meetings with Azano. She described the first meeting as a meet-and-greet at the businessman's home in Coronado and the second meeting happened at San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore's house.

Azano is accused of making more than $600,000 in illegal contributions to former Mayor Bob Filner, failed mayoral candidate Bonnie Dumanis, and other candidates.

NBC 7 spoke to Azano's attorney on Wednesday who told us that his client called Dumanis to tell the truth and her part of the story.

“I asked the questions that I thought that the jury and the community want answers to,” Azano's attorney Michale Wynne said.

Wynn said Dumanis' testimony proved that former San Diego Police Detective Ernie Encinas wanted the meetings to happen to help further his own security businesses. 

“The concepts and ideas that are being raised in this trial by the government are almost preposterous,” he said.

Encinas has already pleaded guilty, orchestrating his role in the donations.

As the trial unfolds, 61 witnesses are expected to testify, including several high-profile witnesses like Sheriff Bill Gore and former councilman and current radio host Carl DeMaio.

On Aug. 10, the day Azano's defense subpoenaed Dumanis, they also subpoenaed Congressman Juan Vargas and former Union-Tribune Publisher Doug Manchester to testify.

Prosecutors list 20 instances in which campaign finance records were falsified to send money from Azano to three candidates in local elections.

It is illegal for a foreign national to donate to a U.S. political campaign.

According to court documents, Azano's motive was to develop San Diego's waterfront into a Miami-of-the-West, with condos and a high-end hotel.

The businessman has also been charged with illegally possessing a firearm, a black Sig Sauer P225 semi-automatic pistol.

Three other defendants, including Azano's son, are on trial. They are accused of getting the money to where it needed to go.

Azano's attorney told NBC 7 that the donations to Dumanis and others will be explained on Thursday.

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