Former state lawmaker Norby accused of abuse, child endangerment

Former state Assemblyman Chris Norby was free on bail Thursday after being arrested on suspicion of domestic abuse and child endangerment, the latest in a series of domestic issues dating back to his days as an Orange County supervisor.

Norby was booked and then released on $10,000 bail after Fullerton police were summoned to his home around noon Wednesday.

Citing state law, authorities said they were prohibited from releasing more information about the victims in the case.

But Norby said Thursday that he believes his wife, Martha Norby, went to the Fullerton police station with the allegations of abuse. He said he was the only one home when officers arrived.

"She said I pushed her or bumped into her shoulder," Norby said in a telephone interview. "There's a whole other side that's going to come out, and it's going to show that I'm the victim."

He added, "I've never laid a finger on her."

Martha Norby could not be reached for comment.

Before representing parts of north Orange County in the Legislature, Norby, a Republican, was a supervisor and mayor of Fullerton. He lost his Assembly reelection bid in 2012 to Sharon Quirk-Silva, a Democrat.

Norby was investigated in 2010 after a deliveryman called police to say he overheard an argument between Norby and his wife.

Martha Norby told officers that her husband had pushed her, police told The Times in 2010. Norby denied the allegation, telling The Times that he and his wife had been arguing but that "it was purely verbal." Martha Norby is Norby's fourth wife.

The district attorney said there was insufficient evidence and declined to file criminal charges in that case.

In 2012 the state Fair Political Practices Commission dismissed allegations that Norby had misused campaign money to pay for a motel stay in 2007, when he was experiencing marital troubles during his third marriage.

In 2008, Norby, who was a county supervisor at the time, told The Times he was surprised that his stay at the Fullerton A Inn was charged to his campaign, and said he planned to reimburse the account.

But the state's ethics watchdog agency found that the $340 charge was properly paid for because it served a governmental purpose by helping Norby study how the homeless and transient population relies on motels.

Norby also became the subject of speculation when he was a supervisor after police found him sleeping on the lawn outside the old county courthouse. He told police he had been walking to the gym when he stopped to read a magazine and fell asleep.

The current case against Norby will be forwarded to the district attorney's office, which will decide whether to file charges, Stuart said.

Norby is expected to appear in court next Wednesday.

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