Perjury, fraud charges refiled against Richard Alarcon and wife
Moving swiftly after a judge dismissed its case, the district attorney's office refiled 24 perjury and voter-fraud charges late Thursday afternoon against Councilman Richard Alarcon and his wife, Flora Montes De Oca Alarcon.
The new charges make the same allegations as a case thrown out by Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy on Thursday morning, accusing the Alarcons of lying about living in a house in Panorama City so that the councilman could run for his 7th District office.
It was not immediately clear when the Alarcons would be arraigned.
Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley's action came just hours after Kennedy's ruling. The judge threw out a July 2010 indictment of the couple on 24 felony charges after finding the prosecution failed to properly instruct grand jurors of their duty to consider exonerating defense evidence.
Cooley disputed her legal reasoning, saying the judge ignored legal precedents when she dismissed the grand jury indictment.
"The grand jury transcripts clearly show that our prosecutors did indeed present evidence submitted by the councilman and his wife," Cooley said. "The grand jury chose not to consider it, as is their right."
There was no immediate comment from Alarcon.
Thursday's charges mirror the earlier indictment against Richard Alarcon, including two felony counts of filing false candidacy papers in 2006 and 2008, seven counts of voter fraud and nine counts of perjury. Montes de Oca Alarcon is again charged with three counts of perjury and three counts of voter fraud.
The couple have said they were living in the Panorama City house but temporarily moved to another residence in Sun Valley while they did major renovations. A burglary and vandalism by a homeless man in October 2009 delayed their reentry to the Panorama City house, the Alarcons have said.
Prosecutors allege that they lived in the Sun Valley house all along and that Alarcon had tried unsuccessfully to have the 7th District's boundaries redrawn in the summer of 2007 to include the Sun Valley home, owned by his wife.
Thirty-one prosecution witnesses testified at July 2010 grand jury proceedings. The defense submitted documents purporting to show that the Alarcons indeed lived at the Panorama City house. But that packet of information was treated "in a cavalier fashion" by Deputy Dist. Atty. Jennifer Lentz Snyder and was not formally admitted into evidence, Kennedy found.
-- Catherine Saillant
Photo: Councilman Richard Alarcon Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times