FRESNO Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – A trial date has been set in the case of Fresno City Council President Nelson Esparza’s alleged attempted extortion charges.

But during Tuesday’s hearing, the presiding Judge Brian Alvarez now ruled the case a misdemeanor instead of a felony.

Former Fresno City Attorney Doug Sloan returned to Fresno to take the witness stand once again. He answered questions from both the prosecution and the defense as well as reinstating the experience he had in a conversation with Esparza in late May where he alleges Esparza threatened him with his job.

“Council President Esparza said to me: ‘I’m just going to cut to the chase. I stand between you and you losing your job. From now on you will work for only the council majority’,” described Sloan.

Sloan also alleged in court that this conversation with Esparza ultimately pushed him to look for a job in the city of Santa Monica on June 6. Fresno City Councilmember Miguel Arias also took the stand as a witness.

Esparza’s defense attorney and team decided to reject a settlement conference – to instead take the case to trial with a date set for early December.