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Rod_Wright.JPGHappy new year to all of our Capitol Alert readers! We hope you had a wonderful and relaxing holiday season.

The Legislature isn't back in session until next week, but the first big event of 2014 kicks off today: the trial of state Sen. Rod Wright.

The Inglewood Democrat was indicted by a grand jury in 2010 for voter fraud and perjury — charges stemming from an investigation into whether he actually lived in the Senate district that he was elected to represent in 2008. Authorities allege that Wright, who owns multiple properties, registered to vote at an address where he did not live so he could run in the Los Angeles-area district.

The trial, which will take place in Los Angeles, has been delayed multiple times following a series of appeals over the charges. Wright faces possible prison time if convicted and has pleaded not guilty.

"He's complied with all the residency requirements as required by law," Wright's lawyer, Kevin Winston McKesson, said Monday. "We're disputing everything they say."

Laurel Rosenhall has more in today's Bee.

VIDEO: Prepare for Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature to square off over potential new spending in next year's budget, Dan Walters says.

BREAK THE ICE: If your New Year's resolution is to make new friends, then you've got your first opportunity tonight: The New Leaders Council is hosting a networking event from 5:30-7:00 pm at Dive Bar Sacramento on K Street. The progressive entrepreneurship training program will introduce its class of 2014 fellows before they are publicly announced.

POLITICAL PREVIEW: Already wondering what stories you'll be hearing about in 2014? Don't miss our special Californians to Watch series, which ran during the holiday week. You can read profiles of seven Capitol players who are sure to be newsmakers this year — including state Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, and Jim Brulte, the chairman of the California Republican Party.

CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday to Assemblyman Curt Hagman, R-Chino Hills, who turns 49 today. And belated well-wishes to state Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, who turned 60 on Tuesday.

PHOTO: State Sen. Rod Wright, D-Inglewood, listens to the vote on budget legislation on Feb. 18, 2009. The Sacramento Bee/Brian Baer


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