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Judge Throws Out Perjury and Fraud Charges Against Councilman, Prosecutors Refile Exact Same Charges Hours Later
District Attorney Steve Cooley filed perjury and fraud charges against City Councilman Richard Alarcon and his wife Flora Montes de Oca Alarcon today—the exact same charges that a Superior Court judge threw out just hours earlier today.
The charges were related to allegations that the city councilman lived outside the district he represents and lied about his address—allegations we first wrote about over two years ago.
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. Photos of his shabby-looking house circulated just a few months after the grand jury indictment in July 2010, but Alarcon explained that he was afraid to live in his Panorama City home after a break-in.
Alarcon has long contested the charges against him and his wife, and he applauded the judge who dismissed the case in an interview with City News Service after the charges were dropped (but before they were refiled): "My wife and I are obviously very pleased with the judge's ruling today. We have maintained our innocence throughout this process and have always believed that when all of the evidence is considered, we would be found innocent."
Last month Judge Kathleen Kennedy said that prosecutors hadn't considered evidence that favored Alarcon's position (though it's not clear from news reports what this evidence was). District Attorney Steve Cooley disputed this: "The grand jury transcripts clearly show that our prosecutors did indeed present evidence submitted by the councilman and his wife. The grand jury chose not to consider it, as is their right."
Here's how the new/old charges break down according to City News Service:
Alarcon, 58, is charged with 18 counts -- two felony counts of filing a false declaration of candidacy in December 2006 and November 2008; seven felony counts of fraudulent voting in elections in 2007, 2008 and 2009; and nine counts of perjury, including three for allegedly filing false driver's license applications. Flora Montes de Oca Alarcon, 46, is charged with three counts of perjury for allegedly claiming she lived at a Panorama City home within Alarcon's 7th District on a provisional voting ballot, in registering to vote and on a drivers license application, along with three counts of fraudulent voting involving elections in 2008 and 2009.