Anthony Ray Silva, the mayor of Stockton, California who has been charged with multiple counts of misdemeanors and other federal offenses has claimed that he is innocent of all charges filed against him. The charges include playing strip poker and serving alcohol to underage individuals in a summer youth camp organized by him.
The Stockton Mayor was arrested last week and later released on a bail amount of $20,000. Silva has been accused of initiating a strip poker game that involved several young adults at a 2015 summer camp organized by him in the Sierra Mountains. The camp was known as the Stockton Silver Lake Camp and the property was leased by him from the U.S. Forest Service.
Addressing a press conference the Mayor said that he had not done anything to endanger any of the children and stated that everyone present at the strip poker game was over 18 years of age. He described the gathering where it happened as a party held for camp counselors.
Prosecutors said that he had also recorded the gathering without consent of those present. The recording was seized and has been used to file a felony eavesdropping charge against Silva. As a part of the investigation four videos and around 23 photos were recovered from him.
In a statement, Silva said,
Number one, everyone there was 18 years old. Number two, I never ever, ever, ever endangered a child. Ever. Number three, I never provided alcohol to anyone. And I certainly did not secretly record anyone. I am innocent.
His arraignment is scheduled for August 18. If convicted he could face a prison term of up to three years.
Mark Reichel, Silva’s lawyer, said that Silva would not resign from his post and will fight the charges filed against him. He also suggested this was possibly part of a political conspiracy to discredit Silva.
These charges come shortly after the mayor was found to be involved in the case of a fatal shooting of a 13-old boy in February this year. The handgun used in the shooting was a weapon that the mayor had reported as stolen from his house. Prosecutors in this case issued a statement a few weeks ago stating that Silva had refused to cooperate with investigation.
Silva claimed in his defense that he was a victim of a theft highlighting that he had been prompt in reporting the loss of the weapon to the police and had also filed a formal report when it was confirmed as lost. Silva was elected mayor in 2012 and is reported to be running for re-election this November.