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L.A. judge not guilty of paying off political opponent

August 1, 2011 |  5:46 pm

Photo: Harvey Silberman. Credit: Los Angeles Times A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge was found not guilty Monday of offering to pay an opponent to drop out of a 2008 race for a seat on the bench.

The jury returned the verdict after less than a day of deliberating.

Harvey Silberman, who was a court commissioner at the time, stopped hearing family law cases after he was indicted along with two campaign consultants in 2009.

Silberman, the prosecution alleged during trial, was concerned about running against Deputy Dist. Atty. Serena Murillo and signed off on a scheme to pay the $1,787 filing fee for Murillo to run in a different race.

Defense attorneys argued that any offer was the work of political consultants operating without the judge's knowledge. The consultants, Evelyn Alexander and Randy Steinberg, have pleaded no contest to misdemeanor conspiracy and testified against their former client.

If convicted, Silberman faced up to three years in state prison. The consultants face a maximum sentence of a year each in County Jail.


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Photo: Harvey Silberman. Credit: Los Angeles Times