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Councilman Richard Alarcon and Wife Ordered to Stand Trial

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Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon and his wife, Flora Montes Alarcon, were ordered today to stand trial on charges the couple committed perjury and voter fraud. The charges stem from allegations the couple lived outside the district the councilman represents and lied about their address.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge M.L. Villar de Longoria found there was sufficient evidence to require Alarcon, 58, to proceed to trial on 17 felony counts, including perjury by declaration, perjury in an application for a false drivers license, falsifying a declaration of candidacy and fraudulent voting, according to City News Service.

Flora Alarcon, 47, was ordered to stand trial on six felony counts -- three counts each of perjury by declaration and three counts of fraudulent voting in elections in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

This is not a new battle; the allegations surfaced in 2010. At the time, Alarcon explained his absence from the Panorama City home in question by claiming he felt unsafe following a break-in. In May, a judge dismissed the charges against the Alarcons, only to find the charges were re-filed the same day.

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Prosecutors say that Alarcon and his wife lived in Sun Valley but lied and claimed that he lived in Panorama City so he could represent the 7th District.

Today Judge Villar de Longoria said she believed there was "more than substantial evidence" the prosecution had met the burden of proof in the preliminary hearing phase. One charge against Councilman Alarcon, however, false declaration of candidacy, was dropped.

The Alarcons have long-maintained their innocence, which they reiterated today. "We believe we have a very strong case going into trial," Alarcon told reporters outside the courthouse today.

Attorneys for the couple say they will file a motion to dismiss the charges (again!) which prompted Flora Alarcon's attorney to remark: "There won't be a trial date set because that motion will be granted."

Arraignment has been scheduled for October 18.