Deputy district attorney Keith Watanabe said that he intends to call a former DA of San Diego County, Paul Pfingst, as a witness in an upcoming murder trial.
Pfingst, now a private criminal defense attorney, is currently representing Julie Elizabeth Harper, whom the prosecutor has charged with murder. Harper is accused of shooting her husband, 39-year-old Jason Harper, in August of 2012.
She allegedly shot him in the back while in the master bedroom of their Carlsbad home — while their children were watching TV downstairs.
The 40-year-old housewife is currently free on bond.
Watanabe has suggested that it will create a “conflict of interest” if the defender is called as a witness in the murder case and has asked a superior court judge to rule on the matter.
“I’m not trying to have him removed, I hope that’s clear,” Watanabe said in court today, November 22. The prosecutor did file papers last September, suggesting that Pfingst had handled evidence in the murder case — particularly a “get-away-bag” — and that Pfingst removed items such as cash from the bag.
Pfingst stated that his “investigator” took photographs of items that were removed from the bag; these items included $40,000 cash and bonds and bank certificates and other “instruments,” Pfingst told a judge today.
Both Watanabe and Pfingst agreed that the Attorney General’s Office of the State of California is not currently investigating Pfingst and that the AG’s office does not currently have an investigator assigned to look into Pfingst’s alleged actions.
“There is no investigation,” Paul Pfingst asserted.
Judge Blaine Bowman is expected to rule on the matter January 3, 2014, in San Diego’s North County Superior Courthouse.