D.A. Determined to Prosecute Former Mayor, Wong

Cathé Wilson makes a court appearance, previously absent due to stress-related illness

Written by MATTHEW WONG / Published March 18, 2010 (ONLINE ONLY)

Deputy district attorney Max Huntsman plans to prosecute a former Temple City mayor, regardless of her health conditions, he said on Tuesday.

Former Temple City Mayor Cathé Wilson, along with Councilwoman Judy Wong, appeared in a Los Angeles Superior Courtroom on November 17, 2009.

Last month, Wilson did not make an appearance due to her ailing health. Wilson, in her mid 70s, is a long time former city official. She last served on the City Council in March 2009.

Now, both Wilson and Wong are facing a criminal trial regarding allegations of solicitation of bribery.

The women are accused of asking for bribes in exchange for pledging their support for the Piazza at Temple City project.

Prosecutors in charge of the case are seeking a minimum two-year jail sentence for Wilson and Wong. Wilson faces a maximum prison term of nine years, while Councilwoman Wong faces a maximum jail sentence of ten years and four months.

Whether or not Wilson is sick, prosecutor Huntsman intends to seek jail time for the former Temple City mayor.

“She’s functioning, she’s in court,” he told a local reporter. “There are doctors available in prison, if it comes to that.”

Robert Wilson, the former mayor’s attorney, said in October that Wilson was “having dizzy spells, anxiety, depression.”

The former city official did appear to be ill Tuesday.

“I’m fighting to get along,” said Wilson to Alfred Lee of the Pasadena Star News, “I get very weak, and I fall, and I fall too easily.”

According to Wilson’s attorney, doctors have not diagnosed Wilson’s condition, but it appears to be stress-related.

In March, Temple City voters refused to return the indicted former city official to office. Instead, they elected to relative newcomers to the City Council, including one who voted against the Piazza mixed-use development as a Planning Commissioner.

Meanwhile, at the corner where the problems all started, dust and weeds are growing. The empty 3.7 acre lot sits idle as the criminal case proceeds.

The next scheduled court hearing will take place on January 13. Prosecutors and defense attorneys have stated a trial could begin soon.

For now, both women continue to maintain their innocence.

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