Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon and his wife were ordered Tuesday to stand trial on perjury and voter fraud charges stemming from allegations that they lived in Sun Valley, not in a Panorama City home he claimed as his residence.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge M.L. Villar de Longoria found there was sufficient evidence to require Alarcon, 58, to proceed to trial on 17 felony counts, including perjury by declaration, perjury in an application for a false drivers license, falsifying a declaration of candidacy and fraudulent voting.
The judge dismissed one count -- false declaration of candidacy -- against Alarcon.
Flora Montes de Oca Alarcon, 47, was ordered to stand trial on six felony counts -- three counts each of perjury by declaration and three counts of fraudulent voting in elections in 2007, 2008 and 2009.
The two were ordered to return to the downtown courthouse for arraignment Oct. 18.
The judge said she believed that there was "more than substantial evidence" that the prosecution had met its burden in the preliminary hearing for the Alarcons, except for the one charge she dismissed against the councilman.
Alarcon said he expected to prevail at trial.
"We believe we have a very strong case going into trial," he told reporters outside court, while noting that the judge's decision "was not unexpected."
Attorneys for the couple said they planned to file a motion asking another judge to dismiss the charges based on the evidence presented at the preliminary hearing.
Flora Alarcon's attorney, Mark Overland, said, "There won't be a trial date set because that motion will be granted."
"This isn't the end of the fight," Alarcon's attorney, Richard Lasting, said after the judge's ruling. "It just goes on from here."
Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Lentz Snyder countered, "I'm very confident that the law is on our side."
Prosecutors allege that Alarcon and his wife lied about where they were living so he could represent the 7th District. They contend he lived in Sun Valley, not Panorama City as he claimed.
Alarcon has long contested the charges, insisting that he began living at the Panorama City home in November 2006.
Shortly after a search warrant was served at the home on Nordhoff, Alarcon told reporters that an intruder had caused significant damage to the Panorama City home during the October 2009 break-in and that he had returned to the house several times to try to repair the damage. He said then that he and his wife were temporarily staying at another house in the 2nd District.
In July 2010, just before the grand jury indicted Alarcon and his wife, he said: "Because my wife owns two homes and we have stayed in both of them during the last four years, I can understand the confusion, but my permanent home has always been on Nordhoff Street, regardless of where I may stay."
The Alarcons were initially indicted by a Los Angeles County grand jury on the same charges they are currently facing, but Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy dismissed that case against the couple May 3.