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Jury rules Efren Carrillo not guilty of attempted peeking (w/video)

  • Supervisor Efren Carrillo is embraced by his attorney Chris Andrian after not guilty verdicts were handed down on all counts on Carrillo's peeking trial, Monday April 28, 2014. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat)

Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo was acquitted Monday of attempting to peek into a neighbor's home, winning a high-stakes legal gamble in which he laid bare his alcoholism and oversized ego to avoid a conviction and try to salvage his political career.

The verdict caps more than nine months of legal wrangling and intrigue surrounding the 5th District supervisor, who was arrested outside the woman's Santa Rosa apartment before dawn on July 13, dressed in just his socks and underwear.

Jurors deadlocked on a more serious charge of peeking before reaching the unanimous decision on the lesser count of attempted peeking. His lawyer, Chris Andrian, said it amounts to an acquittal on both charges.

Efren Carrillo Trial

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“It's all done,” a jubilant Andrian said outside the courtroom, moments after the verdict was read. “It's over.”

Carrillo, 33, who has rejected calls to resign, showed no emotion as he stood in court, his hands clasped in front of him. Outside court he told a gathering of reporters he felt “sorrow” for the pain he caused the woman, his own family and political supporters. But he vowed to continue to focus on his work and what he called a “personal recovery.”

“I hope to continue to be an effective public servant,” said Carrillo, who was re-elected to a second term in 2012.

He declined to say whether he planned to address the situation at the next Board of Supervisors meeting, on May 6.

Prosecutor Cody Hunt, who tried the case for the state attorney general to avoid a conflict with Sonoma County prosecutors, left the door open for a possible retrial on the main count of peeking. There is case law that would support a second trial, he said.

Judge Gary Medvigy never dismissed the charge or declared a mistrial.

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