The Indio Police Department is recommending several charges against Riverside County District Attorney Paul Zellerbach. Their investigation was given to the California Attorney General's Office Tuesday, a spokesman for the AG's office has confirmed.
In a news release from the Indio Police Department it states they have requested various charges:
· Petty Theft (488 California Penal Code)
· Vandalism Under $400 (594(2)(a) California Penal Code)
· Trespassing to Place Unauthorized Signs (602(f) California Penal Code)
· Trespassing with Intent to Cause Damage (602(k) California Penal Code)
· Embezzlement (504 California Penal Code)
· Theft of Public Funds (424(a)(1) California Penal Code)
The Indio police department was unable to give specific details into each charge, only that the first four listed are misdemeanors while the last two are felonies. If convicted, Zellerbach would be unable to run for or hold public office under state law.
On April 23, 2014 at approximately 12:15 pm, the Indio Police Department received a report of a vandalism involving Paul Edwin Zellerbach. The crime was reported to have occurred at the intersection of Jefferson Street and Indio Boulevard in the City of Indio.
An investigation was initiated by Indio Police detectives, who conducted interviews and analyzed evidence in the case. Based on their findings, a report was written and submitted to the California Attorney General's Office in Los Angeles requesting that charges be filed against Mr. Zellerbach.
State Attorney General's Office Press Secretary Nick Pacilio confirmed with KESQ and CBS Local 2 just before 5:00 p.m. that the received the information and said the only statement they can release is that the case is under review.
The recommended charges are the latest twist in a contentious race for Riverside county district attorney between Zellerbach and challenger Mike Hestrin. Hestrin released this statement after the charges were released: "It's a dark day for the county, especially for our law enforcement. This underscores the crisis in leadership in the district attorney's office."
Zellerbach said the owner of the land gave him permission to take down the campaign signs. Several law enforcement groups including the Riverside Sheriff's Association called for Zellerbach's resignation following the incident. The person who took the initial cell phone video is a member of the RSA. While his campaign waits for the Attorney General's decision, Zellerbach continues to question the political motives of those involved. He released this statement Tuesday night; "While the timing of the announcement raises a lot of questions, we understood all along that this issue would be submitted to the Attorney General's office, and I have the utmost faith that they will conclude that no crime was committed,"