A California state senator convicted on eight felony counts of perjury and voter fraud was sentenced to 90 days in jail on Friday in one of three ethics scandals involving Democratic lawmakers in the most populous U.S. state.
Senator Roderick Wright of Los Angeles was convicted in January of lying about whether he lived in the district he sought to represent, the first in a string of criminal proceedings against three state senators this year that effectively cost Democrats their two-thirds majority in the California Senate.
"This is not what I call a victimless crime," said Judge Kathleen Kennedy, who denied Wright's request for a new trial in Los Angeles Superior Court.
She said Wright was no longer eligible to hold elective office in California.
Neither Wright nor his attorney spoke to the media after the proceeding.
Wright had contended that a state law requiring lawmakers to keep their domiciles in the district that they represent actually allows candidates to live elsewhere. Both the jury and judge rejected his distinction between a domicile and a residence.
Wright had contended that a house in the modest suburb of Inglewood was his domicile, rather than the house where he lived in the affluent Baldwin Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles.
"He created a fiction that that was his domicile," the judge said. "It didn't pass the smell test then and it doesn't now."
In addition to 90 days in jail, Kennedy also sentenced Wright to 1,500 hours of community service and three years probation, and ordered him to pay a $2,000 fine.
During the hearing, Wright sat mostly with his chin in his hands, looking down at the defense table. He said nothing during the hearing, other than to answer, "Yes," when Kennedy asked if he understood the terms of his probation.
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