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Juror: Efren Carrillo testimony played key role in verdict

Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo's risky decision to take the witness stand helped convince a jury that he did not intend to commit a crime the night he was arrested, half-naked, outside a neighbor's apartment, according to one member of the panel that acquitted him of attempted peeking.

But the details of his late-night boozing and desire to have sex with a near-stranger have fueled calls for the 5th District supervisor to resign, despite his victory in court Monday.

Defense attorney Chris Andrian said he warned Carrillo that his political career could suffer collateral damage if he insisted on testifying in open court about the embarrassing details of his July 13 arrest in his socks and underwear.

Efren Carrillo Trial

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"The decision was his," Andrian said Tuesday. "I didn't fight him on it. That's what he wanted to do."

Andrian discussed the legal and political calculus of Carrillo's case one day after his client was cleared of charges by a 10-woman, two-man jury.

Andrian spent months trying to negotiate a settlement with prosecutors that would have averted a trial, but said they were unwilling to reduce the misdemeanor charge of peeking. The charge carried a maximum six-month jail term and was not eligible for diversion, a process that allows first-time offenders to avoid a criminal conviction.

Carrillo could have accepted the prosecution's terms, which would have placed a black mark on his record but kept some details of the case private. Instead, Carrillo and his legal and political advisors decided to fight the charge that the 33-year-old politician peeked into a neighbor's home.

Carrillo made the decision, in part, because he wanted avoid the perception that he got a "backdoor deal" as an elected official, Andrian said. He also wanted to tell his side after being silent so long.

"On a certain level Efren needed to fall on his sword," Andrian said. "It was important as a human being to just put it out there."

Carrillo did not return calls Tuesday seeking comment.


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