A Lake Forest councilman who recently ran for Congress was charged Wednesday with illegally taking down campaign signs for another city councilman, according to county prosecutors.
Last October, Councilman Adam Nick allegedly directed a passenger in his vehicle to remove signs for fellow Councilman Scott Voights near a major street intersection, according to prosecutors.
When a patrolling sheriff's deputy approached Nick's car, about 10 other signs for Voights were seen in the back, prosecutors allege.
Nick is charged with three misdemeanors: petty theft, receiving stolen property and violating a city law against removing campaign signs.
If convicted, he could face up to one year in jail, according to the Orange County District Attorney's Office.
An email to Nick seeking comment wasn't immediately returned.
Ironically, prosecutors say it was Nick himself who argued last year for harsher penalties for removing campaign signs without permission.
He "requested that a violation of this municipal code section be prosecutable as a misdemeanor," say a news release from the DA's office.
In the November election, Nick challenged Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove) for her congressional seat. His wife, Sherry Walker, ran against Tom Daly (D-Anaheim) for his state Assembly seat.
Nick's first court appearance in the criminal case, an arraignment, is scheduled for Monday, March 2, at 8:30 a.m. in Department H-8 of the Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach.