The arraignment of Orange County Assessor Webster Guillory on three felony charges of filing false nomination papers for his November re-election bid was postponed Friday until Sept. 22.
Guillory, 70, appeared in court Friday morning before Judge Elizabeth Guerrero Macias to request an extension of the hearing in which he will be formally charged and enter a plea. If convicted, he could face up to four years and four months in jail.
State law requires candidates to submit 20 signatures from registered voters in support of their nomination, vouched for by the signature of the person who personally collected and witnessed the signatures.
County prosecutors allege Guillory signed the official nomination papers despite having an associate circulate the petitions.
Although prosecutors are focusing on who signed the petition, questions originally were raised about whether the county employees who signed Guillory’s nomination papers did it on county work time and property.
Guillory, who was rumored to be considering retirement after four terms as county assessor, didn’t pick up paperwork for his candidacy until the afternoon of the filing deadline on March 7.
According to former Assessor’s office employees, who filed a complaint to the DA’s Office in May, Guillory had executive managers walk around to workers’ cubicles to gather signatures for his petition, and turned in the paperwork to the Registrar of Voters later that day.
State and federal laws prohibit public officials and employees from using public resources and staff hours to support or oppose ballot measures or candidates.
Guillory’s attorney, John Barnett, said the Assessor would have no comment as he left Friday’s hearing. Guillory told The Orange County Register in May the signatures were gathered outside the Assessor’s Office during employee breaks.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Brock Zimmon of the Special Prosecutions Unit is prosecuting the case.
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