Contra Costa DA Resigns Amidst Felony Charges

Former Contra Costa District Attorney Mark Peterson

MARTINEZ, Calif. – The district attorney for one of California’s largest counties announced his resignation Wednesday after a criminal complaint slapped him with 12 perjury-related charges and another for grand theft.

The charges against Contra Costa District Attorney Mark Peterson stem from allegations he stole approximately $66,000 from his political campaign treasure chest.

According to the indictment filed by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, Peterson illegally used money donated to his political campaign to make cash withdrawals and to buy an assortment of personal items including movie tickets, clothes and meals.

The charges were filed in Contra Costa County Superior Court.

In a separate proceeding, a civil grand jury indicted Peterson in May, finding the district attorney’s illegal misuse of campaign funds warranted his removal from office.

Peterson, who did not return requests for comment as of press time, before now resisted calls to step down in the midst of strictly civil proceedings.

Peterson admitted using money from his 2014 reelection campaign for personal expenditures during a routine audit of his campaign conducted by the Fair Political Practices Commission, according to the indictment.

The state’s Fair Political Practices Commission fined Peterson $45,000 in January.

At the time, Peterson expressed regret and said he thought the money was essentially a loan that he intended to pay back.

The district attorney was apparently less forthcoming with law enforcement investigators as the 12 perjury charges all relate to allegations that he lied about the misappropriation of funds while under oath.

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