CENTENNIAL | Two lawyers withdrew Monday from representing a former social worker charged with falsifying allegations of child abuse against an Aurora city lawmaker after prosecutors raised doubts about the veracity of claims about a brain tumor.
Former Arapahoe County Department of Social Services employee Robin Niceta is facing charges of retaliating against an elected official, a sixth-degree felony, and making a false report of child abuse as a mandatory reporter, a second-degree misdemeanor. She has pleaded not guilty.
The charges stem from an incident last year when Niceta made a report that Aurora city Councilmember Danielle Jurinsky was abusing her son. Niceta was a caseworker in the Arapahoe County DHS at the time and was the romantic partner of former Aurora police chief Vanessa Wilson. The allegations, which were determined to be not credible, were made a day after Jurinsky insulted Wilson on a local radio show, calling her “trash.”
Throughout the case, Niceta has made the claims through her legal team that she was too ill to travel from New Mexico to Colorado for court dates, and that she was nonverbal following an assault in 2021 that left her seriously incapacitated. On a judge’s order, Niceta appeared in court in person Monday after having attended the past several hearings remotely from her parent’s house in New Mexico, where she is currently living.
At the end of March, Niceta’s lawyers submitted a motion to the court asking for her mental competency to stand trial to be evaluated. The documents included medical records stating that Niceta had glioblastoma, an aggressive brain tumor, and could potentially only have months to live.
After the documents were reported on by local TV news stations, their veracity were called into question online, including by Dr. Eric Strong of Stanford, who the judge said called the court last week to raise his concerns. The prosecutor’s office also said that they had difficulty determining whether or not the medical records were legitimate.
In court Monday, a prosecutor said that he had spoken to someone who he was led to believe was Niceta’s doctor in New Mexico, but has since been unable to verify that person exists.
Two of Niceta’s lawyers asked to be released from the case Monday citing irreconcilable differences, a petition the judge granted. He denied a request from the prosecutors to revoke Niceta’s ability to live out of state, but said that moving forward she will be required to attend all of her court dates in person.
Niceta is next scheduled to appear in court for a motions hearing on July 5. A trial is set to begin Aug 1.
Following the hearing, Jurinsky said that she was happy that the medical documents had been called into question and said she hoped that Niceta will face additional charges for allegedly falsifying documents.
“I feel very vindicated today,” she said.
This is a developing story and will be updated.