10:00 PM PST on Thursday, January 14, 2010

By IMRAN GHORI
The Press-Enterprise

Grand Terrace Councilman Jim Miller pleaded not guilty Thursday morning to a felony conflict-of-interest charge in San Bernardino County Superior Court.

His attorney, Richard M. Ewaniszyk, entered the plea on Miller’s behalf in the arraignment proceeding, which lasted only a few minutes. Miller will return to court on Feb. 1.

Miller was arrested July 15 on a charge stemming from votes he made as a councilman for payments to the Grand Terrace City News for legal advertisements from Oct. 26, 2006, through Aug. 12, 2008. His wife, Margie Miller, owns the weekly newspaper.

More than a dozen of the councilman’s supporters filled the courtroom to watch the proceedings. He thanked them afterward and urged them to “Keep the faith.”

“They’ve been here all along and we’re grateful for that,” Jim Miller said. “We’re hoping for a quick ending.”

Miller’s votes on the contracts were part of the council’s approval of the consent calendar in which several routine items are approved in a single vote.

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