Federal prosecutors have agreed to provide the defense a delay in the corruption trial of state Sen. Ronald S. Calderon from September to May 19, 2015, long after the Democrat from Montebello will have left office.
Calderon was indicted in February on federal charges of accepting nearly $100,000 in cash bribes, as well as gourmet meals and golf outings, in exchange for his influence as a lawmaker.
He is accused of accepting bribes from an undercover FBI agent posing as a film industry executive in exchange for pushing for an extension of tax credits for film productions. In addition, Calderon is charged with accepting bribes from the owner of a medical firm in exchange for action on legislation involving workers compensation reform.
The continuance from Sept. 16 was supported by attorney Mark Geragos, who represents Calderon and cited the large amount of material subject to discovery motions in the case. Calderon, who has pleaded not guilty, supported the delay in getting his day in court.
“He certainly wants time for his lawyer to be prepared,” Geragos said Tuesday, the day after the prosecutors filed an agreement seeking the delay. Although the United States attorney’s office has agreed to the delay, it has not yet been approved by a federal judge.
The continuance was also supported by the attorney for former Assemblyman Thomas Calderon, the senator’s brother, who is charged with money laundering in the case.
The defense attorneys need more time to go through the voluminous material provided to them by the prosecution, according to one court filing, including 280,000 pages of bank records, business records, public records and FBI documents.
The documents include more than 3,900 pages of grand jury testimony, 2,000 pages of pre-indictment pleadings, 2,000 recorded telephone conversations, over 200 recorded meetings, and over 9,000 pages of draft transcripts, according to a court filing by the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Ronald Calderon and state Sens. Leland Yee and Roderick Wright have all been suspended indefinitely because of separate criminal cases. Calderon leaves office in November, unable to run for reelection because of term limits. The continuance means Calderon will not have to face the indignity of either resigning from office or being expelled by the Senate in the event there is a conviction.
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