SAN BERNARDINO – County Supervisor Neil Derry pled guilty Wednesday to a single misdemeanor charge that he failed to report a campaign contribution.
In return, the embattled elected official saw two felony charges against him dropped.
The plea deal includes a pair of $5,000 fines and three years probation of probation for Derry, and would allow the county’s district three supervisor to continue serving his term.
Derry, who has maintained his innocence from the outset, said the agreement was a compromise.
“I felt it was necessary to get back to work for the public and spare my family a long and drawn-out trial in which I would’ve been proven innocent anyways,” he said.
In April, the state Attorney General’s Office charged Derry with perjury and filing a false report, both felonies, and a misdemeanor count of failing to report and campaign contribution.
Derry allegedly funneled a 2007 campaign contribution of $5,000 into an account of former County Assessor Bill Postmus, who pleaded guilty to similar crimes earlier this year. The money was laundered, according to the criminal complaint, so that Derry would not have to report the contributor’s name on mandatory campaign information.
Deputy Attorney General Emily Hanks did not comment on the outcome of the case. But during Wednesday’s hearing in San Bernardino Superior Court, Hanks argued that Derry should not continue to serve as supervisor and that he should not be allowed to run for public office for a four-year period.
Judge Michael Dest, however, levied the fines instead. The fines include $5,000 to the court and another to the California Fair Political Practices Commission.