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Community Digest

Downey : Mayor's Trial Date Set

January 15, 1987

Downey Mayor James S. Santangelo is scheduled to be tried May 4 on a misdemeanor charge that he had a conflict of interest when he voted to expand the city's redevelopment district in 1984.

Retired Municipal Court Judge Mario Barsotti scheduled the Downey Municipal Court trial during a hearing earlier this week. Barsotti also granted a discovery motion that will give Santangelo's attorney, Leo Newton, access to about 5,000 pages of documents collected by the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

Santangelo is charged with a single conflict-of-interest count. The mayor cast the deciding vote in July, 1984, to expand Downey's 125-acre redevelopment district by adding about 380 acres along Firestone Boulevard.

A Superior Court judge invalidated the new redevelopment area in 1985 after finding that Santangelo, who owned property in the district, had a conflict of interest in violation of state law.

The state Judicial Council assigned Barsotti to the case after Downey Municipal Court Judge Donald L. Wilson and the rest of the Municipal Court judges in the city disqualified themselves from the case because of Santangelo's position in the community.

Barsotti retired three years ago from the Berkeley-Albany Municipal Court in Northern California.

The trial is scheduled in Norwalk Superior Court because of space considerations in Downey, court clerk Elaine Osborne said.

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