LOS ANGELES (CBS) — L.A. City Councilman Richard Alarcon and his wife, Flora, pleaded not guilty Friday morning in Los Angeles Superior Court to new perjury charges from the district attorney’s office.
A judge on Thursday dismissed perjury and voter fraud charges against the Alarcons — a move that District Attorney Steve Cooley called “inexplicable” — and the same charges were refiled.
The 58-year-old Alarcon is charged with perjury and voter fraud for allegedly living outside the district he was seeking to represent and lying about his address.
KNX 1070’s Jon Baird reports the lawyer representing Mrs. Alarcon said prosecutors failed to provide evidence to the grand jury that would have been favorable to the defendants and that the case won’t hold up in court.
“It has fleas,” said attorney Mark Overland. “It’s a dog.”
Alarcon is accused of claiming to have had his principal residence in Panorama City when in fact it was in Sun Valley.
His wife faces charges in the case for allegedly lying.
“My wife and I have maintained our innocence throughout this process and have always believed that when all of the evidence is considered, that we will be found innocent,” the councilman said Friday. “We were pleased that yesterday, Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy ruled to dismiss all of the charges against us, and we remain confident that once the exonerating evidence we provided is considered, that we will be acquitted of these charges.”
Kennedy said during a hearing last month she was concerned that prosecutors had not properly considered evidence that favored the Alarcons’ position when presenting the case to the grand jury.
Cooley disputed the judge’s legal reasoning.
“The grand jury transcripts clearly show that our prosecutors did indeed present evidence submitted by the councilman and his wife,” Cooley said. “The grand jury chose not to consider it, as is their right.”
The Alarcons have been released on their own recognizance and will be back in court June 8 for a preliminary hearing.
(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)