The prosecution’s embezzlement case against a former Amador High School wrestling coach accused of stealing from the sports program took shape in a preliminary hearing held over two days last week.
Amador County prosecutor Mary Simmons presented the people’s case against Tim Swisher, who is alleged to have taken for himself both uniforms and equipment, as well as money raised at the Amador County Fair, from the Amador High School wrestling program. In a preliminary hearing, the prosecution must present enough evidence for the case to proceed.
Beginning on Tuesday, February 12, two witnesses were called in the hearing, Patrol Sergeant Wes Glaister from the Sutter Creek Police Department, who described his investigation of the case, and a bookkeeper from Amador High School, who testified on how the finances of the wrestling team are accounted for at the school.
Swisher’s defense attorney, Robert Schell, mounted a relentless defense in the hearing, raising procedural objections to almost every prosecution question, witness answer, or document entered into evidence. Schell challenged the most basic facts of the testimony, such as if “Amador wrestlers” referred to the same thing as the “Amador High School wrestling team.” These objections were mostly overruled by visiting judge David Devore, but they did seem to disrupt the narrative the prosecution was trying to outline, ate up long periods of time, and testimony went the entire day without completing the prosecution’s case.
With Wednesday, February 12 a judicial holiday, the hearing was continued on Thursday, February 13. With preliminary testimony now dealt with, Glaister laid out the key facts of the prosecution’s case – that Swisher had allegedly taken thousands of dollars in funds raised at the Amador County Fair for the Amador High School wrestling team, and rather than deposit the money in a designated account at the high school, kept the money himself and could not account for it with receipts.
Swisher is also accused of keeping thousands of dollars’ worth of wrestling uniforms and other equipment, which was found missing when a new coach took over the program and took inventory.
Testimony ended without time for final statements from either side, so Judge Devore continued the hearing to Tuesday, February 25, when both the prosecution and defense could summarize their arguments and a ruling could be made on continuing the case.