Judge Bernal cited emails and statements from former District Attorney Michael Ramos and former Assistant District Attorney Jim Hackleman in rejecting the county's motion to dismiss, noting that, "Hackleman emailed Ramos and others, stating...that the overriding objective was to 'absolutely ruin Burum as a political operator.'" Judge Bernal decided to allow the evidence in and let a jury decide Mr. Ramos’s and Mr. Hackleman’s motives.