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Rod Wright convicted in voter fraud, perjury case

Sen. Rod Wright, D-Inglewood, at a 2013 conference on online gaming. (Photo: Scott Duncan/Capitol Weekly)

Sen. Rod Wright, the chair of the powerful Governmental Organization Committee and the Legislature’s leading expert on online gaming, was convicted of eight felony counts of perjury and voter fraud in a case spanning nearly seven years.

He was convicted of lying about his true address  — which under California law must be in the district he represents — and lying on registration and candidacy documents.

An attorney for the Inglewood Democrat said his client would appeal the Superior Court jury’s verdict, which came swiftly Tuesday after testimony in the case concluded the day before. The trial began Jan. 8. Sentencing was scheduled March 12 for Wright, who faces up to eight years four months in prison.

Wright, who was indicted by the L.A. County grand jury in 2010, was accused of falsifying his home address as an apartment in Inglewood, which then was within the boundaries of the 25th Senate District, where Wright ran for office in 2008. Actually, he was living in Baldwin Hills, according to prosecutors. Wright improperly voted in five elections, and misrepresented himself in official documents when he registered to vote and filed his candidacy. Wright successfully ran for reelection in 2012.

Wright, 61,  a college-era political activist who began in state politics 18 years ago by winning an Assembly seat, served six years in the Assembly before being termed out. After a stint as a consultant, Wright was elected to the Senate and faced a second term limit in 2016.

Wright wielded unusual authority on gaming issues and has carried the principal legislation targeting online poker for several years. He headed the full G.O. committee — the panel most noted for dealing with legislation targeting alcohol, gambling and horse racing — as well as the G.O. subcommittee dealing specifically with gaming.  G.O. also considers bills related to government operations and, surprisingly, the National Guard.

Sen. Rod Wright, D-Inglewood

Sen. Rod Wright, D-Inglewood

Wright, who was indicted by the L.A. County grand jury in 2010, was accused of falsifying his home address as an apartment in Inglewood, which then was within the boundaries of the 25th Senate District, where Wright ran for office in 2008. Actually, he was living in Baldwin Hills, according to prosecutors. Wright improperly voted in five elections, and misrepresented himself in official documents when he registered to vote and filed his candidacy. Wright successfully ran for reelection in 2012.

Wright said he believed he was following the law regarding his Inglewood residence and did not intend to claim the Baldwin Hills home as his primary residence.

Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg told the Sacramento Bee that no decision had yet been made on taking action against Wright, such as stripping him of his committee assignments — a punishment that had been meted out to Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, who has been targeted by federal agents in a corruption investigation but who has not been convicted of a crime.

Steinberg said he would check with lawyers and colleagues before deciding on the issue.

“Senator Wright is a well-regarded colleague,” Steinberg said, conveying visible sadness as he talked about the verdict.

 


  • Bobby G

    guilty. punishment 90 days in a country club jail. pension and benefits for the rest of his life and we tax paying citizens just watch the dirty democrats ruin this country.
    Yea check his bank accounts, he ain’t poor but hes dirty.

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