Friday Jun 01 2012
Could medical problems have caused Placer campaign aide to embezzle from candidates?
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
Former Placer campaign aide Brian Jagger to be sentenced Monday
AUBURN CA - Citing possible medical problems that may have affected his client?s personality at the time of the crime, the defense attorney for Brian Jagger will be attempting to keep him out of jail at sentencing Monday on an embezzlement conviction. Jagger admitted last summer in U.S. District Court to a single wire-fraud charge connected to $24,000 in missing campaign funding. Sentencing has been delayed several times over the ensuing months but is now due to take place in Sacramento. Jagger took a little more than $22,000 from Placer County District Attorney Scott Owens, about $1,600 from Supervisor Kirk Uhler and about $800 from then-Auditor Controller Kathy Martinis. In a sentencing brief obtained by the Auburn Journal, Jagger attorney Kyle Knapp of Sacramento states that Judge William Shubb should consider the defendant?s medical background and brief period of criminality before sentencing him to home confinement, with no jail time. The U.S. Department of Justice, which is prosecuting the case, had not filed its own sentencing statement by late file. Jagger, who served as Uhler?s $95,200-a-year district aide, was a changed man after dropping more than 100 pounds from his top weight of 316 pounds after bariatric surgery and a strict exercise regimen, Knapp said. ?The weight loss and an unfortunate incident where he suffered a seizure and major head trauma caused him to change,? the attorney said. ?This is not some idle claim to avoid the consequences of his theft. Virtually everyone who knew him during that time will tell you he was not the same person.? The head injury resulted in memory loss and cognitive problems, Knapp said. ?The timing of the thefts and marital problems also line up with this period in his life,? he said. Shubb said Uhler noticed the change and how Jagger was not focused on work. ?Mr. Jagger even lost his connection to his wife and kids and left the house,? Shubb said. ?He described needing to get away to figure out what was happening to him and that folks did not understand him.? Knapp said Jagger wants to work and fully pay restitution to victims in the case. ?He took a low-wage job with Mr. Pickles and sought to build a practice as a fitness instructor,? Knapp said. ?He was doing well as a fitness instructor until his employer?s parent company became aware of his conviction via the plea in this matter. They discharged him but the gym he worked at spoke highly of him.? Jagger recently found work in public relations with the tax-limitation movement and is also working part-time as a personal trainer, Shubb said. ?A six-month term of electronic monitoring and three-years probation would be sufficient but no greater than necessary to reflect the seriousness of the offense, promote respect for the law and provide just punishment for the offense,? Knapp state. Jagger will no longer be a political ?mover and shaker,? he said. ?However, he does wish to do all that he can to make amends to both his family and friends,? Knapp said. ?Mr. Jagger lost his way and broke the law. Medically, he has stabilized. The dynamics that caused his behaviors are not likely to be repeated.? Jagger has already agreed to pay what is being described in court papers as ?full restitution? to District Attorney Scott Owens, Uhler and Auditor-Controller Kathy Martinis. Martinis recently retired. Owens was to receive $22,950 while Uhler?s reimbursement was $1,656. Martinis was owed $808. Martinis said Friday that her campaign fund had not been paid back the missing money. She has no plans to attend Monday?s hearing. ?The whole thing was sad, very sad,? Martinis said. In the case of Owens, Jagger used wire transfers, telephone transfers and personal checks between April 28, 2010 and Oct. 14, 2010 to transfer $22,950 from the campaign fund to Jagger?s own bank account, court records show. Uhler and Owens couldn?t be reached for comment. Maximum sentence is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.