Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Richard Alarcon's preliminary hearing wrapping up with testimony on rotten eggs, soiled furniture

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As the preliminary hearing for Richard Alarcon finally winds down, attorneys for the L.A. City Councilman and his wife are focused on a peculiar question: how can you tell the expiration date of eggs?

The hearing for Richard and Flora Alarcon is expected to end Tuesday morning. Lawyers have been in and out of court since the middle of August. Richard Alarcon was first charged with 18 felonies, including voter fraud and perjury, back in August of 2010 when prosecutors announced that he had lived outside of his city council district. Flora Alarcon was charged with six similar felonies. 

Earlier this year, the charges were dismissed by a judge, then immediately refiled by the District Attorney’s Office. Both Alarcons have pleaded not guilty. Judge  M. L. Villar de Longoria is expected to rule, perhaps immediately, whether the Alarcons should stand trial.

So, what about the eggs? Throughout the preliminary hearing, investigators described the Alarcons’ Panorama City house as dirty and abandoned. (Prosecutors allege that instead of living in Panorama City, the Alarcons actually resided outside the Seventh District, in Sun Valley.) One sign that no one lived at the Panorama City house was the discovery that there were eggs in the refrigerator with an expiration date of March 2004. The eggs were discovered in 2010.

At this afternoon’s hearing, Alarcon’s attorney introduced into evidence an empty box of Trader Joe’s cage-free eggs. He argued that based on the box’s labeling, the eggs would not expire until 2030 … and therefore the eggs found in the Alarcons’ fridge could not have expired in 2004. The judge was not impressed with the argument. 

Earlier in the day, LAPD Det. Donald Goossens testified about the condition of the Alarcon home in October of 2009, when a squatter was discovered living there. Both the kitchen and bathroom were “completely torn apart” and the house was generally dirty, dusty and unkempt, he said. There were dirty clothes in a laundry basket in the master bedroom, and feces overflowing a toilet and bathtub, Goossens testified.

“He stayed there, he set up shop,” Goossens said of the squatter.

The detective said he had handled about 20 cases of squatters during the course of his career. In 19 of those cases, the squatters moved into unoccupied houses. 

All of this comes as Richard Alarcon is running for the state Assembly against Raul Bocanegra, chief of staff to the incumbent in the 39th district, Felipe Fuentes. With just about a month until the election, Alarcon is continuing his fundraising efforts. In two weeks, the campaign will have an equestrian-themed fundraiser, where a $250 donation will get you "Gaucho" status and a $1,000 donation will earn you "Broncobuster" status. The event will feature cameos from Sheree Wilson and Marco Sanchez of “Walker, Texas Ranger.”

If Alarcon is ordered to trial, his Assembly contest might become less of a horse race.


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