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Former Financier Pleads Guilty In Hedgecock Campaign Case

February 4, 1986

SAN DIEGO (AP) _ Former financier J. David Dominelli has admitted plotting to illegally finance former Mayor Roger Hedgecock’s 1983 campaign, and the plea bargain was denounced by Hedgecock.

In exchange for his guilty plea Monday to one count of conspiracy, 14 counts of perjury against Dominelli were dropped.

Also as part of the plea bargain, Presiding Municipal Court Judge Frederic Link sentenced Dominelli to two years in state prison to run concurrently with a 20-year federal term he is serving for tax evasion and fraud in the February 1984 collapse of the J. David & Co. investment firm he founded.

Dominelli pleaded guilty on the first day of a scheduled hearing for him and co-defendants Nancy Hoover and Tom Shepard.

His plea was labeled a lie by Shepard’s attorney, Doug Brown.

″Mr. Dominelli’s plea today should be regarded solely for what it is - a plea entered solely for expediency by a broken man in very poor health that will not cause him one iota of additional punishment,″ Brown said of Dominelli, who is partially paralyzed from a stroke suffered in October 1984.

When asked if he thought Dominelli was lying in the statement he signed, Brown replied, ″Yes.″

Before sentencing Dominelli, Link refused to delay the hearing for Hoover, a former J. David executive, and Shepard, whose political consulting firm managed Hedgecock’s 1983 campaign. The hearing was assigned to Municipal Court Judge Robert Stahl, who was to rule today on attorneys’ requests that the hearing be closed to the press and public.

Hedgecock was tried separately from his co-defendants and was convicted in October. He resigned Dec. 10 before being sentenced to one year in county custody and remains free on appeal.

Hedgecock said Dominelli’s guilty plea would have no effect on his appeal and denounced Dominelli’s courtroom admission.

″It was presented in court as his statement. It was presented ... to the world as his statement. It is signed by him, but it is written by (deputy District Attorney) Chuck Wickersham,″ Hedgecock said.

In the statement, Dominelli admitted meeting in late 1981 with Hedgecock, then a county supervisor, and Hoover and Shepard. He said they discussed Shepard’s departure as an aide to Hedgecock to form the political consulting firm, which would guide the Hedgecock mayoral campaign.

Dominelli admitted giving Shepard a $3,000 check in December 1981 to cover a payment the Hedgecock campaign owed on a computer mailing list.

City law prohibits individual campaign donations over $250 and bans corporate contributions.

Dominelli also said he and Hoover agreed in the summer of 1982 to provide financial support for Hedgecock’s campaign. He said Hedgecock attended several of those meetings.

On another occasion in 1982, Dominelli said he gave $15,000 in J. David funds to Shepard’s firm to help finance the hiring of Hedgecock campaign workers.

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