State Sen. Roderick D. Wright (D-Inglewood) has won another delay in his trial on voting fraud and perjury charges, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.
Wright cited a scheduling conflict in his request for a delay in the trial, which had been scheduled to begin July 15.
The Legislature is taking a month’s recess starting Friday. However, Wright attorney Winston Kevin McKesson said the lawmakers’ session would resume before the trial could be concluded, thus necessitating the delay.
Max Huntsman, assistant head deputy of the D.A.'s public integrity division, said he expected a three-week trial. That would have made it possible for the proceedings to finish by the time the Legislature reconvenes Aug. 12, but Huntsman said there is always the potential in any trial for things to take longer than anticipated.
L.A. County Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy set a tentative new trial date of Nov. 4, with an Oct. 1 status conference to determine whether that date will hold up.
Wright was indicted by a grand jury in September 2010. He faces eight felony counts of perjury and voting fraud.
The counts stem from an investigation by the D.A.'s office, which accused Wright of lying about where he lived in order to run for his state Senate seat starting in 2007, when he said he had moved into what was then the 25th District (now the 35th because of the state’s 2011 redrawing of political boundaries). Wright said his residence was a room in an apartment complex that he has owned for many years in Inglewood.
Prosecutors allege that Wright actually lived outside the district in a Baldwin Hills house, making him ineligible for the Inglewood-based seat.
Wright has denied all the charges and asserted that he will be found not guilty at trial.
He and his attorneys have requested several delays since the indictment and challenged some of the charges, which were upheld on appeal.
The case has so far had little effect on Wright’s state Senate career. In November, he was reelected to a second four-year term, winning nearly 77% of the vote against a little-known, poorly financed Republican candidate in the strongly Democratic district.
It remains unclear whether Wright could continue to hold office if he were convicted. Prosecutors have said he could face up to eight years and four months in state prison and would be required to step down. Senate rules hold that a sitting member can only be removed by a two-thirds vote of his or her colleagues.