In one swift move Contra Costa County’s top prosecutor resigned his post after agreeing to plead no contest to a single count of perjury – all part of a plea arrangement struck as the State Attorney General moved to prosecute him for diverting $66,000 in campaign funds to pay for personal expenses.
Hours after State Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed 13 felony charges against him, now former District Attorney Mark Peterson resigned from office, ordered to perform 250 hours of community service and serve three years probation.
Peterson, who must be booked at the county jail where his prosecutors have sent so many, cannot run for public office while under probation and may face disbarment.
His attorney was quoted by the San Francisco Chronicle as likening the state’s case against him and Peterson’s subsequent fall to “Shakespearean tragedy.”
Peterson was in the midst of his second term in office and was seeking a third when state prosecutors revealed last week that they were in the midst of a criminal investigation involving his alleged use of campaign funds for personal gain.
Investigators served a search warrant at Peterson’s office, seizing records, computers phones and analog devices that might have contained evidence showing the prosecutor had committed perjury or grand theft.
Investigators reportedly found Peterson used campaign funds for about 600 personal expenditures totaling $66,372, including the purchase of groceries, to pay jewelry store bills and to purchase movie tickets.
Maybe it was an oversight. Like an accounting error or something…
Ow. New career as a landscaper or something? Can he move out of state and start over?
Hope those movies were worth it.
Forget it Jake – its contra costa county.
Not good. Not good.
I don’t think I would want to be the former da who has to get booked at county jail.
That office sure seems to have its share of problems.
What a mess.
A single perjury charge? He was so good at it. I think he could have gone for the record.
What’s an idiot. I feel bad for his family (although it looks like his kids are all grown). Looks like he skimmed roughly $1000/month from money that people had freely given to help him. I doubt any donors would care what he did with the money (within reason) as long as he won (re)election.
Thousands of executives in the private section in the Bay Area spend way more than $1000/month on stuff paid by their employers that feels a lot like “personal consumption.” And, in those cases, there is a victim: the public shareholders. Here, it is fuzzier. donors put money in Peterson’s left pocket, but he was supposed to only use money from his right pocket for personal consumption. Unclear who the victim was.
I suppose it’s the failure to disclose that is the biggest moral failing. And the hubris/narcissism that he would not get caught. It’s just such a stunning reversal of his prospects. If he can avoid long-term disbarment, I suspect he’ll pop back up soon as a private criminal defense attorney.