Carson City's chief deputy district attorney refused to enter a "not guilty" plea Monday on a charge she intimidated a witness, as her attorney argued the accusation has no legal standing.
Anne Langer, on administrative paid leave from the District Attorney's Office since indictment by a grand jury June 21, remained silent when asked to enter a plea.
"Ms. Langer remained silent because if she would have plead 'not guilty' that would have been an admission that the charges were even valid," said her attorney, Scott Freeman.
Judge Mark Gibbons, a Las Vegas judge appointed to the case, entered a plea of "not guilty" for her.
Freeman filed several motions in the case intended to dismiss the charge against Langer. Gibbons will hear those motions Sept. 10 at 10:30 a.m.
In one, a writ of habeus corpus, Langer contends the evidence submitted to the grand jury was not sufficient for "probable cause" that a crime had been committee
Freeman also filed a motion arguing the statute of limitations had lapsed in the case against Langer.
The alleged crime took place on Nov. 11, 1997, and according to Freeman,the statute of limitations ran out Nov. 18, 2000.
"The statute of limitations ran out some seven months prior to the date of the special prosecutor's signing of the indictment. There are no exceptions that apply" Freeman said.
Freeman also plans Friday to file a motion of prosecutorial misconduct.
"We believe the special prosecutor exceeded her authority in the way she conducted the grand jury," Freeman said. In addition, Freeman said the grand jury exceeded its limitations in the charge for which Langer was indicted.
"The charge in the original petition (preventing or dissuading a witness or victim from reporting a crime) is completely different than the charge of intimidating a witness," Freeman said.
Freeman said the special grand jury had a limited scope and exceeded that scope when they charged Langer with a crime not addressed in the petition. The grand jury alleged Langer intimidated Jaime Bustamante by threatening to prosecute him if he committed perjury.
The grand jury was empaneled March 13 to review a petition spearheaded by Ron Weddell for what he says was a deliberate refusal to prosecute Bustamante and his brother, Johnny.
The petition alleged misconduct by Langer, District Attorney Noel Waters and several of Carson City's law enforcement officials in their handling of the alleged Bustamante crimes.
No other officials were indicted, but the Bustamante brothers were accused of 11 counts of suspicion of felony assault with a deadly weapon, battery with a deadly weapon, trafficking, possession and sales of a controlled substance. Additionally, Johnny Bustamante was indicted on the charge of extortion.
A report from the grand jury is pending.
Jaime Bustamante also filed a motion to dismiss the charges based on the statute of limitations. The motion filed by Bustamante was signed by a notary public and himself. Jaime Bustamante is currently in custody at the Northern Nevada Correctional Center on unrelated charges. His brother, Johnny, is in custody in California. No trial dates have been set for either Bustamante.