A security guard stopped Hayashi, who had leather pants, a black skirt and a white blouse worth $2,445 that she hadn't paid for, according to prosecutors.
Hayashi, 45, appeared in court last Friday afternoon and changed her plea after the charge was reduced to a misdemeanor. She was sentenced to three years of court probation and ordered to stay 50 feet away from that Neiman Marcus store. She was also ordered to pay $180 in fines and fees.
Hayashi's defense attorney Douglas Rappaport said outside of court that the assemblywoman has a benign brain tumor that may have impacted her decision-making abilities.
Rappaport said the tumor is curable and treatable and "is no longer affecting her concentration or her judgment."
The information about the tumor was recently presented to prosecutors, he said.
On Monday, Hayashi issued the following statement:
"After a lifetime of public service, this has been a painful experience...but one of my own making. The simple fact is I unintentionally walked out of a store with items I had not paid for. 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.
"I accept responsibility and I offer apologies, not excuses. I want to thank my family, constituents and colleagues for the support and patience they have given me during this very difficult personal time.
"There were a number of personal factors that led to the situation where I made this absentminded error. My medical condition may have complicated the situation, however I want to be clear that I take full personal responsibility for my actions. I want to assure you that I am taking steps to deal with my health and continuing to work hard for my district and for the people of California."
Hayashi spokesman Sam Singer soon after the incident called it "a mistake and misunderstanding," explaining that Hayashi carries two cell phones and was texting and phoning with a bag in her hands and inadvertently stepped outdoors.
Hayashi has continued in her Assembly duties since her October arrest. As participants prepared for the Occupy Oakland Day of Action on Nov. 2, Hayashi stated her support for the purpose and values of the demonstration. She hosted her fifth annual district holiday event and food drive, "Jingle Tails," at the Oakland Zoo's Main Gates on Dec. 15.
Last week she introduced a bill to increase concussion knowledge and first aid response in high school athletics.
Hayashi, whose district includes part of Pleasanton, Hayward, Castro Valley and Dublin, has served in the State Assembly since 2006. She is married to Alameda Superior Court Judge Dennis Hayashi, who was elected in 2008.
She wrote a book, "Far from Home: Shattering the Myth of the Model Minority," about her journey from childhood in Korea to prominence as a health care leader to a California Assembly member.
This story contains 588 words.
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