A federal judge on Wednesday delayed the start of a corruption trial for state Sen. Ronald S. Calderon until May 19, 2015, sparking new debate at the Capitol about whether he should be allowed to remain on paid suspension until his term ends in November.
The order was signed by U.S. District Judge Christina A. Snyder in Los Angeles after federal prosecutors agreed to a delay to allow Calderon's attorney more time to review evidence in the case, including 280,000 pages of bank records, business records, FBI documents, grand jury transcripts and recorded telephone calls and meetings.
The Montebello Democrat faces charges of accepting about $88,000 in bribes in exchange for official action on legislation involving film tax credits and workers' compensation rules.
Sen. Joel Anderson (R-San Diego) said the delay in the trial justifies immediate action by the Senate to expel Calderon, who the chamber had put on indefinite paid suspension in March.
"The people in his district have zero representation in Sacramento," Anderson said. "That's taxation without representation.''
However, Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) has blocked past efforts to expel Calderon, noting that he is presumed innocent until proved guilty. Rhys Williams, a spokesman for Steinberg signaled that the delay in the trial is not likely to change the Senate leader's opposition to expulsion.
"The constituents of the 30th Senate District are best served by the court's fair and speedy resolution," Williams said.