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Judge questions prosecutors' actions in case against L.A. lawmaker

March 2, 2012 |  5:10 pm

Richard Alarcon

A judge in the residency case against Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon raised questions Friday about whether a grand jury was properly informed of evidence submitted by the lawmaker, attorneys for both sides said.

Alarcon attorney Fred Woocher said Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy questioned whether prosecutors properly provided the grand jury with information that could have cleared the councilman. The evidence was submitted to the district attorney's office days before the indictment was handed down.

Prosecutors contend that Alarcon, who represents a portion of the northeast San Fernando Valley, lied when he said he lived in Panorama City during his 2007 campaign for City Council. Alarcon faces 18 felony counts, including perjury and voter fraud, while his wife faces six felony counts.

Woocher has filed a motion to dismiss the case, saying grand jurors were not advised of their obligation to review information he submitted to prosecutors, which included photographs and a list of potential witnesses. “The court expressed concerns that the matter was not handled appropriately in the grand jury, which is what we had been arguing all along,”  Woocher said.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Jennifer Lentz Snyder said advice given to the grand jury about exculpatory evidence occurred at the beginning of the grand jury proceedings -- but did not show up in the transcript provided to the judge. That transcript will be provided to the judge before the next hearing, which is scheduled for May 3, she said.

Snyder also said prosecutors “exceeded” their legal obligations by presenting Woocher’s packet of materials without any filter to the grand jury.

“We handed them everything that Woocher gave us,” she said.


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-- David Zahniser at Los Angeles City Hall

Photo: Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon. Credit: Irfan Khan /Los Angeles Times