State Sen. Roderick Wright indicted

State Sen. Roderick Wright indicted
California state Sen. Roderick D. Wright is seen in this photo taken from his district website.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — State Sen. Roderick Wright on Thursday was indicted on eight felony counts in connection with a probe into whether he lived outside his Southern California district since he was elected two years ago.

An indictment unsealed Thursday charges Wright, 58, with five counts of voter fraud, two counts of perjury and one count of filing a false declaration of candidacy. He pleaded not guilty to the charges in a Los Angeles courtroom.

If convicted of all counts, he faces up to 100 months in prison. Wright posted $45,000 bail and was ordered to return to court Oct. 8.

Prosecutors said they believe Wright has claimed he lives in an Inglewood apartment but has resided in Baldwin Hills in a neighboring district since 2000. The investigation began shortly before Wright was elected to office in November 2008 when prosecutors received a complaint that he was living outside his district.

State lawmakers are required to live in the districts they serve. Those who live outside can be sued and removed from office.

Wright also is accused of fraudulently voting in the 2008 and 2009 elections.

A phone message left at the 25th District Democrat's office was not immediately returned.

Wright represents a region that includes the Palos Verdes Peninsula, the Los Angeles harbor area and suburbs south of Los Angeles. He served three terms in the Assembly and faces re-election in 2012.

His indictment comes as Senate Democrats, who hold a 25-14 majority in the upper chamber, try to win the two additional seats that would give them a two-thirds super-majority. A gain of two more seats in the November election would let Democrats pass a budget and tax increases without Republican votes.

Wright, a gifted orator during Senate debates, has most recently been promoting a controversial bill to legalize intrastate online poker in California.

In August, Los Angeles Councilman Richard Alarcon and his wife were indicted on 24 felony counts stemming from similar allegations against Wright.