The lawyer for a Santa Rosa woman charged with filing a false report that she was raped by a police officer and others has bowed out of continued legal proceedings.
Attorney Tanya Brannan, a longtime police watchdog and women’s rights advocate, said she never intended to take the two-year-old case of Danielle Charter to trial.
Brannan said she was in it to handle evidence-gathering and dismissal motions — legal work she said she did for free.
Now that Judge Shelley Averill has signaled she will not put aside the two misdemeanor counts against Charter, a new lawyer has taken over with more criminal courtroom experience, she said Tuesday.
“I’ve fulfilled my role,” said Brannan, a Santa Rosa Purple Berets activist, who alleged Charter is being prosecuted in retaliation for complaining about officers.
Police have denied the allegations stemming from Charter’s November 2009 arrest on drunkenness charges. Sheriff’s Office investigators said her claim of being assaulted by an officer and unidentified men on a trip to jail were fabricated.
Brannan said it’s clear that “something very, very serious happened” to Charter. But Brannan won’t say if she believes a police officer raped Charter.
“I know she firmly believes in everything she is saying,” Brannan said.
Brannan, who has been an attorney for about four years, will pass the torch to Divya Singh, who is a court-appointed lawyer in misdemeanor cases. Records show Singh passed the bar six months after Brannan in 2008.
On Tuesday, Singh set a trial date for Feb. 24. It’s expected to run one week.
Charter previously rejected an offer from prosecutors that would have allowed her to avoid jail if she got mental health treatment and issued an apology.
Brannan, meanwhile, has taken on a new project as part of the legal team advising Occupy Santa Rosa protesters.