Contra Costa County DA resigns, pleads no contest to perjury

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Contra Costa County District Attorney Mark Peterson resigned today and also pleaded no contest to a single charge of perjury after being charged with using more than $66,000 in campaign funds to pay personal bills.

Peterson was sentenced to three years probation, 250 hours of community service and a $300 fine, according to Bay City News. Prosecutors had hoped for a stiffer penalty, having charged the embattled DA with 13 felony counts of perjury and one felony count of grand theft. 

Peterson’s attorney, Ted Cassman, said his client “made a terrible, terrible, tragic mistake.”

In December 2016, the Fair Political Practices Commission fined Peterson $45,000 for violating the California Political Reform Act by spending $66,372 on personal expenses. In May, a civil grand jury sought to remove Peterson from office due to the offenses.

Peterson, re-elected to office in 2014, admitted to misappropriating the funds and said he considered them to be loans that he was paying back.

He spent the money on meals, clothes and other personal expenses, but failed to report the spending in campaign finance disclosure documents filed with the state.

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