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Compton : 2 Delays in James Saga

November 20, 1986

Two proceedings that have raised questions about the conduct of City Councilman Floyd A. James have been postponed until early December.

A Superior Court hearing in a felony election fraud case against the two-term councilman was rescheduled for Dec. 4 at the request of the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

James is accused of illegally issuing two mailers during his 1985 reelection campaign and of attempting to buy votes by offering record albums to electors in return for their pledge of support. A co-defendant last month pleaded no contest to a reduced charge and is scheduled to be sentenced in January.

A similar plea agreement was apparently offered to James but suddenly withdrawn by prosecutors when the City Council launched proceedings against Francesca Houpe, a key prosecution witness in the case.

Based on a tip delivered by James, police reported finding three marijuana plants in Houpe's backyard. Prosecutors declined to file charges because a witness against Houpe declined to take a lie detector test. But the council began a series of hearings to declare Houpe's house a public nuisance. The next session in that case has been postponed until Dec. 2 at the request of Houpe's attorney.

Meanwhile, James continues to be under investigation by sheriff's deputies who questioned and released him last week after finding a stolen IBM personal computer in his house. James told detectives that he had bought the computer from "an undisclosed individual" and was unaware that it had been stolen, a sheriff's spokesman said.

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