Scheduling conflicts prompted Los Angeles Municipal Judge Xenophon F. Lang Thursday to postpone a preliminary hearing into election fraud charges against Compton City Councilman Floyd A. James and Inglewood political consultant Roderick Wright.
The hearing is now scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Thursday in Division 38, according to Deputy Dist. Atty. Candace J. Beason.
The preliminary session will give lawyers for James and Wright their first opportunity to question key prosecution witnesses. Once the witnesses have been heard, Lang must decide if there is sufficient evidence against James and Wright to require that they be bound over for trial in Superior Court.
James and Wright have pleaded innocent.
Indicted in December
The councilman and his consultant were indicted by the Los Angeles County Grand Jury in December on three election fraud charges stemming from James' successful campaign last spring for a second term. Two charges involve the preparation and mailing of a last-minute campaign letter that falsely claimed that James' opponent had been disqualified.
But the principal charge accuses the two men of trying to buy votes by offering record albums to electors in return for their pledge to support James. The albums featured a speech by the Rev. Jesse Jackson, a national leader who is particularly well-regarded in Compton, where three-fourths of the residents are black.
Both the album offer and the last-minute letter fell between the primary election, in which James finished second, and the general election, which he won by a margin of nearly 2 to 1. If convicted on all charges, the men could receive as much as nine years in state prison.