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Judge OKs trial for Alarcon, wife on voter fraud, perjury charges

October 2, 2012 | 12:33 pm

Termed-out Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon, who was bound over for trial on voter fraud charges Tuesday, appears at a press conference in April while running for State Assembly. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

A Los Angeles judge ruled Tuesday that City Councilman Richard Alarcon and his wife should face trial on voter fraud and perjury charges.

Superior Court Judge M.L. Villar de Longoria found that there is "more than substantial" evidence to proceed with the case alleging that Alarcon and his wife, Flora Montes de Oca Alarcon, lied about where he was living so he could run for the City Council in the 7th District in 2006 and 2008. Prosecutors contended that the couple was actually living in a Sun Valley residence, outside district boundaries.

Alarcon and his wife faced 24 felony counts of perjury and voter fraud.  At the close of a preliminary hearing Tuesday, one count of voter fraud against the councilman was dismissed.

The preliminary hearing concluded a little more than a month before Alarcon seeks election to the 39th Assembly District in a tough battle with fellow Democrat Raul Bocanegra. Alarcon cannot run for reelection to the City Council because of term limits.

When the hearing began in early August, Deputy Dist. Atty. Jennifer Lentz Snyder began laying out a case against the Alarcons, putting on witnesses who testified that it appeared the home they said they were living in at 14451 Nordhoff Street in Panorama City was unoccupied.

Defense attorneys suggested that the Alarcons moved out temporarily to make renovations but intended to return.

At one point, the defense got the district attorney's chief investigator in the case, David Babcock, to acknowledge that he didn't follow up on Home Depot documents showing that Richard Alarcon opened an account in May 2007 and made multiple purchases there.

The defense contends those purchases prove that the Alarcons were doing major renovations at the Nordhoff house. Under questioning by Lentz Synder, Babcock said the documents don't specify for which residence the purchases were made.


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Photo: Richard Alarcon, who was bound over for trial on voter fraud charges Tuesday, appears at a news conference in April. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times