LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) — A jury has found a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge not guilty of offering to pay an opponent to drop out of a 2008 race for a judicial seat.

The Los Angeles Superior Court jury deliberated just under a day before returning its verdict of not guilty on the one charge against Judge Harvey Silberman. He had faced three years in prison if convicted, according to the Los Angeles Times.

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In 2008, Silberman ran for a judicial seat against Deputy District
Attorney Serena Murillo.

The judge was indicted along with two campaign consultants in 2009.

He was accused of violating a state elections code provision that bars the solicitation of “money or other valuable consideration” to induce a person not to become a candidate for public office or to withdraw from a race.

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Murillo stayed in the race but lost to Silberman by approximately five percentage points.

One of Silberman’s attorneys, Daniel V. Nixon, told reporters outside court that the case came down to whether he had made an offer to his opponent through an intermediary to pay her filing fee if she ran for a different
office.

Defense attorneys argued that any offer was proposed by political consultants without the judge’s knowledge. The consultants, Evelyn Alexander and Randy Steinberg, have pleaded no contest to misdemeanor conspiracy.

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