Saying she was "dangerously close" to declaring a mistrial in the case against former Denver Hispanic chamber president Jeffrey Campos, Denver County Judge Doris Burd admonished ex-mistress Jennifer Reins for rambling answers that took pot shots at the accused.
In finger-wagging tone, Burd said Reins' accusations of malfeasance and misappropriation while Campos headed the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Denver before his resignation in August were enough to declare the two-day trial void if Reins continued offering the side comments to direct questions.
"I admonish you," Burd said after briefly excusing the three-man, three-woman Denver jury this morning. "You've repeatedly provided amplified answers to questions and I assess this could be a mistrial. You will have dire consequences if you continue."
Reins rambled on about how Campos, 56, was accused of "stealing money" from the chamber coffers "and doing some very unethical things."
"He was already in great jeopardy for his job," she said. "The board (of directors) was wanting to fire him several times."
Burd ordered the comments stricken from the record and for jurors to disregard them in their deliberations in the misdemeanor assault trial. Campos is accused of assaulting Reins, 34, during a messy break-up last July that ended an 18-month relationship.
Campos is married and told Reins he wanted to be with his two grown daughters and to patch up his 26-year marriage. He resigned his chamber position after he was charged in the case.
Following Burd's admonition to Reins, Campos outside the courtroom denied the accusations, saying "I don't know where she's making up this crazy stuff."
He also said he used his own funds - not Chamber of Commerce money - to pay for Reins to accompany him to his hometown, Chicago, last summer on Chamber business. His portion of the trip, he said, was paid by his employer.
Campos said he resigned because he believed "it was inappropriate" to hold the CEO job of the state's second-largest chamber of commerce while defending himself in the criminal case.
Reins completed six hours of testimony, followed by close friend Michael Lindsey, an associate pastor whose known Reins since her childhood. He was her main confidant the evening Campos is alleged to have assaulted Reins near a downtown Denver hotel.
The case broke for lunch and isn't likely to be given to the jury until tomorrow.