Former Riverside County D.A. Pleads No Contest in Sign Tampering Case

Tampering with campaign signs is never a good idea. Now, one former official has learned that lesson the hard way.

Former Riverside County District Attorney Paul Zellerbach was sentenced to one year of probation and 60 hours of community service Wednesday after pleading no contest to one count of misdemeanor vandalism stemming from a campaign sign tampering incident. Zellerbach will also have to pay a number of fines totaling $1,070.

The incident occurred last April during Zellerbach’s campaign for a second term as District Attorney. Video footage from the incident purportedly showed Zellerbach kicking down a sign belonging to opponent, Mike Hestrin, as he was erecting signs of his own. Zellerbach was also in possession of a county-issued SUV at the time and offered reimbursement for the vehicle's use, though he denied the allegations.

Talk of the sign tampering incident consumed much of the race and Zellerbach was defeated by 10 points. To avoid a conflict of interest, Indio police turned the case over to the state Attorney General’s Office, which filed the complaint.

Read more about Zellerbach’s sentencing here.