Former South Lake Tahoe City Councilman Ted Long has released a video of the August raid of Gino DiMatteo's home in hopes of showing people authorities have been overzealous in their pursuit of the former medical marijuana dispensary owner.
The video, shot across the street from DiMatteo's house, shows numerous SWAT team members surrounding and entering the home. One of the law enforcement officers can be seen throwing a stun grenade into the home's front hallway.
The video can be found at http://tinyurl.com/DimatteoRaid.
"I'm just hoping to show people that this is out of control," Long said. "This could be your house. This could be you."
DiMatteo was arrested Aug. 31. El Dorado County prosecutors have charged him with felony counts of bribery, possession of marijuana for sale, possession of a controlled substance and possession of ammunition by a convicted felon. He has pleaded not guilty.
The bribery investigation centers around a donation DiMatteo made to Lake Tahoe Educational Foundation, which includes South Lake Tahoe City Councilwoman Angela Swanson as a board member. DiMatteo was asking the City Council to approve a relocation of City of Angels at the time of the donation. Prosecutors have not returned requests for comment regarding the case.
Long called the charge unusual because the public official involved in the allegations has not been charged with a crime.
"It's just a strange case," Long said. "I've never seen a bribery case where they don't arrest the official."
Long said he believes Swanson is innocent and will not be charged.
The attorney also said he feels prosecutors are pursuing DiMatteo aggressively for his operation of the City of Angels 2 medical marijuana dispensary.
Typically in cases of white-collar crime, suspects are notified of the charges against them and are given two or three days to surrender, Long said. DiMatteo was already in custody at the time of the raid on his home, Long added.
DiMatteo's criminal defense attorney Robert Woelfel was in El Dorado County Superior Court in Placerville Tuesday arguing for the District Attorney's Office to release evidence in the case, Long said.
"Right now we've seen zero evidence," Long said. "Why the secrecy? That's what's confusing about it."
Long said he expected to file civil claims in federal court this week regarding the council's denial of DiMatteo's request to move City of Angels 2 and damage caused during the raid of DiMatteo's home.
He estimated the raid caused $20,000 to $30,000 in damage, including holes in the roof and a broken garage door.
Woelfel and Deputy District Attorney James Clinchard, the prosecutor in the case, did not immediately return requests for comment on the case Tuesday.