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Hubbard to stand trial in August on 2 felony counts

Date could change, pending length of a related trial.

June 29, 2011|By Lauren Williams, lauren.williams@latimes.com

LOS ANGELES — Newport-Mesa Unified School District Supt. Jeffrey Hubbard was ordered Wednesday to stand trial in mid-August on criminal charges stemming from his former job as Beverly Hills schools chief.

At a pre-trial hearing, L.A. Superior Court Judge Stephen A. Marcus tentatively set Hubbard's trial date for Aug. 15.

But the trial of the superintendent charged with two felony counts of misappropriating public funds could be changed to another date or moved to another courtroom, the judge said.

That will depend, he said, on whether the related trial of Karen Anne Christiansen, Beverly Hills Unified School District's former facilities director, who is being tried separately in Marcus's courtroom, lasts more than six days.

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The judge ruled that Christiansen, 53, would stand trial Aug. 4.

Christiansen's trial was moved to Marcus's courtroom, and defense attorneys for the two defendants, whose cases have been separated, asked that the judge hear her case first.

Hubbard appeared in Marcus's courtroom Wednesday alongside his defense attorney, Salvador P. Ciulla.

Ciulla said Hubbard's job as superintendent at Newport-Mesa could be jeopardized if he is not cleared of the charges in time for the start of the new school year in Newport-Mesa.

"He's looking, potentially, at getting fired," Ciulla said in court.

Prosecutors assert that Hubbard, 54, gave Christiansen, 53, an unauthorized increase in her car allowance without permission from the school board, as well as gifts of up to $20,000.

The Newport-Mesa Unified school board placed Hubbard on paid administrative leave in January after Los Angeles County charged him for the alleged felonies. [Editor's note: This corrects when Supt. Jefferey Hubbard went on paid administrative leave.]

Paul Reed has since taken over the district as acting superintendent.

Ciulla asked the judge to authorize a subpoena for e-mails and payroll records from the Beverly Hills Unified School District on Wednesday. He said he wanted a subpoena to access BHUSD payroll information and e-mails between members of that district's school board and an employee, Sal Gumina.

Also at Wednesday's hearing was Stan Karas, an attorney for Beverly Hills Unified, who told the judge that many of the documents being requested from Ciulla were too broad and could include sensitive information.

The judge ruled that Ciulla had to make his subpoena for documents from Beverly Hills Unified more specific with particular dates that relate to the charges facing his client.

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