This is a partial transcript from On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, August 7, 2003.

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GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Modesto, California, has been under national scrutiny in recent years after several of its residents disappeared and turned up dead, including Chandra Levy and Laci Peterson.

Tonight, Modesto's mayor finds the spotlight directly on him. Mayor Carmen Sabatino is charged with perjury, misappropriation of public funds, and conflict of interest in a 10-count criminal complaint. He joins us on the phone from Modesto.

Welcome, Mayor.


VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Mayor. What happened? How do you find yourself with this indictment?

SABATINO: You know, Greta, when you expose the system, the system fights back. But this is going to make for the most exciting election campaign the city has ever experienced.

VAN SUSTEREN: Mayor, why are you charged with these offenses? Are you saying that it is politically motivated? I mean I take it that you were pleading not guilty, right?

SABATINO: Right. It is politically motivated. It's to cover up a major land scandal that we have here in Modesto where the board of supervisors overcharged our residents to the tune of $19 million to pick up their garbage. I exposed that. They went out and bought a landfill illegally for $14 million when it was appraised at $10.75 million.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why would the prosecutor, Mayor, be politically motivated to go after you for that? What's his connection to it?

SABATINO: Well, these charges could have gone to the Fair Political Practices Commission. These are the filing for statement of economic interest.

But that wouldn't have been ready by the election. So the district attorney, who really has his own legal problems, was sort of instructed to come after the mayor.

VAN SUSTEREN: And when the election, Mayor?

SABATINO: November.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. And do you expect more charges as well to come back on you?

SABATINO: Well, I understand the rumor is they're going to go ahead and trash more. I could give you an example of one charge.

VAN SUSTEREN: Unfortunately, we only have about 30 seconds, Mayor.

SABATINO: You don't have time. OK. But, anyhow, we're looking forward to this election, and, during the election, the truth will come out.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Mayor. Well, we're going to keep our eyes on this case and this indictment. Hope you come back to join us. Thank you for joining us this evening.

SABATINO: Greta, thank you.

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