Attorneys for Sunroad executive Tom Story and the city of San Diego made their final arguments today on the motion to disqualify City Attorney Mike Aguirre from prosecuting a criminal case against Story.

Story attorney Pam Naughton told Judge Michael Wellington that the supposed ethical line separating the criminal case against Story and the civil case against Sunroad was blurred. She argues that Aguirre is improperly using the criminal case to gain leverage in the civil case, and that the City Attorney’s Office should be kicked off the case as a result.

Naughton mocked the ethical wall that Aguirre claims he set up to divide the two cases as “hydraulic.” She used various documents detailing the exchange of information between the two sides of the office as evidence, including one document that was sent three weeks after Aguirre filed charges against Story.

Naughton also said Aguirre tied his prosecution of Story for allegedly violating city lobbying laws to the city’s dispute with Sunroad in statements he made to the press and on his office’s blog. She claimed those were indications that he mixed the two.

“There is clearly a connection in the city attorney’s own words between the two cases,” she said.

Aguirre said there could not be a conflict because none of the parties in the two cases were the same. The civil case pits the city of San Diego versus Sunroad, while the criminal case was filed against Story on behalf of the people of the state of California.

Aguirre also said that he has only been actively involved in the criminal case, pointing out that he has not made any court appearances or taken any depositions in the civil suit.

“There is no evidence that I am involved in the civil case,” he said.

The judge said he expects to rule on the motion to disqualify Aguirre early next week. If Aguirre clears this hurdle, trial is slated for June 7.

EVAN McLAUGHLIN

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