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July 23, 2014

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Former Nevada lawmaker Brooks pleads no contest in California

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Jennifer Simpson / AP

Ex-Nevada Assemblyman Steven Brooks, holds his arms up as he is arrested, Thursday, March 28, 2013, in Victorville, Calif. Brooks led police on a chase from Barstow, Calif., until his tires were spiked in Victorville, Calif. Brooks was arrested on charges including resisting arrest and throwing objects, just hours after he became the first lawmaker ever expelled from the Nevada Legislature.

Updated Friday, March 28, 2014 | 6:44 p.m.

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Steven Brooks was arrested early Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013.

A former Las Vegas-area lawmaker has pleaded no contest to charges stemming from a freeway chase and a fight with police in Southern California.

Steven Brooks entered into a plea bargain Friday, exactly a year after he was expelled from the Nevada Assembly as a security threat and hours later arrested in Victorville, Calif., after a high-speed chase on Interstate 15.

Brooks, 42, pleaded no contest to evading a peace officer and resisting arrest in San Bernardino County Superior Court after prosecutors agreed to drop charges of willful harm to a police dog and throwing a substance at a vehicle.

The former North Las Vegas Democrat is scheduled to be sentenced July 25.

Deputy District Attorney Shannon Faherty said the deal was "tough, but fair" and the plea bargain had been on the table since the case began.

"Basically, that's been our offer since the case started, and he finally decided to take responsibility," Faherty told the Victorville (Calif.) Daily Press.

Brooks' lawyer, Sean O'Connor, was not available for comment until Monday, according to his receptionist.

Last March 28, a disheveled Brooks fled the scene of a disagreement with a tow-truck driver in Barstow, leading police on the chase while allegedly throwing metal objects out the window of his SUV.

The 20-minute pursuit covered about 23 miles and averaged more than 80 mph until officers deployed a spike strip to stop Brooks' vehicle. Brooks was accused of choking and hitting a police dog with a metal socket wrench after he was stopped.

Earlier the same day, he became the first Assembly member expelled from the Nevada Legislature when a Select Committee voted 6-1 to oust him due to safety concerns from colleagues.

Brooks is being held at the San Bernardino County Jail on $100,000 bail.

Last year, he sought to have his case diverted into a mental health court program that could have released him from jail on probation, but the request was rejected.

A spokesman for District Attorney Mike Ramos said last summer that prosecutors had offered a plea deal that would get Brooks two years and eight months in prison if he pleaded guilty before trial.

Charges are still pending against Brooks in Las Vegas stemming from two earlier arrests in 2013, including one on Feb. 10 on a resisting a police officer charge and three lesser charges.

Brooks is accused in that case of throwing punches and trying to grab a gun from a police officer called to a domestic argument involving Brooks and his estranged wife, Ada.

Brooks also was indicted a year ago on a felony possession of a firearm by a prohibited person charge stemming from a Jan. 19 arrest that began his public spiral. Brooks was initially accused of threatening other state legislators.

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