FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) — The court case involving a Fresno city council member and the former Fresno city attorney continued Thursday. 

Former city attorney Doug Sloan spoke publicly for the first time after City Council President Nelson Esparza was charged with attempted extortion and attempting to violate the Fresno city charter. Both charges are felonies. 

Esparza’s lawyers argued to the judge, the case should be dismissed, citing attorney-client privilege. However, the judge denied the request. 

Sloan recounted the conversation the charges center around in the courtroom. It began with him saying, “I’m just going to cut to the chase. I’m standing between you and you losing your job. For now, on you will work only for the council majority,” And I responded with “so what do I do if the others ask me to do something?” And he said, “come talk to me.” And then I said, “where’s Luis on this?” And he said “it doesn’t matter.'” 

In May, city council member Garry Bredefeld, the lone Republican on the council, held a news conference alleging Esparza had attempted to extort Sloan and by doing so attempted to violate the Fresno city charter. 

Following the news conference, Esparza announced he was moving forward with a defamation lawsuit against Bredefeld over the remarks. He dropped the suit by June. 

In July, the district attorney had formally charged Esparza with the two felony charges. Now facing jail time and possible fines, Esparza’s lawyers argued the case should get thrown out.

Pleading to the judge, the conversation the charges focus on should be covered by the attorney-client privilege. 

The judge denied their request and said they lost that right when Esparza brought forward the defamation lawsuit. He said that put the claims on the public record, no longer making the information privileged. 

Esparza now claiming he’ll be found innocent based on the facts. “At this point, we remain unconcerned and undeterred about the status of the case, we’ve said from the beginning that we look forward to the process and the proceedings, and moving forward we look forward to exonerating the case on the basis of the facts,” Esparza said. 

Court will continue on Tuesday. Sloan left the city to work in Santa Monica before these charges were made public.