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Trevi Center Owner Michel Knight Reaches Plea Agreement

Michel Knight, owner of the Trevi Center in Lake Elsinore, pleaded guilty Thursday to two misdemeanor counts and was immediately sentenced to three years probation and 90 days of sheriff supervision.

CORRECTION: According to court records, Michel Knight pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges: criminal conspiracy and contributing funds under an illegal name. The original report stated Knight only admiitted guilt on the former charge.

A Lake Elsinore businessman whose felony trial was due to begin today has reached a plea agreement with the Riverside County District Attorney's Office.

Michel Knight pleaded guilty today to one count of misdemeanor criminal conspiracy and contributing funds under an illegal name. He was immediately sentenced to 90 days in sheriff's custody and three years probation.

Knight was facing more serious charges before today's agreement was reached, including two felony counts each of perjury, suborning perjury and forgery. During today's proceedings a single charge of felony criminal conspiracy was reduced to a misdemeanor charge. An additional misdemeanor count of contributing funds under an illegal name was dismissed.

Knight is the owner of the Trevi Entertainment Center in Lake Elsinore as well as an entertainment center in Moreno Valley that was approved by that city this year.

Riverside County Superior Court Judge Helios Hernandez agreed to a defense motion to reduce the felony conspiracy charge to a misdemeanor and accept his plea agreement.

The judge also dismissed the other charges for Knight -- also known as Elsayed Assameth.

The charges stemmed from Knight's hiding his involvement in a failed recall effort against former Lake Elsinore City Councilman Thomas Buckley in early 2010.

Buckley narrowly lost his reelection bid in November 2010.

Included in Knight's conditions of probation is a prohibition against having any contact -- even if indirect -- with Buckley. He is also prohibited from contact with Enelida Caron, who turned state’s evidence against him and pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor charge of criminal conspiracy.

“An attack on the electoral system is an attack on the people, specifically in this case an attack on the people of Lake Elsinore by Michel Knight,” Buckley said.  “I’m glad to see that he has now admitted that what he – and his defenders – have been denying all along: his involvement and his guilt.

“Going forward, Lake Elsinore residents need to keep this whole sordid affair in mind when they cast their ballots,” Buckley added, “and question the motivations and shun any political candidate or official with ties to Knight – past or current – like Manos, Park, and Hickman.”

According to published reports, at a 2011 preliminary hearing during which Caron pleaded guilty to conspiracy, she testified that current City Council candidate Steve Manos served as a consultant on the failed recall campaign.

Knight was also admonished Thursday against contributing to any political campaigns or holding public office, as well as participating in any political committees, during the terms of his three-year probation.

He has until Jan. 25 to enroll in an electronic anklet monitoring program -- at his own expense -- for his time under Riverside County sheriff's supervision, instead of jail time.

Roberto October 13, 2012 at 09:40 PM
Going forward, Lake Elsinore residents need to keep this whole sordid affair in mind when they cast their ballots,” Buckley added, “and question the motivations and shun any political candidate or official with ties to Knight – past or current – like Manos, Park, and Hickman.”According to published reports, at a 2011 preliminary hearing during which Caron pleaded guilty to conspiracy, she testified that current City Council candidate Steve Manos served as a consultant on the failed recall campaign. REPLY: Carlos is a Tuscanite and we don't need no more stinkin Tusckey's. Natasha Johnson would be a nice fit and bring a balanced and fair female perspective to the City Council. Knight was also admonished Thursday against contributing to any political campaigns or holding public office, as well as participating in any political committees, during the terms of his three-year probation. He has until Jan. 25 to enroll in an electronic anklet monitoring program -- at his own expense -- for his time under Riverside County sheriff's supervision, instead of jail time.
Marti October 14, 2012 at 02:35 PM
All you people that are so concerned about trevi and the owner need to go do something about it then quit ranting about it on the internet. If you have no money put into trevi or the elections it HONESTLY DOESNT CONCERN YOU. Nobody cares about your opinon, if your concerned go campaign for the election. I worked at trevi there for six months and found a better job in the end. I was given a job when is was in need. Yes some bad things happened at Trevi but good things happened there too. Its in the past now you cant bring it back. NO BUSINESS IS PERFECT. ALOT of unjust stuff happens everywhere it could be alot worse. GET OVER IT WHATEVER HAPPENS just HAPPENS. No one put a gun to my head and said work go for trevi. IM ALIVE. If you dont like trevi dont go there if you dont like elections and the people running dont vote simple as that!
caligurl24 October 19, 2012 at 09:24 PM
He doesn't know how to run a business ! That's the problem. I've talked to people who work there and you don't get paid for overtime or breaks. You don't even get to take your breaks ! From what I've heard it wouldn't be a surprise if he's back in court soon !

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