The Star-News


Chopra pleads guilty

Fri, Nov 01 2013 12:00 PM Posted By: Robert Moreno

Two defendants accused of felony corruption by the San Diego district atorney pleaded guilty Tuesday to lesser charges.

Former Southwestern College Superintendent Dr. Raj Chopra had four felonies dropped in exchange for a misdemeanor guilty plea for failing to report gifts in 2009-2010 when he was superintendent.

Chopra’s attorney Michael Attanasio said the plea includes no custody time and he expects his client to get some community service with court probation.

Chopra is happy to put the case to rest, Attanasio said.

“He’s very gratified to move forward and get on with his life without this burden,” Attanasio said.

Attanasio said Chopra should have never been included in the corruption case.

“The charges against him in that indictment were entirely without merit, and in that sense he should have not been charged in that indictment,” he said.

Chopra was originally indicted on nine felony charges, with prosecutors dropping five of them a few months ago. His charges ranged from bribery to perjury.

Deputy District Attorney Leon Schorr said based on the facts presented in court, the district attorney reached a “good resolution” with Chopra.

Yolanda Hernandez, a board member with the San Ysidro School District, pled guilty Tuesday morning on a misdemeanor charge of perjury.

Hernandez faced two felony charges of perjury and two for filing a false document.

Schorr said both Chopra’s and Hernandez’s pleas fit the crime.

“We were just able to reach a resolution that made sense for what they’ve done, and where they are in their life,” Schorr said.

Gary Cabello, a bond underwriter for both the Sweetwater district and Southwestern College, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor last week.

Schorr said not going to trial saves the community time and resources.

“There’s a great expense that’s a burden on the community and on everybody, so if we can get to resolutions that are appropriate, we’ll try to do it,” he said.

Chopra, Hernandez and Cabello have an April 7, 2014, sentencing date.


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