Monday, September 26, 2011
Silberman Consultants Draw Fines for Election Conspiracy
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer
Two campaign consultants who pled no contest to charges they conspired with Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Harvey Silberman to pay his 2008 election opponent not to run against him were fined $1,000 each on Friday.
Orange Superior Court Judge Richard M. King, sitting on assignment to the Los Angeles Superior Court, imposed the sentence on Evelyn Jerome Alexander and Randy Steinberg in his Santa Ana courtroom.
Both will have to pay penalty assessments, in an amount that could not be immediately calculated, over and above the fine. But the judge rejected the prosecution’s recommendation that they be placed on probation and required to perform community service.
Silberman, Alexander, and Steinberg were indicted by a grand jury in 2009 on felony charges of bribe solicitation and election bribery. The indictment grew out of allegations of offers to pay Serena Murillo’s filing fee if she would drop out of the race against Silberman, or for Silberman to run for a different seat if Murillo would help him pay for a candidate statement.
King earlier dismissed the solicitation charges, but allowed the election violation counts to stand. The consultants separately entered into plea agreements and testified against their former client, who was acquitted by a Los Angeles Superior Court jury last month after a three-week trial and has now returned to the bench, presiding over a family law courtroom in Pasadena.
Alexander and Steinberg both claimed that Silberman had authorized them to offer a financial inducement to Murillo, but Silberman claimed they acted on their own. His attorneys told the jury that the consultants were pursuing personal agendas in their discussions with Murillo and her consultant, and were trying to pin the blame on Silberman in order to escape being tried on the felony charge themselves.
Steinberg’s attorney, Steven Meister, said the judge reached a reasonable result.
“I’m pleased with the sentence,” he told the MetNews. “I’m glad Randy can end this and move on.”
The judge, he said, recognized that Steinberg was “a good person” who had “suffered significantly.” Steinberg, a member of the Pennsylvania bar, testified at the trial that the case had cost him his career as a political consultant and his friendship with Alexander, and that his ability to practice law is uncertain.
Attorneys for the prosecution, and for Alexander, were not immediately available for comment.
Copyright 2011, Metropolitan News Company