Former state Sen. Wright's jail term ends quickly

Former state Sen. Rod Wright begins jail term, sort of

Former Democratic state Sen. Roderick D. Wright showed up late Friday to begin serving a 90-day jail sentence but was released almost immediately due to jail crowding, a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman said.

A jury convicted Wright earlier this year on eight felony counts, including perjury and voting fraud, in a case that centered on whether he had lied about living in the district he sought to represent.

Jurors agreed with prosecutors, who said that Wright had contrived to make it appear that he lived in a rental complex he owns in Inglewood so he could qualify to run for a state Senate seat in 2008. They found his true address to be a Baldwin Hills house outside the district.

Wright, 62, has maintained his innocence, saying he believed he was following the law and had not intended to deceive voters.

But Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy on Sept. 12 denied his bid for a new trial. She sentenced him to 90 days in county jail and three years’ probation and ordered him to perform 1,500 hours of community service.

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Nicole Nishida said Wright came to the inmate reception center about 9:40 p.m. Friday to begin serving his time, but was released soon after the paperwork was completed.

Shortly after his sentencing, Wright, who is barred from holding future public office, resigned his seat rather than face possible expulsion by his Senate colleagues.

Four Democrats and one Republican filed papers to run in a Dec. 9 special election to replace Wright in the heavily Democratic 35th state Senate District. If no one wins a majority then, the top two vote-getters will compete in a Feb. 10 runoff.

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