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D.A. to present evidence in Councilman Alarcon's voter fraud case

Richard Alarcon faces a preliminary hearing in a voter fraud case
Prosecution evidence that Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon lied about where he was living to run for office will get its first public airing at a preliminary hearing scheduled to get underway today.

Alarcon and his wife, Flora Montes De Oca Alarcon, face perjury and voter fraud charges alleging that they falsely claimed a home on Nordhoff Street in Panorama City as their residence so that Richard Alarcon could run for the council seat representing the 7th District.

Prosecutors allege the pair was actually living in a Sun Valley home outside the seat's boundaries. The district attorney’s nPublic Integrity Divisio initially filed 24 counts against the couple in August 2010. But L.A. County Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy threw the case out in May, finding that prosecutors committed procedural errors in securing an indictment.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Jennifer Lentz Snyder refiled identical charges within hours and said the public would get a chance to hear the evidence at a preliminary hearing. The Alarcons have pleaded not guilty.

"I have every confidence that the case will be sent to trial court and we’ll let the community decide," Lentz Synder said in May after refiling charges.

The preliminary hearing is expected to last at least a week.

Court action comes at a sticky time for Alarcon, who is running on the Nov. 6 ballot for the 39th Assembly District. He faces a tough contest with fellow Democrat Raul Bocanegra, a CSU Northridge instructor and former legislative aide.

"Obviously this is not something good to hang over your head when you are running for election,'' said Fred Woocher, Richard Alarcon's attorney. "He’d rather not have to go through the bother of this at all. But we’ll take it one step at a time."

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-- Catherine Saillant

Photo: The preliminary hearing for the voter fraud case against Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon and his wife is expected to get underway today. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times  

 
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