LOS ANGELES – Arraignment was postponed Friday until Dec. 15 for City Councilman Curren Price, who faces criminal charges of theft by embezzlement, perjury and conflict of interest for allegedly voting on projects involving developers tied to his wife’s consulting firm, then failing to report the connections.
The arraignment will be held in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom in connection with the felony complaint filed June 13 charging him with five counts of grand theft by embezzlement, three counts of perjury and two counts of conflict of interest.
Superior Court Judge Kimberley Baker Guillemet allowed the 72-year-old councilman to remain free on his own recognizance at Price’s first court appearance on the case in July. His arraignment was postponed again on Aug. 28.
The criminal complaint alleges that Price effectively embezzled money between 2013 and 2017 by having the city cover roughly $33,800 in medical premiums for Del Richardson, to whom he claimed to be married, although he was still married at the time to Lynn Suzette Price.
Price — who has maintained his innocence — has represented the Ninth District, which includes most of South Los Angeles and Exposition Park, since 2013. He previously served in the state Assembly and state Senate.
After his initial court appearance in July, Price issued a statement saying, “We are looking forward to engaging with the DA in the coming weeks and we are grateful that the court has given us time to do so. I want to thank my constituents and the entire city of Los Angeles for the outpouring of support I have received and I look forward to continuing to do the people’s business.”
Price’s statement went on to say, “As we said when the charges were brought, we believe that the charges filed by the DA’s office are completely unwarranted and that the facts will bear this out. I have always conducted myself, in and out of the public eye, with integrity and professionalism.”
Price sent a letter that afternoon to Council President Paul Krekorian announcing his decision to step down as council president pro tem, and surrendering all of his committee assignments.
“While I navigate through the judicial system to defend my name against unwarranted charges filed against me, the last thing I want to do is be a distraction to the people’s business,” Price wrote in the letter.
Price returned Aug. 8 to City Hall for the first time since he had been charged, entering the council’s chambers with a business-as-usual approach and with little to no disruption from those in attendance.
During the public comment period that day, a few members of the public openly criticized Price’s return, mostly saying he should not be voting at all.
If convicted, Price could face a sentence ranging from probation to roughly eight to 10 years behind bars, Deputy District Attorney Casey Higgins said outside court following the brief hearing in July.