Cain Velasquez plea hearing continued again, as attorneys work out discovery issues

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The plea hearing for former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez will have to wait – again.

For the third time in as many hearings at Santa Clara County Hall of Justice in San Jose, Calif., Velasquez’s attorney Mark Geragos asked Judge S. Franco for a continuance. This time, Geragos cited a need to work through discovery – something district attorney representative Aaron French echoed.

Judge Franco approved and set Velasquez’s new plea hearing date for June 30.

“We’ve discussed at sidebar we’re working through discovery issues and we need to set this, with the court’s blessing, for June 30 in this courtroom,” Geragos said. “If we can’t work out our discovery issues, I’ll follow the court’s procedures for the other court and we can set a date, hopefully before that date. This to reserve a date in this court.”

Discovery is a legal term for the process of exchanging information between two lawsuit parties prior to a hearing or trial. The information can include witnesses, documents, or other pieces of evidence.

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Velasquez, 39, faces charges of attempted murder (one count), shooting at a motor vehicle or aircraft (one count), assault with a firearm (three counts), assault with a deadly weapon (three counts), willfully discharging a firearm from a vehicle (one count), and carrying a loaded firearm with intent to commit a felony (one count).

If found guilty of attempted murder, Velasquez faces a minimum of 20 years and up to life in prison, according to the California penal code. He faces additional time if found guilty of other counts.

Velasquez was arrested Feb. 28 after he allegedly pursued and fired a gun at a car containing three people, including Harry Goularte, a man accused of molestation of Velasquez’s relative, later identified by Geragos as Velasquez’s 4-year-old son. Goularte, who was out on bail after an arrest for “lewd acts with a minor under the age of 14,” was not shot. However, Goularte’s stepfather Paul Bender was allegedly struck in the shoulder with a bullet. Bender claims he is still dealing with physical and emotional trauma as a result of the incident.

On two separate occasions since his arrest, Velasquez went before a judge and asked for bail. Both times he was denied. Judge Shelyna Brown who presided over the bail hearings cited “reckless” alleged actions and public safety concerns as her reasons for the denials.

Monday, Goularte entered a not guilty plea of his own 25 miles away at South Morgan Hill Court House in Morgan Hill, Calif. Goularte appeared virtually at the plea hearing. His attorney stated fear of getting shot was a reason for his client not attending the hearing in person. He is due for a preliminary examination Sept. 20 at Santa Clara Hall of Justice where he is required to be physically be present.