Officer's preliminary trail to begin Friday

A Huntington Beach police officer accused of abusing his wife and girlfriend is expected to begin preliminary trial Friday.

James Roberts III was charged with 17 felony counts after an investigation by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and the Orange County district attorney.

Roberts is on administrative leave, Police Chief Ken Small said.

He is collecting a full paycheck of $7,275 a month until the department determines what happened through an in-house investigation.

The investigation is completed, Small said, but the results have not been released.

Roberts is accused of a series of physical abuses against his wife. While still married, he allegedly had a girlfriend, whom he is accused of assaulting.

He pleaded not guilty to eight counts of false imprisonment by violence or deceit, three counts of criminal threats, two counts of domestic battery with corporeal injury, two counts of aggravated assault and one count each of dissuading a witness and vandalism.

The charges hold a maximum sentence of 14 years in state prison. Roberts has been out on $250,000 bail.

Preliminary trial is expected to begin at 8:30 a.m. Friday in Courtroom C-55 at the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana.

— Britney Barnes

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