Defendant accused of trying to disrupt SLO County fraud trial

November 21, 2023


Defendant Ryan Wright’s alleged antics led to multiple delays during a civil trial on Monday in Paso Robles, though the judge declined a request to admonish Wright.

Wright (formerly known as Ryan Petetit) and his partner John Belsher are fighting allegations they bilked Jeff and Debora Chase out of more than $2 million they invested in three of the developers’ projects. Following a three week pause, the civil trial was scheduled to restart on Nov. 20.

During the pause, on Oct. 30, FBI agents arrested Wright at his home in Grover Beach and then transported him to the Los Angeles Metropolitan Detention Center. Wright is suspected of paying nearly $100,000 in bribes and gifts to former San Luis Obispo County supervisor Adam Hill.

On Monday morning, Wright appeared to be attending the meeting via Zoom. Though the video was off, you could hear rustling in the background. Wright did not respond to requests from Superior Court Judge Michael Kelley that he could hear the trial.

Belsher, who as an attorney is representing both himself and Wright, argued they should not proceed with the trial without Wright’s attendance. The trial was delayed until the afternoon session.

During the break, a legal representative of the Los Angeles Metropolitan Detention Center contacted the court clerk, with their conversation playing on Zoom. The legal representative said jail staff checked Wright into the trial through Zoom, and that Wright went back to his cell after claiming the trial was over for the day.

A guard then noted that Wright was listening, but maybe Wright did not want to talk to the judge.

After the trial reconvened at 1:30 p.m., the Chases’ attorney Kurt Wilson asked the judge to admonish Wright for failing to respond and delaying the trial. Belsher argued that Wilson was repeating hearsay.

The trial then stated without the judge admonishing Wright, who had returned to the hearing via Zoom. A few hours later, Wright ended the Zoom connection without informing the court. Judge Kelley voiced concerns over prolonging the trial, before saying that because Wright is represented by an attorney, he does not need to be present.


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Two things I know. Both of you are going to jail and you will both lose this trial. Stop being the little bit**es you are and just take your medicine like a man.

Sadly there is a pattern in this industry which goes like this: everyone is innocent until proven broke. What happened to a speedy trial? Are we ignoring the Sixth Amendment or do we allow money to buy a trial until it becomes a game show? Certainly we don’t allow wealth vs poor decide the outcome while subliminally abusing the judge.

This is a civil trial, not a criminal trial. The right to a speedy trial relates to criminal trials, and is the right of the defendant–not the prosecution. So a defendant having enough money to have lawyers who draw out the proceedings in a criminal trial is not depriving anyone of a 6th amendment right. With that said, I agree that we have a two-tiered justice system: rich vs. poor.

Better call Saul has nothing on these clowns.

Its amazing how these two swindlers continue to play the system.

They don’t even care. Oblivious to the consequences.

The don’t care, but noit because they are oblivious to the consequences. They just believe they are immune from the consequences because they are so smart. It’s the arrogance that will bring them both down.I’ve seen Belsher bully people until they have an attorney, and then he backs down like a coward.