Pete Seda's Conviction Overturned

, Written by Roma Villavicencio, Posted: Fri, August 23 2013 at 10:43 PM, Updated: Fri, August 23 2013 at 11:36 PM

He was known as an Ashland peace activist. But it was his charity prosecutors said that sent Pete Seda to prison for 33 months. 

They accused him of sending 150-thousand dollars from his charity  to a Chechnya terrorist group.

 Friday a circuit court appellate judge gave Seda a second chance by overturning the 2010 conviction. 

"We are quite pleased with the vindication and Seda's innocence."

 Seda's attorney Steven Wax says three things played into Friday's decision. 

 That the prosecution paid a witness, withheld classified information from the defense, and the IRS overstepped their bounds when they searched Seda's home.

We went to the Ashland neighborhood where Seda lived and tried to talk to some of his neighbors but they could't go on camera however we did talk to some people who were familiar with the case and they say justice has been served today

"I knew his brother and I always had a gut feeling he wasn't guilty he was a man of peace and always helped his community."

Seda's future is still uncertain. The U.S. attorney's office could ask for an appeal. 

 Wax says it's a bitter sweet moment for Seda, while Seda is happy about the ruling, no one can take back all the time he's served already.

Although Seda does not have to serve a sentence or pay the 80-thousand dollars in retribution, he moved today from a half way home to house arrest. 

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About the Author

Roma Villavicencio

NBC5 News reporter Roma Villavicencio comes from Southern California where she reported for Garden Grove TV Channel 3.

She is a graduate of the journalism/communications program at Cal State Fullerton.

Roma is very proud of her Mexican heritage. She is bi-lingual and looks forward to serving our Hispanic community.

She loves food, music and the San Francisco Giants. She lives by the slogan “viva la vida!”

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