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SOUTH EL MONTE : Ex-Mayor Pardo Enters Plea in Assault Case

October 06, 1994

Former South El Monte Mayor Raul Pardo entered a plea of innocent at his arraignment on two charges of misdemeanor battery after he allegedly assaulted two men outside a public meeting in July, the district attorney's office said.

Pardo, 32, was arraigned last month in connection with attacks on Larry Rodriguez, a photographer for the South El Monte Mirror, and David Santos, an El Monte resident, outside a heated July 6 town hall meeting on whether to allow a card club in the city.

A pre-trial hearing date was set for Oct. 26 on the charges, which could result in six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. He was charged with serious battery in the assault on Rodriguez.

The former mayor, who lost his council seat in last April's election and is now a city planning commissioner and a county health commissioner, has said he acted in self-defense.

Pardo, a strong supporter of the card club, told sheriff's deputies that Rodriguez, whose newspaper opposed the club, allegedly started the fight by directing profanities at him, elbowing him in the side and then punching him in the forehead.

Pardo said he struck back in self-defense and punched Santos in the face for restraining him because it placed him at a disadvantage, according to police reports.

But Deputy James Kozak, who interviewed four witnesses, wrote in his report that the attack was "deliberate and unprovoked."

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