- Associated Press - Thursday, March 14, 2019

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) - A California state lawmaker has pleaded not guilty to child cruelty involving his 7-year-old daughter.

The Fresno Bee says attorneys for Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula entered his plea Wednesday to a misdemeanor charge that carries a maximum sentence of six months in jail.

The Fresno Democrat wasn’t in court.

Arambula was charged Tuesday and took a temporary leave of absence from the Assembly, calling the charge “false and unthinkable.” He suggested politics may have influenced the decision to charge him.

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer and the county district attorney’s office deny any political motivation.

Arambula was arrested in December after officials at Dailey Elementary Charter School learned of an injury to his 7-year-old and reported it to authorities. He was quickly released and his three daughters allowed to return home.

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