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Assemblywoman declines comment on shoplifting charge at Neiman Marcus
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SACRAMENTO  (AP) — A San Francisco Bay area lawmaker facing a felony shoplifting charge made her first appearance in the Assembly on Wednesday since she was arrested at a Neiman Marcus store in October.
Prosecutors say state Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi stole leather pants and other items that together were worth about $2,500.
Hayashi has pleaded not guilty and declined to discuss her case on Wednesday.
"No comment, thank you," she said as she hurried out of the chamber after adjournment.
Like many returning lawmakers, she was greeted earlier with hugs from her colleagues but did not speak during the Assembly session or to reporters and camera crews clustered near her desk.
Hayashi, a Democrat, previously said through a spokesman that she inadvertently walked outside with the merchandise while she was distracted by a cellphone conversation.
Prosecutors said she took the items into a dressing room and concealed them in an empty shopping bag before leaving. Her next court date is Friday, when her preliminary hearing could be scheduled.
If convicted of felony grand theft, Hayashi would lose her pay but not necessarily her job in the Legislature.
Assembly Rule 120 says lawmakers convicted of felonies can't be paid, but it doesn't specify that they must be expelled from office. Nor do Assembly rules say what happens if she is convicted of a misdemeanor, though someone could file a complaint with the Assembly's Special Committee on Legislative Ethics that might prompt unspecified sanctions.
Hayashi, 44, is married to Alameda County Superior Court Judge Dennis Hayashi. She has represented Castro Valley since 2006 but can't run for re-election because she is termed out of office after this year.