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Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi must wait a little longer for a preliminary hearing date in her grand theft case.

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Gerardo Sandoval, in proceedings lasting only a few minutes Tuesday, continued the felony case until Dec. 7. At that time, a date is expected to be set for a preliminary hearing, which will detemine whether evidence is sufficient to place Hayashi on trial.

Hayashi's attorney, Douglas Rappaport, requested the continuance Tuesday to provide time for obtaining information about the case from the Neiman Marcus store where Hayashi was arrested, said Omid Talai, spokesman for the San Francisco District Attorney's Office.

Prosecutors asked that Hayashi be required to attend the Dec. 7 court hearing, but Judge Sandoval waived her appearance at Rappaport's request, Talai said. Hayashi currently is free on $15,000 bail.

Hayashi, D-Castro Valley, is accused of stealing nearly $2,500 in clothing -- leather pants, a black skirt and a white blouse -- from a San Francisco Neiman Marcus store last month.

The 45-year-old lawmaker, wife of a Bay Area judge, was stopped outside the store by Neiman Marcus security officers, who recovered the clothing and booked it into evidence.

Hayashi has pleaded not guilty. Through a spokesman, Sam Singer, the lawmaker has said she was distracted by using a cellphone while shopping inside Neiman Marcus and mistakenly stepped outside, where she was stopped before she could correct her error.

"It's a silly little case that got blown out of proportion," Rappaport said this week.

After Hayashi's arrest, San Francisco police officers said she had passed several Neiman Marcus cash registers at which she could have purchased the clothing.

Prosecutors said that Hayashi had walked away from the store -- Bay Area News Group reported the distance at 50 to 100 feet -- before she was detained by store security officers.

Maximum sentence is three years in prison for grand theft, but first-time offenders typically do not receive such stiff sentences. Prosecutors have declined to comment on Hayashi's likely punishment if convicted.

* Updated at 3 p.m. with additional information about today's San Francisco court proceeding.



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