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Delgadillo's wife pleads no contest

She gets probation and a fine over a 1998 traffic citation that, when she did not appear in court, led to an arrest warrant.

June 21, 2007|Matt Lait | Times Staff Writer

The wife of Los Angeles City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo pleaded no contest Wednesday to a misdemeanor charge of driving without a valid license in connection with a 1998 Santa Monica traffic citation.

Michelle Delgadillo's plea followed a report in The Times on Wednesday that she had a warrant for her arrest in the case.

According to court records, Michelle Delgadillo, 36, failed to appear in court a month after her Aug. 1, 1998, citation. She had been charged with driving on a suspended license, without insurance and in an unregistered vehicle. The judge issued a bench warrant at that time, which had been outstanding since then.

Wednesday, she was arraigned in Los Angeles County Superior Court at the Airport Courthouse and pleaded no contest to driving without a valid license. She was ordered to serve a one-year summary probation and pay $431 in fines and penalties. The other charges were dropped.

In a statement to The Times on Tuesday, Michelle Delgadillo said she was "very embarrassed" by her situation and resolved to correct it immediately.

Santa Monica Deputy City Atty. Betty Haviland said Michelle Delgadillo's plea deal was the same one that most motorists would have received under similar circumstances.

"It's good that she has a license now," she said.

Michelle Delgadillo's driving history came under scrutiny after her husband's comments in the Paris Hilton case.

Rocky Delgadillo had told the judge in that case that the hotel heiress should spend more time in jail for driving with a suspended license and violating her probation on alcohol-related reckless driving charges.

Later that day, Rocky Delgadillo acknowledged in response to inquiries from reporters that his wife had been ticketed for failing to obey a right-turn-only sign while driving her personal car with a suspended license in 2005.

This week, Rocky Delgadillo admitted that his wife also had driven his city-owned vehicle with a suspended license. During one personal errand, Michelle Delgadillo damaged the city vehicle, which was repaired at city expense.

On Monday, Rocky Delgadillo said he wrote a check to reimburse the city for the $1,222 repair, saying that it was "the right thing to do."

Earlier this week, Delgadillo said he was embarrassed to learn that he had been driving his personal car without auto insurance from June 2005 to July 2006. He blamed the problem on his wife who was responsible for matters involving the car and said he has since taken over the task.

Yet, even as he made those statements, his Ford Expedition registration was more than a week delinquent, records show.

On Wednesday, after inquiries from The Times, he paid the California Department of Motor Vehicles to renew his registration.

"As soon as it was brought to his attention today by The Times, the city attorney took care of it," said his spokesman, Nick Velasquez.

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matt.lait@latimes.com

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