Attempted extortion case dropped against Fresno City Council President Nelson Esparza

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Tuesday, December 6, 2022
Attempted extortion case dropped against Fresno City Council President Nelson Esparza
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The Fresno County District Attorney's Office has dismissed a misdemeanor attempted extortion case against Fresno City Council President Nelson Esparza.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Fresno County District Attorney's Office has dismissed a misdemeanor attempted extortion case against Fresno City Council President Nelson Esparza.

In November, a judge decided there was enough evidence for a trial but reduced the felony attempted extortion charge to a misdemeanor.

Esparza was accused of threatening to fire then-City Attorney Doug Sloan, unless Sloan worked exclusively for Esparza and the council majority.

As part of the case being dropped, Esparza had to make an apologetic statement, in which he admitted he was angry at Sloan.

Esparza also said he wished Sloan brought the concerns to him or the city council instead of someone taking this to the district attorney's office for investigation.

"I came into this process as a free and innocent man and am coming out of the process the same way. Since the beginning of this process, I have repeatedly defended my reputation and innocence in this matter. I can finally say that the outcome was what we were expecting all along," Esparza said in a statement. "It was unfortunate that we had to go through this process, but at the end of the day, our justice system worked. I would like to thank my family, friends, and the residents of Fresno for their unwavering support throughout the process. Despite the circumstances over the last several months, my office and I have continued to diligently serve the residents of District 7 without interruption, and we look forward to carrying on that work."

"I trust the judgment of District Attorney's Office and hope nothing like this happens again. I wish the new City Attorney and the office there the best," Sloan said in a statement.