Criminal Defense

Defense Attorney Mark Coleman Secures Victory for Fresno City Council President in Extortion Case

Mark Coleman, a defense attorney, successfully argued that the felony extortion charge against Fresno City Council President Nelson Esparza should be reduced to a misdemeanor. Esparza will stand trial on December 12, with Judge Brian Alvarez ruling that there was sufficient evidence for the trial to proceed. The charge against Esparza was filed over the summer and alleges that he threatened the employment of former Fresno City Attorney Doug Sloan. Esparza has pleaded not guilty.

The defense argued the prosecution’s evidence fell short of the burden of proof since Esparza couldn’t threaten to do something — fire Sloan — Esparza didn’t have the authority to do.

During the preliminary hearing, both the prosecution and defense focused on the authority of the city council over the position of city attorney and whether Esparza had the power to threaten Sloan's employment. Coleman argued that there was no evidence of Esparza's intent to extort Sloan and that the council majority, not Esparza alone, had the authority to fire Sloan. Alvarez ruled that the burden of proof for the prosecution was "exceedingly low" and that Sloan's credibility was called into question due to his alleged use of a derogatory term to describe Esparza.

Original Article

More Articles

Criminal Defense Attorney Mark Coleman to Represent Fresno City Council President

September 14, 2022

Read article

Former California Congressman TJ Cox Indicted on 28 Charges, Hires Prominent Attorney Mark Coleman

August 16, 2022

Read article

Criminal Case Against Fresno Driver Accused of Manslaughter Suspended Over Mental Competency Concerns

March 3, 2022

Read article