L. Wayne Hicks
Managing Editor- Denver Business Journal
The Colorado Court of Appeals
on Thursday reversed the felony theft conviction of Denver real estate developer Erik Osborn and ordered him retried.
Osborn was found guilty by a Denver jury following a three-day trial in April 2010.
But the appellate court ruled District Court Judge Robert McGahey Jr. was wrong to exclude all of the defense witnesses Osborn’s attorney intended to call.
Osborn, who developed the high-rise One Lincoln Park condominium project in downtown Denver, was sentenced to 10 years in community corrections. The sentence was to be served concurrently with the 10-year sentence handed down on a previous theft conviction.
Osborn was accused of diverting hundreds of thousands of dollars intended to develop One Lincoln Park for his own use.
Before his sentencing in the last case, Osborn’s attorney, Shawn Gillum, asked McGahey to grant a new trial because Osborn’s he claimed the previous attorney had been inadequate in his defense.
McGahey denied the request.
Osborn was defended by Denver attorney Robert McAllister, who was disbarred 13 months ago for taking client funds. He pleaded guilty two months ago to two counts of conspiracy to commit financial fraud and one count of bankruptcy fraud. McAllister faces as much as 20 years in prison when he’s sentenced in September.
The Colorado Court of Appeals, which didn’t identify McAllister by name, noted in its opinion that Osborn’s attorney “had not been diligent in preparing the case for trial” and that “the defense counsel’s course of conduct leading up to the trial was troubling …”
L. Wayne Hicks is managing editor of the Denver Business Journal, writes for the “Cultural Attache” blog, and compiles the daily “DBJ Morning Call” email.
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