Capitol Alert

Sen. Rod Wright’s sentencing hearing gets delayed, again

A Los Angeles judge on Wednesday granted a fourth delay in the sentencing hearing for suspended state Sen. Rod Wright, who was found guilty in January of eight felonies for lying about where he lived when he ran for office in 2008.

The sentencing hearing scheduled for today was delayed until Sept. 12, Judge Kathleen Kennedy ruled. Wright’s lawyers, who have asked the court to toss the jury’s guilty verdicts and grant a new trial, sought the delay to allow more time to review the prosecution’s arguments against their motion for a new trial.

“Judge said today’s request (for a delay) is the last she will grant,” Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office wrote in an email to The Bee.

In a brief phone interview, Wright said both sides have asked for delays since the jury’s verdict in January.

“I’m gearing up to go back next week and face what we’ve got to deal with,” Wright said.

State law requires legislative candidates to live in the districts they seek to represent. Prosecutors accuse Wright of lying about where he lived – arguing that he lived in Baldwin Hills when he filed paperwork to run for office that stated his legal address was a home in Inglewood. A jury found him guilty of perjury and voting fraud, and prosecutors asked the judge to send Wright to jail for six months. The Senate suspended him from all duties as a lawmaker in March but maintained his pay pending a final outcome of the trial.

Wright argues that he met all legal requirements to run for office representing the Inglewood area and was permitted to use as his official address the Inglewood home he has owned since the 1970s. The Democratic lawmaker’s attorneys have asked for a new trial, arguing that the prosecution wrongly instructed the jury to consider where Wright “lives” in the colloquial sense, not where he has his “domicile,” a legal term of art that lies at the center of the case.

Editor’s note: This post was updated at 4:40 p.m. to include Wright’s response.

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