California Sets Date For Election To Replace State Senator Convicted Of Fraud, Perjury

California Gov. Jerry Brown has set dates for a special election meant to decide a replacement for former state Sen. Roderick Wright, who resigned from office last week. 

Brown set a primary election date of Dec. 9 which will be followed by a general election on Feb. 10, reports the Daily Breeze.

Wright, a Democrat who represented the state’s 35th District, was convicted of voter fraud and eight counts of perjury in January, for lying about living in the district he sought to represent. 

Earlier this month, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy sentenced Wright to serve 90 days in jail, 1,500 hours of community service, three years probation and ordered him to pay a $2,000 fine. 

“This is not what I call a victimless crime,” Kennedy said, denying Wright’s request for a new trial. 

Wright reportedly owned a modest home within the 35th District but lived in the affluent Baldwin Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles. He told the court he believed that state law requiring lawmakers to own domiciles in their districts allowed them to live somewhere else. 

The jury and the judge didn’t buy the argument that a candidate’s actual residence could be different from the domicile required by law. 

“He created a fiction that was his domicile,” Kennedy said, according to Reuters. “It didn't pass the smell test then and it doesn't now.”

Following the conviction, Senate Democratic leader Darrell Steinberg called on Wright to resign. 

He did so later that same week in a letter written to the Senate secretary. His resignation was effective Sept. 22. 

“It’s painful,” Wright said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. “At the end of the day you want to consider what’s the best thing for the house and that was the best thing for the house.”

Wright has said he plans to appeal the conviction but declined in the interview to talk about his guilt or innocence. 

“It doesn’t matter what I think at this point. You have to move on with your life,” he said.  

Wright is expected to turn himself in Oct. 31 to begin his jail sentence. 

Sources: Daily Breeze, Yahoo News (Reuters), Los Angeles Times

Photo Source: Rich Pedroncelli/AP, Ballotpedia


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