Clayton Vice Mayor Joe Medrano's defense is asking a San Mateo County judge to throw out a criminal case against the city official, who has been charged with embezzling $159,000 from an insurance client.

In a motion filed recently, Medrano's defense claims the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office does not have jurisdiction to prosecute the case. District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe on Thursday rebuffed the claim, saying the client's company headquarters is in the San Mateo County community of Redwood Shores.

A judge is expected to rule on the motion at a July 20 hearing in Redwood City. A pretrial hearing is set for July 31, with a jury trial scheduled to follow Sept. 10.

Prosecutors say Medrano collected more than $159,000 in insurance premiums from iPass, a wireless network provider, between January 2009 and October 2010 and failed to forward the money to his parent company, Travelers Insurance. Medrano was acting as an insurance broker for iPass.

iPass claims its new CEO discovered the discrepancy after switching insurance brokers. The company then took its claims to police.

In 2010, a judge in Contra Costa County ordered Medrano to pay Travelers $87,000 after Travelers sued Medrano. iPass also sued Medrano for $79,000 in damages. Medrano was served the lawsuit at a Clayton council meeting Dec. 7, 2010. The iPass lawsuit has a status conference scheduled for Aug. 8.

Medrano, who has pleaded not guilty, did not return phone calls Wednesday and Thursday.

In May, Medrano said there were holes in the police investigation and that he was caught in the middle of an internal struggle at iPass.

Medrano, 48, is up for re-election in November. If convicted of the felony, he would not be able to hold office. He faces five years in state prison if convicted.

Contact David DeBolt at 925-943-8048. Follow him at Twitter.com/daviddebolt.