Assemblywoman Hayashi backs off brain-tumor shoplifting defense 

click to enlarge Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi, D-Castro Valley, right, talks with her seatmate, Assemblywoman Cathleen Galgiani, D-Livingston, at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif on Jan. 4, 2012. - AP FILE PHOTO
  • AP file photo
  • Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi, D-Castro Valley, right, talks with her seatmate, Assemblywoman Cathleen Galgiani, D-Livingston, at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif on Jan. 4, 2012.

Democratic Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi Monday backed off her attorney’s claim that her theft of $2,500 of merchandise from a department store in San Francisco’s Union Square last year may have been at least partly due to a brain tumor.

“I accept responsibility and I offer apologies, not excuses,” the Hayward legislator said in a written statement about her Oct. 25 arrest outside Neiman Marcus. A security guard had confronted her with $2,445 worth of clothing she hadn’t paid for, including leather pants, a black skirt and a white blouse.

“The simple fact is I unintentionally walked out of a store with items I had not paid for,” Hayashi said. “Of course, I intended to purchase what I had, but I didn’t. Losing track of how fast you are driving is no excuse for speeding. And losing track of clothing I was purchasing is no excuse for walking out of a store without paying.”



Hayashi, 45, pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor theft charge and was sentenced to three years’ probation on Friday. At the time, Hayashi did not comment about the case, but her attorney Douglas Rappaport suggested to reporters that her recently diagnosed benign brain tumor may have affected her decision-making.

“There were a number of personal factors that led to the situation where I made this absentminded error,” Hayashi said in her statement Monday. “My medical condition may have complicated the situation, however I want to be clear that I take full personal responsibility for my actions.”

Hayashi said her condition is being treated. Her spokesman on the shoplifting case, Sam Singer, said Hayashi had been “distracted” at the time she walked out without paying.

Rappaport’s explanation that the brain tumor played a role “was a misunderstanding,” Singer said, adding that it has not affected any of Hayashi’s decision-making.

“Her legislative decision-making has always been sound and always will be sound,” Singer said.

aburack@sfexaminer.com

Bay City News contributed to this report

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