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Supervisor Perez pleads not guilty to conflict of interest charge

FILE - Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez speaks at a county board meeting April 10, 2018. (KBAK/KBFX photo)

Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez entered a not guilty plea Wednesday to criminal charges.

Perez is facing a pair of misdemeanor charges after she cast a vote on marijuana regulation while allegedly having a financial stake in the cannabis industry.

As the case unfolds, Perez is allowed to stay on the board. Even if Perez is found guilty, there is nothing in the law that states she must step down.

That means it is possible to have a sitting board member behind bars.

With one of the counts there is the potential for an additional punishment. The judge could ban Perez from running for elected office for four years.

Her defense attorney, H.A. Sala, is calling the charges against Perez "bogus."

He said Perez will not seek a plea deal, and they are ready to fight back against the charges in trial.

Sala said they are looking for a dismissal of acquittal.

Current constituents, such as Sheri Plott, said this entire scandal is breaking the public's trust. Plott said she will be watching this case closely.

"I don't like it," she said. "It's upsetting, because I voted for her, and I trusted her. But, then again, I want to have all of the information and kind of have to wait to see what evidence does come up."

"Any scandal with any public figure is going to be devastating to the trust, whether it's true or false," she added.

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