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State Sen. Rod Wright will take an indefinite leave of absence until he resolves his legal problems, Senate leader Darrell Steinberg announced Tuesday.

Wright will continue to draw his $95,291-a-year salary but will not be eligible to receive the $163-a-day living expenses other lawmakers get.

The announcement comes several weeks after a Los Angeles County jury found Wright, D-Baldwin Hills, guilty of eight counts of voter fraud and perjury stemming from charges that he lied about where he lived when he ran for the state Senate in 2008.

Wright's sentencing, initially scheduled for March 12, was postponed last Friday until mid-May. Some Republican senators, meanwhile, have pushed for a vote on Wright's continuing presence in the Senate.

"Today I met with Senator Wright and he requested an indefinite leave of absence pending the conclusion of the legal process now before the trial court in Los Angeles," Steinberg said in a statement. "I've accepted this request and wish him well going forward."

Wright sent The Bee a statement saying he asked for a leave of absence "so that I may devote my full attention to pending legal matters."

"It is a great honor to represent the people of the 35th Senate District. I remain hopeful that - through due process - I will once again have the opportunity to fight for laws that strengthen our communities and support those most in need," Wright's statement said.

Wright's departure leaves the Senate with 38 voting members, including 27 Democrats, a bare two-thirds majority. Monday, Steinberg gave state Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, a week to resign or the Senate would suspend him following his indictment on corruption charges last Friday.

PHOTO: Sen. Rod Wright, D-Inglewood, sits in the state Senate on Monday, Feb. 3, 2014. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua

Editor's note: This post was updated at 2:16 p.m. to include Wright's statement.


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