The case against assemblyman Dr. Joaquin Arambula played out in court Wednesday.
In his place, his lawyers appeared in front of the judge and entered a not guilty plea to his child cruelty charge.
Arambula’s lawyers say he expects to be vindicated and have his case heard in the court of law, rather the court of public opinion.
The lawmaker is acussed of influcting child cruelty on his seven-year-old daughter, saying it was only a spank on the bottom, something he doesn’t do often. However, law enforcement and the district attorney’s office says it was more than a spanking, rather the injury was elsewhere than the rear.
“Will you be entering a plea today?” the judge asked his lawyers. Their reply: “A plea of not guilty.”
Outside of court, one of his lawyers, Michael Aed, says they were shocked that charges were filed. “As Friday of last week, we were advised that the matter was still under review.”
In a statement provided by Arambula’s attorneys on Tuesday, he says he believes the filling is politically motivated.
And his lawyers agree, saying the degree of involvement by top law enforcement officials should raise eyebrows.
“When you have top law enforcement officials making comments to the media about matters that are not public knowledge, when you have the number two person in the (district attorney’s) office coming into court to try the case then you make your own judgment,” says Arambula’s co-counsel, Margarita Martinez-Baly.
Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer is firing back saying that they would face the same criticism had his officers not made an arrest.
“Our officers would have been accused of playing politics by giving favoritism to Mr. Arambula, our officers were simply doing their job, they were called to the school to investigate a crime of child abuse, the evidence was present and they made an arrest,” Dyer explains.
Aramblua’s lawyers are requesting a speedy trial, keeping his political career in mind as he will need to file for re-election this year.
“This is about a human being, a father of three children who has a reputation. He believes that he’s been mis-characterized by the public statements by law enforcement in this case,” Aed says.
Arambula’s next court date is on April 2, and the trial is scheduled for April 23.