LOS ANGELES (CN) — Compton mayoral candidate Omar Bradley on Wednesday asked a judge to postpone a retrial on charges he misappropriated public funds during his previous time in the mayor’s office should he prevail in next week’s primary election or advance to this summer's general election.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge George Lomeli told Bradley he is inclined to move his case to another court because of a backlog of cases in his courtroom on the 9th floor of the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center.
Bradley, dressed in a brown suit, said at the morning hearing that because of Lomeli’s familiarity with the case he would prefer to stay in his courtroom in downtown L.A. He asked the judge to delay trial until after the April 18 primary municipal election, when he will know whether he has at least made a runoff for a June 6 general election.
“I do think you are very fair. I want to stay in your courtroom because it's important to me,” Bradley said as he stood next to his criminal defense attorney Robert Hill. “I may lose Tuesday, and this may all be a moot point.”
Bradley, who turns 59 in May, said his latest run for mayor would likely be his last. He called campaigning “very taxing.”
Bradley held the office from 1993 to 2001 as a self-described “gangster mayor” and ran unsuccessfully in 2013. His last run for office came as his case was remanded to Superior Court, allowing prosecutors to retry him.
He has maintained his innocence and said he believes county prosecutors are treating him unfairly to prevent him from holding public office. He has been charged with two felony counts of theft of public funds, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Greg Risling.
Lomeli spoke to Hill and Deputy District Attorney Ana Lopez off the record before proceedings began. During the brief hearing, Lomeli’s voice boomed around the courtroom as he spoke into a bright red microphone. He told Bradley he will decide at a later date whether to accommodate his two requests.
The parties should return to court for another pretrial hearing on May 3 and he would address whether the trial should be scheduled before or after the general election, and in his court or another one.
Lopez declined to comment after the hearing. Hill said he could not comment until after next week’s election.
Bradley was convicted of misappropriation and misuse of public funds in 2004. Councilman Amen Rahh and former City Manager John Johnson were also convicted for charging personal items on government-issued credit cards. Bradley charged $7,500 for golf balls, cigars and on-demand movies in hotels, according to a June 2013 Los Angeles Times article, and took cash advances for city business expenses which they charged to the cards.
In 2012, a California appeals court overturned Bradley's conviction because of a state supreme court finding that prosecutors have to make clear that defendants know they are breaking the law in charges that involve the misappropriation of public funds.
Bradley told the Press-Telegram this year that he served three years of his sentence in prison and a halfway house.
He is running against five other candidates, including Mayor Aja Brown, Lynn Rodgers Boone, Bryan Parker, James Hays and Ernest “Scooby” Green.
Polls will close at 8 p.m. in next week’s Tuesday primary. There were 43,643 registered voters in the City of Compton as of this November, according to the City Clerk's Office.
If one candidate does not receive more than 50 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s primary then the top two candidates will compete in a June 6 general election, City Clerk Alita Godwin said in an email.
In late March, the FBI arrested former deputy city treasurer Salvador Galvan, 47, of La Mirada on charges that he stole more than $3.7 million in city funds from May 2010 to December 2016.
An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the maximum sentence Bradley could serve as 5 years and 4 months in prison and a lifetime ban from holding public office. Bradley has already served the majority of the three-year sentence originally imposed, and his defense attorney said Bradley will at most only serve a “tiny bit of time” if convicted after a retrial.
He will, however, still face a lifetime ban from holding office if convicted.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office did not respond to a request for clarification on Bradley’s maximum exposure. Courthouse News regrets the error.
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