Joaquin Arambula trial: Officer who arrested state Assemblyman takes stand

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The prosecution has rested its case in the Dr. Joaquin Arambula child abuse trial.

The State Assemblyman is facing misdemeanor charges after CPS workers were called to his daughter's school last December.

Day 5 of the trial closed with Dr. Arambula's defense going for a bit of a Hail Mary attempt by making a motion to dismiss the case.

But the judge sided with the prosecution, citing there is sufficient evidence to make a conviction and continue the trial.

The arresting officer in the case against Joaquin Arambula continued his testimony Thursday.

Stephen Phebus - the first Fresno Police officer to respond to the 7-year-old's school told the jury he decided to arrest the Assemblyman after interviewing the girl and without any input from other law enforcement personnel.

Under cross examination, the officer gave further details from the child's interview.

Arambula listened as the arresting officer recounted how he learned the Assemblyman laid across his daughter's body on her bed following an argument with her younger sister.

"The part of him laying his body over her had occurred at first and then as she was talking he was pinching her cheeks in order to get her to close her mouth and then as Mr. Arambula got up off of her and she started sitting up in the bed, that's when she was struck twice by both of his hands upon her ears," Phebus said.

The prosecution entered an interview with KSEE-TV into evidence - one that aired shortly after Arambula's arrest last December - where he admits to spanking the 7-year-old on the bottom but denies striking her in the face

"I've actually never hit anyone in the face - man, woman or child. I'm a healer by nature. I'm a doctor and it's not in my nature to be assertive and aggressive like that," he had said in the interview.

Arambula's team will lay out their defense beginning Friday.

The State Assemblyman is expected to take the stand early next week.
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fresnochild abuse
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