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Former San Fernando Councilman Mario Hernandez wants charges dropped against ex-lover

July 16, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Former San Fernando City Councilman Mario Hernandez has denounced the charges against Councilwoman Maribel De La Torre.

The pair's public affair ended badly, with both sides filing restraining orders against each other. De La Torre was charged with battery and vandalism stemming from an apparent lovers' quarrel with Hernandez. She allegedly destroyed a laptop computer and a picture frame during a June 28 fight.

Hernandez on Sunday announced that he wants those charges dropped.

"In good conscience, I cannot and will not pursue any action against Councilwoman De La Torre, as I feel the investigation was compromised," said Hernandez, adding that investigators persuaded him to file charges against De La Torre, even when he didn't want to.

Hernandez said investigators were not impartial and posted comments about him on Facebook.

De La Torre is apparently happy with Hernandez's gesture. Her lawyer, Robert Steinberg, issued a statement saying, "My client is very pleased that Mr. Hernandez did the right thing."

De La Torre and her lawyer both declined interviews pending litigation, but Steinberg said he plans to write a letter to the district attorney asking that her restraining order against Hernandez be dropped. He calls it a "lovers' quarrel," and said they both still care for each other.

The decision to pursue charges ultimately rests with the District Attorney's Office. According to the D.A., charges cannot be dropped after they have been filed. The only possibility is a dismissal of the case by the court.

De La Torre is scheduled to be arraigned next month.

The affair was made public in November, when Hernandez, who was acting as mayor, admitted at a City Council meeting that he and De La Torre were romantically involved.

Hernandez resigned from his City Council position last week. Community members want De La Torre and Mayor Brenda Esqueda, who was allegedly involved in an affair with a police sergeant, to do the same. At Monday night's City Council meeting, residents did claim one victory. De la torre and Esqueda will now be part of a recall election in November.

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