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Price arraignment postponed; councilman faces five counts


Next date is Dec. 15

Arraignment has been postponed until Dec. 15 for City Councilman Curren Price, who faces criminal charges of theft by embezzlement, perjury and conflict of interest for allegedly voting on projects involving developers tied to his wife's consulting firm, then failing to report the connections.

The arraignment will be held in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom in connection with the felony complaint filed June 13 charging him with five counts of grand theft by embezzlement, three counts of perjury and two counts of conflict of interest.

“Today’s demurrer (a legal objection to an invalid point) demonstrates the many ways in which the charges against Councilmember Price are legally deficient,” said Michael V. Schafler, a member of the Price legal team. “First, there is no allegation that Councilmember Price acted willfully or knowingly with respect to the conflict of interest or financial disclosure charges, which are necessary elements. Second, the embezzlement charges fail to state a cognizable offense, and are time-barred if brought under any pertinent statute.”

Superior Court Judge Kimberley Baker Guillemet allowed the 72-year-old councilman to remain free on his own recognizance at Price's first court appearance on the case in July. His arraignment was postponed again on Aug. 28.

The criminal complaint alleges that Price effectively embezzled money between 2013 and 2017 by having the city cover roughly $33,800 in medical premiums for Del Richardson, to whom he claimed to be married, although he was still married at the time to Lynn Suzette Price.

Price–who has maintained his innocence–has represented the Ninth District, which includes most of South Los Angeles and Exposition Park, since 2013. He previously served in the state Assembly and state Senate.

After his initial court appearance in July, Price issued a statement saying, “We are looking forward to engaging with the DA in the coming weeks and we are grateful that the court has given us time to do so. I want to thank my constituents and the entire city of Los Angeles for the outpouring of support I have received and I look forward to continuing to do the people's business.”

Price's statement went on to say, “As we said when the charges were brought, we believe that the charges filed by the DA's office are completely unwarranted and that the facts will bear this out. I have always conducted myself, in and out of the public eye, with integrity and professionalism.”