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The San Diego UnionTribune: City councilman pleads not guilty to 15 charges Felony perjury is among allegations

Chula Vista Councilman-2CHULA VISTA – City Councilman Steve Castaneda, who once called himself the victim of a “political witch hunt” led by District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, yesterday pleaded not guilty to felony perjury and other criminal charges. A county grand jury indicted Castaneda last week on 12 felony perjury counts, one felony count of preparing false documentary evidence, and two misdemeanor counts of failing to report his income on staterequired economic disclosure forms. Prosecutor Patrick O’Toole, who heads the District Attorney’s Public Integrity Unit,
sought the indictment. It was sealed until Castaneda’s arraignment yesterday in San Diego Superior Court. O’Toole said outside the courtroom that the felony charges relate to “numerous, separate lies” Castaneda allegedly told the grand jury during sworn testimony June 28, 2006; Oct. 18, 2006; and Nov. 3, 2006.“When you come into the grand jury and raise your hand and swear to tell the truth, you have to tell the
truth,” O’Toole said. The two misdemeanor counts concern Castaneda’s failure to report income from a 2005
land sale on his financial disclosure forms, which are required by the state Political Reform Act. purchased a vacant lot at 40 L St. in Chula Vista with resident Henry Barros, and they sold the land five months later. Castaneda didn’t report the $30,000 he received from the sale until after “he was caught by the media,” O’Toole said, adding that “transparency and full disclosure” are vital to the democratic process. If Castaneda were convicted on all counts and received the maximum possible penalty,
he would spend 52 years in prison. However, O’Toole said a sentence in this case would “realistically” be much lighter. Castaneda, 47, left without speaking to the media. His attorney, Marc Carlos, said, “Mr. Castaneda asserts his innocence and he will fight this case.” Castaneda has been vocal about O’Toole’s investigations, which he called a tactic to pressure him to resign. He contended that Dumanis conspired with Chula Vista Mayor Cheryl Cox, his rival in the 2006 mayoral primary. O’Toole emphasized that his office is nonpartisan an said, “Nothing was done to hurt him politically.” O’Toole said his investigations began after Castaneda’s
unsuccessful run for mayor in June 2006.

p-Chula Vista City Councilman victim of _political witch hunt_

About Marc X. Carlos

Marc Carlos is a partner and co-founder of Bardsley and Carlos LLP. Mr. Carlos has been practicing criminal law since 1987. He has been a member of both the Los Angeles and the San Diego County Public Defender's office where he was a senior trial deputy focusing primarily on serious felony trials. Mr. Carlos has tried over 140 jury trials and represented thousands of clients in criminal matters. He has tried a variety of complex criminal matters ranging from fraud to murder, including death penalty cases.

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