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Councilman Alarcon 'very pleased' perjury, fraud case was tossed

Councilman Richard AlarconLos Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon said he is happy that the perjury and voter fraud case against him and his wife was dismissed Thursday morning.

Prosecutors alleged the Alarcons lied about where they were living so that the veteran San Fernando Valley politician could run for the council seat representing the 7th District.

"My wife and I are obviously very pleased with the judge's ruling," he said in a statement. "We have maintained our innocence throughout this process and have always believed that when all of the evidence is considered, we would be found innocent."

Alarcon's office said the councilman would not have further comment Thursday.

In dismissing the case, Judge Kathleen Kennedy said the prosecution had failed to present evidence that would have undercut its case to a grand jury in 2010. In grand jury cases, it is the duty of the prosecution to show not only its evidence but also that of the defense.

L.A. County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley said prosecutors would be looking at what their next step would be.

"Judge Kathleen Kennedy's decision today to dismiss the Alarcon case is inexplicable," he said in a statement. "We will vigorously prosecute this case. We are evaluating our options to proceed.”

Indeed, Deputy Dist. Atty. Jennifer Lentz Snyder said prosecutors may appeal.

"The case is not over in our mind by any stretch," she said.

At a hearing in March, Kennedy had accused Lentz Snyder of being "very dismissive" of defense evidence submitted to the grand jury. Those jurors returned a 24-count felony indictment against the Alarcons, who pleaded not guilty.

The councilman's attorney, Fred Woocher, said it's unclear what effect the dismissal will have on damage done to the politician's reputation as a result of the indictments.

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--Catherine Saillant

Photo: Councilman Richard Alarcon. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

 
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