June 29, 2010
A judge today shelved a contempt hearing against Douglas Bruce after the anti-tax activist agreed to appear Wednesday night as a witness in a grand jury investigation.
But Bruce vowed to invoke his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself and said he will refuse to answer questions.
Fourth Judicial District Attorney Dan May said after the hearing that Bruce is not the target of the investigation, but rather a witness. May said he could not comment on a secret grand jury proceeding, but added it has nothing to do with Bruce’s political activities.
“Thanks for letting me know,” Bruce interjected as May talked to reporters outside the courtroom.
The contempt allegation in El Paso County is not related to a contempt hearing that Bruce faces before a judge in Denver for not appearing before an administrative law judge in an election law and campaign contribution hearing on three statewide ballot issues.
Fourth Judicial District Chief Judge Kirk Samelson last week ordered Bruce to show cause why he should not be held in contempt of court for failing to appear before the grand jury after being served with subpoenas twice this month.
Bruce filed motions to quash two subpoenas arguing that one was unsigned and the other was not timely.
May countered that case law does require that the subpoenas be signed and that Bruce was given more than the required 48 hours' notice before his grand jury appearance.
Bruce also challenged the authenticity of May’s signature on the second subpoena, noting it differed from the signature on a request for the contempt hearing. May said he signed the subpoena and a deputy signed the motion for him.
After more than an hour of testimony, Samelson ruled that the subpoena was valid. However, he held off on the contempt hearing after Bruce promised to show up Wednesday night.
Bruce questioned why he was being called before the grand jury after declaring that he would not speak. May responded that the Fifth Amendment has to be invoked on a question-by-question basis. Samelson said he would be available Wednesday night if that issue comes up.
For more court coverage, visit “The Sidebar” blog at gazette.com