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Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula's Daughter Testifies In Child Abuse Trial

John Walker
The Fresno Bee
Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula listens with his attorney Margarita Martinez-Baly in the Superior Court of Judge Alvin Harrell, Tuesday morning, April 23, 2019.

Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula’s criminal trial continued Friday in Fresno County Superior Court with opening statements and testimony from one of his children.

With her grandfather next to her, Arambula’s seven-year-old daughter answered the prosecutor’s questions before a packed courtroom. She is the alleged victim in a misdemeanor child abuse charge against Arambula.  

Clutching a stuffed bunny that was dressed in a Wonder Woman costume, the girl -- whose name we are withholding because she’s a minor -- appeared a little nervous, but calm. She said she told school staff and police that Arambula had slapped her head when disciplining her on December 9, 2018. She said the ring on his finger left a bruise.

“Okay so you said your dad slapped you, but you’re saying today your dad grasped you?" asked Deputy District Attorney Steve Wright.

Yes, she answered. Arambula “grasped” her head.

During opening statements today, Wright argued that Arambula slapped his daughter, and lied in media appearances afterward. Defense attorney Margarita Martinez-Baly said Arambula only spanked his daughter that night. She questioned the credibility of a seven year old who she said had an answer for everything.

Laura Tsutsui was a reporter and producer for Valley Public Radio. She joined the station in 2017 as a news intern, and later worked as a production assistant and weekend host. Laura covered local issues ranging from politics to housing, and produced the weekly news program Valley Edition. She left the station in November 2020.