A 20-year-old Anaheim man pleaded guilty Friday to charges related to unrest outside a campaign rally for President Donald Trump last year in Costa Mesa and was immediately sentenced to time served in jail, or 12 days.
Luis Fernando Alarcon pleaded guilty to misdemeanor counts of vandalism and inciting a riot. Since he had already served six days in jail, he was given credit for good behavior for the other half and is not required to spend any more time behind bars, said defense attorney Ruben Frias.
Orange County Superior Court Judge Kazuharu Makino, who made the plea deal offer to the defendant, also ordered Alarcon to pay $538 in restitution, Frias said.
Alarcon was initially charged with felony vandalism, but Makino knocked it down to a misdemeanor, Frias said.
Alarcon decided to take the plea deal to avoid years behind bars, his attorney said.
“It was a shame because he was just exercising his constitutional rights to protest and you had some officers claiming he did something he denied doing,” Fridas said. “But it was their word against his and he was looking at serious jail time, so he had no choice but to take the deal.”
Alarcon, who was arrested outside the rally at the Pacific Amphitheatre at the Orange County Fair and Event Center about 9:10 p.m. April 28, was among protesters hurling rocks at two different patrol vehicles, according to CHP Officer Tom Joyce.
Officers waited until some of the crowd dispersed before moving in and handcuffing him, Joyce said.
During the disturbance outside the venue where Trump spoke to supporters, one protester threw a rock that hit a Huntington Beach police horse in the head.
“He still believes that what he did was in the right and he did nothing wrong, but essentially it was a practical decision to avoid the risk of going to trial and losing,” Frias said.
Alarcon could have faced up to three years and eight months behind bars had he been convicted at trial, Frias said.
Alarcon is a student “who lives with his mom and is a good kid with no prior record,” his attorney said.