Councilman Fails to Get Fraud Charges Reduced

From Times Staff Reports

A judge Friday denied Costa Mesa Councilman Chris Steel's request to have felony charges of campaign fraud reduced to misdemeanors.

Steel is accused of submitting campaign nomination papers with forged signatures before the 1998 and 2000 elections. Steel has pleaded not guilty.

Steel's attorney, Ron Cordova, asked for the reduction or dismissal of some of the charges, arguing that the signatures are not illegal. Cordova also said at a preliminary hearing that Steel does not deserve the same treatment as people charged with more serious crimes.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Edward Laird denied the request and set a July 10 trial date.

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