Judge blocks indicted CNET commander's trip to L.A. for 'Dr. Phil' taping


A planned trip by an indicted former drug squad leader to Los Angeles to appear on the "Dr. Phil" television talk show has been blocked by a federal judge in Oakland.

Norman Wielsch, 50, of Antioch, the former commander of the Central Contra Costa County Narcotics Enforcement Team, known as CNET, faces

federal charges of stealing and selling drugs from the program, extortion and conducting phony law enforcement stings.

He is free on $100,000 bail and is required to remain in Northern California while awaiting a not-yet-scheduled trial in U.S. District Court in


Last week, Wielsch applied for permission to travel to Los Angeles on Feb. 5 and today to tape an appearance on "Dr. Phil," a daytime reality

talk show hosted by psychologist Phil McGraw.

On Thursday, U.S. Magistrate Laurel Beeler granted permission, despite the written objections of prosecutors.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Hartley West argued in a filing that Wielsch might be likely to flee and that the trip was not for the normal family, medical or employment purposes usually allowed for exceptions to travel restrictions.

Prosecutors then appealed to U.S. District Judge Saundra Armstrong, the trial judge assigned to the case, in a telephone hearing held Friday afternoon.

According to a brief order posted on the court's electronic docket today, Armstrong on Friday overturned the magistrate's approval of the trip

and blocked the trip, which had been scheduled to begin Sunday.

The order said Beeler's ruling granting permission for the trip was set aside "for the reasons stated on the record at the telephonic hearing held on February 3."

The order gave no information about the judge's reasons, and prosecution and defense attorneys declined to comment today.

U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman Jack Gillund said, "I have no comment."

A spokeswoman for defense attorney Michael Cardoza said, "We're no longer speaking about that matter until it is resolved at trial."

Cardoza said last week that Wielsch's purpose in the planned unpaid television appearance was to reach out to other law enforcement officers who may be under stress and encourage them to seek psychological help.

Wielsch and co-defendant Christopher Butler, a former private investigator from Concord, are scheduled to appear in Armstrong's court for a

status conference March 20.


Like this comment
Posted by No excuses
a resident of Diablo
on Feb 7, 2012 at 8:28 am

Sure, Wielsch became a crook because he was "under stress". The stress was thinking about all the money he could make stealing the drugs he confiscated and then selling them! Come on, Dr. Phil. Are you really going to excuse what Wielsch did with your ridiculous "stress" analysis? I am glad the judge prevented Phil from providing Wielsch with a platform to try to exonerate himself!

Like this comment
Posted by Patty
a resident of Blackhawk
on Feb 7, 2012 at 9:21 am

Let's not make a celebrity out of this sleaze bag. I would also like to know why was his bail was set at only $100K?

Like this comment
Posted by JC
a resident of Alamo
on Feb 8, 2012 at 5:46 am

Good try Cardoza, to get some free defense testimoy and make jury selection difficult. All of the three or four Cops should also forfeit thier very rich State or Contra County pensions including life time health benefits that they are currently drawing...There needs to be financial consequences for those public employees who take advantage of the public and abuse the public trust. These three are the tip of the ice berg.

Like this comment
Posted by @JC
a resident of Danville
on Feb 8, 2012 at 7:44 am

I agree. State and local pension plans have denial clauses for felony convictions. The felon is then only entitled to a refund of the amount they contributed.

Like this comment
Posted by JPA
a resident of Danville
on Feb 8, 2012 at 9:06 am

I'm currently in Law Enforcement and total agree with the judge. This crap that he was stressed and that caused him to steal from the evidence locker along with other crimes and complete BS. I can't believe Dr. Phil was actually going to justify this idiot by putting him on. Makes us all look bad. I'm stressed all the time but haven't felt the urge to go knock off a bank. Now knock off a nice bottle of Merlot is a different story.

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Tassajara Hills Elementary School

on Jun 2, 2017 at 1:51 am

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