A Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled on Tuesday that LA City Councilman Herb Wesson could not perform the duties of his office, at least temporarily.
The move gives victory to a civil rights group and allies of Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas, who was suspended after being charged by federal prosecutors last fall.
Wesson, who has already served three terms on the board, was appointed as a temporary replacement by the board earlier this year.
Representatives of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Southern California and several other plaintiffs opposed the nomination and filed a lawsuit. They demanded that Wesson be removed from office pending the judge’s verdict.
Superior Court Judge Mary H. Strobel did not fire Wesson, but instead said the longtime Los Angeles politician was “barred from performing any duties of a board member.”
Strobel said the plaintiffs, which also include a group of Ridley-Thomas District voters, have sufficient likelihood of prevailing in their argument that Wesson is legally barred from returning to the council on an interim basis, since he has already served the maximum number of terms under the city’s term limits law.
The city and the plaintiffs will appear before Strobel again next month. It was not immediately clear what duties Wesson would be allowed to perform while representing the Council’s 10th district.
The city attorney’s office declined to comment. A representative for Wesson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The board voted to suspend Ridley-Thomas in October, a week after he was charged with bribery and other charges in a case involving county contracts.
This is a developing story and will be updated.
Los Angeles Times