Pretrial Hearing for Former County Assessor Rescheduled for June

UPDATED 4/27 12:45 pm

The pretrial hearing for former county Assessor Webster Guillory has been continued to June 4th.

Guillory faces two misdemeanor charges of filing false election papers, after a judge reduced the charges from felonies last month.

ORIGINAL POST 4/23 8:25 pm

Former county Assessor Webster Guillory is back in court Monday for a pretrial hearing on two misdemeanor charges of filing false election nomination papers, after a judge reduced the charges from felonies at a hearing last month.

Monday’s hearing will decide whether there is sufficient evidence against Guillory to move forward to a jury trial.

Guillory, who served as assessor from 1998 until 2014, was arrested and charged in September with three felonies based on allegations that he signed, under oath, nomination papers for his candidacy that were in fact circulated by another person.

Prosecutors with the district attorney’s office have argued that Guillory’s actions were not just an eleventh hour rush to gather signatures, but an act of deliberate fraud by a long-serving elected official familiar with the requirements of running for office.

“The only protection against election fraud is someone’s word — this is it,” argued Senior District Attorney Brock Zimmon at a March hearing.

That argument proved unconvincing to Orange County Superior Court Judge Gassia Apkarian, who questioned whether Guillory’s action warranted felony charges.

Apkarian reduced two of the charges to misdemeanors, while Zimmon withdrew the third.

Guillory’s attorney John D. Barnett called the DA’s argument overly technical and “ridiculous” in the face of his client’s “unimpeachable” reputation in public service.

The pretrial hearing is set for Monday at 8:30 am in courtroom C47 at the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana.

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