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Alleged Lake of the Pines con man case could be moving forward, attorney says

By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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A Lake of the Pines man charged with 78 felony counts rooted in allegedly making phony investments for several of his neighbors will face the court Jan. 13. William Lawson Campbell, 64, was arrested for allegedly taking $650,000 from 50 victims, according to Sgt. Steve Tripp at the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office. Campbell’s attorney, Greg Klein of Nevada City, said Campbell was in court during a Dec. 2 felony conference. A new felony conference court date has been set for 1 p.m. Jan. 13 in Nevada City. “The judge said when we appeared on Dec. 2 … I either need to plead him or I need to set him for a preliminary hearing,” Klein said Tuesday. “I can almost tell you for a fact that it’s going to get set for a prelim.” Klein said the Nevada County District Attorney’s Office is asking for prison time, and it will be difficult to get Campbell to agree with a plea deal, because he could spend a good deal of the rest of his life in prison. “He’s got serious legal issues that could be very detrimental to his liberty,” Klein said. Klein said he had heard rumors of Campbell being put on a psychiatric hold after attempting to kill himself. “I have heard the same rumor,” he said. “I don’t have any verification one way or the other. I was told by the District Attorney’s Office he tried to take his life that day.” The Journal previously quoted Campbell’s suicide letter, which he sent to some of his neighbors before the alleged attempt. Klein said he doesn’t know where Campbell is living currently, and wouldn’t comment on who hired him to represent Campbell. Campbell has been released from custody on a $20,000 bond. Klein said the District Attorney’s Office told him it wanted to add new counts to the case, but that hasn’t happened so far. Campbell is extremely distraught over the charges, Klein said. “He is fragile, and for obvious reasons,” he said. “He is in a lot of trouble.” Reach Bridget Jones at bridgetj@goldcountrymedia.com