Sep 112006
 
Authors: Vimal Patel, The Rocky Mountain Collegian

Robert Herbert stood in the courthouse hallway, head cocked, hands stuffed in his pockets as he listened to his lawyer field reporters’ questions.

“I’ve seen none of the evidence,” said Erik Fischer, Herbert’s attorney.

Herbert, a senior liberal arts major, was arrested last week under suspicion of two counts of theft. The now-suspended CSU football cornerback along with six others – four current CSU students, a Fort Collins resident and a former CSU football player who has transferred – face charges ranging from forgery to identity theft.

“I know as much about the charges as you guys do,” Fischer said to a reporter, waving a piece of paper outlining the basic charges against his client.

And the formal charges outlined by prosecutors, shrouded in legal speak, provide few details about the alleged crimes.

For instance, prosecutors allege Calee Jo Chleboun, a Fort Collins resident, “unlawfully, feloniously and falsely made, completed, altered or uttered a written instrument which was or which purported to be, or which was calculated to become or to represent if completed, a check.”

Chleboun, 20, quickly scuttled out of the courtroom Monday morning, after the judge set her next court appearance date.

She declined to comment.

A man identifying himself as her stepfather, John Manning, had just one thing to say: “We haven’t even seen the facts of the case yet.”

And then there are the charges against Preston Garcia, who faces four counts of theft and two counts of forgery.

Prosecutors accuse the sophomore finance major of unlawfully taking “a thing of value, namely: United States currency, of US Bank, 7-11 and Western Union through money orders.”

On Monday morning, in addition to Chleboun and Herbert, three others accused of theft and forgery were also in court: Brian Abata, a freshman health and exercise science major; Daniel Foster, a senior health and exercise science major; and Micah Crews, a freshman open-option major.

Herbert, Abata and Crews were suspended from the football team last week following the charges.

The court appearances were brief. The judge addressed all five accused within a span of 15 minutes. McGill and Garcia were not in court Monday.

The judge made sure the suspects had attorneys and set bond hearings and other court dates.

Abata still doesn’t have an attorney. He’s set to be in court on Thursday. When the judge asked if Abata could get an attorney by then, he responded, “I think I can.”

With all the buzz surrounding the case, the facts are few, and prosecutors are tight-lipped due to the ongoing investigation.

And everyone spoken to on the suspects’ side Monday morning – defense attorneys, a family member and suspects themselves – declined comment on any aspect related to the case.

Troy Kremming, the attorney representing Crews and Foster, said just one thing before hurrying off with his clients: “These men are presumed innocent and that’s how this case will proceed.”

News managing editor Vimal Patel can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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