Joaquin Arambula trial: Assemblyman's wife takes stand, says she's afraid of daughter

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- State assembly member Joaquin Arambula is building a defense in his misdemeanor child abuse trial with help from his family.

Arambula's wife and mother both say he would never hit his daughters. In testimony that wrapped up Monday, his wife flipped the fear in the family saying the parents are actually afraid of their daughter, not the other way around.

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Elizabeth Arambula says she's the disciplinarian in the family, so she was shocked by the allegations against her husband.

But she said her daughter has accused her parents of hurting her before when they obviously hadn't.

On the day in December when the 7-year-old told a teacher, a school staffer, police, and a CPS worker her father had injured her by smacking her face with his hand, Elizabeth Arambula was the first person to see her daughter during the process.

Prosecutor: "Did you tell her not to lie?"

Elizabeth Aramubla: "Yes I did."
Prosecutor: "Did you tell her what she should say to the police?"
Elizabeth Arambula: "No. Except for telling the truth. I told her she had to tell the truth."

She said the girl told her "Daddy hurt me," but she knew Joaquin would never do that. She said that is why she is a little afraid of her daughter and sometimes records their interactions when discipline might be coming up.

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Dr. Arambula's mother also testified that she'd never seen him strike a kid.

Both women insisted they never coached the girl to change her story, but it has changed over the last five months.

A psychologist testified this morning that it was only consistent in the original reports to a police officer and CPS worker, but those interviews were not recorded, so the defense questioned whether the girl was influenced to make those statements.

The defense has two witnesses left for Tuesday, including Dr. Arambula. Closing arguments are scheduled for Wednesday.

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