MARTINEZ, Calif. (AP) – Contra Costa County’s district attorney has resigned and pleaded no contest to corruption charges for using re-election campaign funds for personal expenses.
KRON4 has confirmed that Mark Peterson resigned Wednesday and later entered the plea to a felony count of perjury. He was sentenced to 250 hours of community service.
A dozen other counts of grand theft and perjury were dropped.
Peterson had acknowledged spending more than $66,000 in campaign cash over five years on personal items such as movie tickets and clothes.
Peterson said he borrowed the money and intended to repay but he never reported the spending in campaign financial disclosure statements.
Peterson has since repaid the money and has been fined $45,000 by the state Fair Political Practices Commission.
Contra Costa County District Attorney Mark Peterson was charged Wednesday with 13 counts of corruption involving his use of campaign funds for personal expenses.
The California attorney general’s office charged Peterson with a felony count of grand theft and a dozen counts of perjury. He was briefly detained last Friday by agents of the attorney general’s office who seized his cellphone and other items as part of a criminal investigation.
A message left for him through his office was not immediately returned.
Peterson took office in 2010 and won re-election in 2014.
Last month, a grand jury recommended Peterson be removed from his post after he acknowledged secretly spending more than $66,000 of campaign cash on movie tickets, clothes and other personal expenses from 2011-15 while serving as treasurer of his re-election campaign.
Peterson has said he considered the withdrawals of campaign funds to be loans. However, he didn’t report the spending in campaign financial disclosure documents filed with the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission, which has fined him $45,000.
Peterson has repaid the money and has said he was “humbled and embarrassed” by his actions.
Peterson is running for re-election in 2018 against two challengers. However, the union representing prosecutors in the Contra Costa district attorney’s office has voted “no confidence” in Peterson and called for him to resign.
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