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Accused councilman returns to city hall 

Ed Arnold, the Arroyo Grande city councilman accused of assaulting his ex-lover, showed up for work on Jan. 26. It was Arnold’s first appearance at a city council meeting this year and the first since his arrest.

Some residents and fellow council members approached Arnold and shook his hand as he entered the council chamber.

“Thank you for shaking my hand,” said a clearly pleased Arnold to a councilman. “I’m like the plague around here.”

Arnold didn’t say anything about his arrest or the events leading up to it at the meeting. His lawyer, Ilan Funke-Bilu, handed out a statement from Arnold to the press before the meeting began. Funke-Bilu sat near the front of the meeting, only 20 feet away from his client, for most of the night.

In the statement, Arnold said he would stay on the council and that he regretted “what should have been a dispute between divorcing spouses has been turned into a distorted public spectacle.”

 “As we move through the divorce and criminal proceedings, I believe it will become clear that the divorce and criminal charges are intermingled, and that my wife is attempting to use the criminal system and my public humiliation to enhance her position in disputes over child custody and related financial interests in the divorce proceedings,” he added.

The meeting was much like a usual city council meeting except for two public speakers who thought it might be a good idea if Arnold resigned.

Arroyo Grande police arrested Arnold the night of Dec. 15, when prosecutors allege he broke into his ex-girlfriend’s house and hit her with an unidentified object. Arnold pleaded not guilty Jan. 25 in a San Luis Obispo Court to felony charges of assault with a deadly weapon, domestic violence, criminal threats, burglary, and possession of an assault weapon.

The woman who was allegedly assaulted filed a restraining order against Arnold, as did his estranged wife. Kathryn Arnold filed for divorce Dec. 5. Court documents indicate the two women are now dating.

Arnold’s next court appearance is March 3. Ed Arnold’s attorney, Funke-Bilu said his client is innocent and that “the truth will come out in court.”

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