SAN DIEGO — Nancy Hoover and Tom Shepard pleaded guilty to conspiracy Friday, admitting in a plea bargain that they plotted to illegally finance the 1983 election campaign of former Mayor Roger Hedgecock.
The two told Municipal Court Judge Robert Stahl that they wanted to plead guilty, even though their sworn statements could be used against them in a pending civil case and a federal grand jury investigation.
The plea bargain, however, keeps the two out of jail.
A Difficult Choice
"I was forced to choose between accepting the D.A.'s version of what happened and pleading guilty or going through a lot of suffering," Shepard said. "It was a very tough choice to make, but obviously I've accepted to agree with the D.A.'s version of events."
Hoover and Shepard will be sentenced May 16. Under the plea bargain, each will receive three years probation. Hoover would be ordered to pay a $10,000 fine and perform 350 hours of community service in the next year and Shepard would be fined $1,000 and ordered to perform 250 hours of community service.
Deputy Dist. Atty. Charles Wickersham said he felt good about the plea bargain. "I think it would be unfair to hold out for more with regard to these defendants than we expected from Roger Hedgecock," he said.
Hedgecock, who turned down a plea bargain, was convicted in October of conspiracy and 12 counts perjury. He resigned from office Dec. 10 before being sentenced to a year in county custody, three years' probation and fined $1,000. He is free on appeal.
The fourth person charged in the conspiracy, convicted swindler J. David Dominelli, pleaded guilty in February to conspiracy. He received a two-year prison sentence that is running concurrently with a 20-year federal prison term for bankruptcy fraud and tax evasion.
In her sworn statement, Hoover admitted working for Hedgecock's election long before any official announcement of his candidacy was made. She said she agreed with Dominelli to provide money for Hedgecock's campaign as needed and to pay the bills of Shepard's political consulting firm.
Shepard's sworn statement spelled out the help he received from Hoover.
"In approximately December of 1982, I hired several employees to work primarily on the Hedgecock campaign," Shepard said. "These employees could not have been hired but for the money supplied through Nancy Hoover."