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Former PS mayor Steve Pougnet surrenders passport in Riverside court

Pougnet walks out of courthouse after...

RIVERSIDE, Calif. - Former Palm Springs mayor Steve Pougnet surrendered his passport at the Riverside Hall of Justice on Friday morning as his arraignment hearing was rescheduled for May 19, where all three defendants facing corruption charges over the Scandal at City Hall are expected to be arraigned at the same time.

Pougnet is facing charges along with codefendants Richard Hugh Meaney and John Elroy Wessman, accused of taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes and perpetrating other acts of fraud to push approval of real estate projects brought before the city council.

Check out our Interactive Timeline detailing the Scandal at City Hall

Pougnet arrived to the Riverside Hall of Justice at about 8 a.m. Friday.  This was Pougnet's first court appearance since he turned himself into authorities in February.

There will also be a special report about the Rise and Fall of Steve Pougnet by John White.

Pougnet is facing 19 bribery charges and conflict of interest charges from an estimated $375,000 paid to him from local developers Richard Meaney and John Wessman. The Riverside County District Attorney's Office said the money was paid in exchange for favorable treatment and votes on development projects.

Richard Meaney is the next of the three defendants due in court, where he's expected for arraignment on Friday,  April 28. But that's anticipated to be rescheduled as well because the DA's office said they wanted all three men to appear in court together for an arraignment on May 19th.

Watch: DA Mike Hestrin Interviewed by Karen Devine about more possible charges over the Scandal at City Hall

Pougnet declined to comment on the case as he was leaving the Robert Presley Detention Center. He was released on $25,000 bail.

His attorney, Malcolm Segal, released a short statement following his client's release that said "Mr. Pougnet will plead not guilty at the appropriate point in the process". 

Read: All charges filed by DA's Office

If convicted on all charges, Pougnet faces up to 19 years in state prison.

Read more news headlines from our coverage of the 'Scandal at City Hall'

When he announced the charges in February, Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin said, "It was buying of influence."


 


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