The felony perjury trial of Chula Vista Councilman Steve Castaneda will go forward as scheduled April 7, placing in limbo his candidacy for reelection. Castaneda’s attorney, Marc Carlos, filed a motion to dismiss the charges on the grounds that the alleged perjury is not connected to any crime. This week, Superior Court Judge Michael Wellington denied the motion, allowing the trial to go forward. “My client has rejected plea offers and he’s going to assert his constitutional right to go to trial,” Carlos said.
If convicted of a felony, Castaneda would be ineligible to serve on the council. His three challengers in the June 3 election are Patricia Aguilar, president of the civic group Crossroads II; Pat Moriarty, a medical supervisor; and Scott Vinson, chief executive of Coldwell Banker Royal Realty. The District Attorney’s Office indicted Castaneda last year on perjury charges after a grand jury investigation into his residency in the Sunbow Villas complex in Chula Vista. The complex was being converted to condominiums. Prosecutor Patrick O’Toole contends that Castaneda lied several times in sworn testimony when he said he didn’t intend to purchase a condo, even though Castaneda ultimately didn’t buy one.