No charges against former Nevada County Deputy District Attorney Ken Tribby |

No charges against former Nevada County Deputy District Attorney Ken Tribby

No charges will be filed against former Nevada County Deputy District Attorney Ken Tribby, who was arrested in July in a domestic violence incident.

Tribby, who retired from the DA's office, was the court-appointed public defender representing Gold Country Lenders CEO Phil Lester in a high-profile fraud case. Shortly after his arrest, Tribby resigned from Lester's case.

Nevada County Superior Court Judge Candace Heidelberger subsequently appointed El Dorado Hills attorney Mary Beth Acton to replace Tribby.

Nevada County Sheriff's deputies had been called to Tribby's residence by his wife. The two reportedly began arguing over family matters and Tribby's wife allegedly slapped him in the face; Tribby allegedly then struck her in the side of the head, knocking her to the ground.

She was not completely cooperative, and refused medical treatment, Nevada County Lt. Steve Tripp said at the time of the arrest.

Tribby was arrested on suspicion of spousal abuse because of the reported injury, and the case was referred to the DA's office.

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"The case was rejected for filing," Nevada County District Attorney Cliff Newell said Thursday. "I made a point to give it to an attorney (for review) who had never worked with Ken."

Newell said he then sent the case to the state Attorney General's office so that his office's decision could be reviewed for any possible abuse of discretion.

"They determined there was not," he said.

Lester and Gold Country Lenders CFO Susan Laferte were set to go to trial this month, but the trial has now been postponed to mid-February due to the substitution of counsel.

Nevada County Executive Officer Rick Haffey reported last week that the total cost to the county to defend Lester and Laferte has reached $102,000, approximately 20 percent of the total county budget for conflict indigent defense.

Defense costs increased ($60,000 was spent in the fourth quarter of 2012-13 alone) as the case entered the more intensive pre-trial and trial phases, Haffey said, adding those higher costs will continue with the recent appointment of Acton and the postponement of the trial to February 2014.

The county is working with legislators on a bill (SB 16) to reimburse for nonmurder trials when the Attorney General is handing investigation and prosecution, Haffey said.

To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, email or call 530-477-4229.

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