Resignation

By Laurel Rosenhall
lrosenhall@sacbee.com
Published: Tuesday, Sep. 16, 2014 – 12:00 am
Last Modified: Tuesday, Sep. 16, 2014 – 7:32 am

Democratic state Sen. Rod Wright, sentenced to jail Friday for being convicted of perjury and voting fraud, resigned from the California Senate on Monday but plans to stay on the payroll for one more week.

Wright sent Senate officials a resignation letter Monday stating that he’s stepping down effective Sept. 22.

“My Senate career is over. My legislative career is over,” Wright said in a phone call with The Sacramento Bee. “I don’t believe now that I did anything wrong. Certainly nothing criminal. But a jury saw differently, and we did not defend ourselves well enough to win that case. So I have to live with that.”

Wright said he plans to return to Sacramento to clean out his office before he begins his 90-day jail sentence on Oct. 31.

California law requires legislative candidates to live in the districts they seek to represent. A Los Angeles judge and jury convicted Wright of eight felonies for claiming a home in Inglewood as his official address while he actually lived in Baldwin Hills, which is outside his district’s boundaries. The judge said he is barred for life from holding public office.

Wright, a frequent gun-rights advocate during his 12 years in the Legislature, is now barred from owning firearms because he is a convicted felon. He said Monday he had sold his guns and is evaluating whether to appeal his conviction.

“I would like to have my rights, such as they are, restored from being a felon. But it’s also very expensive and I’m not sure I can afford to pay for it,” he said.

Even if he appealed and won, Wright would not be able to run for the Legislature again because of term limits.

Two Democrats who had been raising money to run for Wright’s Senate seat in 2016 announced Monday that they will run in a special election to replace him – Assemblymen Isadore Hall of Compton and Steven Bradford of Gardena.

Wright became the third senator to resign in less than two years, though Republican Sens. Michael Rubio of Bakersfield and Bill Emmerson of Hemet left mid-term for higher-paying jobs in the private sector, and were not facing criminal charges.

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