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Court orders U.S. government to respond to Calderon leak complaint

Courts and the JudiciaryCrime, Law and JusticeJustice SystemLaws and LegislationFBIRon Calderon

SACRAMENTO -- A federal court on Thursday ordered the U.S. attorney’s office and the FBI to respond to a complaint by state Sen. Ronald S. Calderon (D-Montebello) that federal officials should be held in contempt of court for leaking a sealed FBI affidavit that alleges the lawmaker accepted bribes.

U.S. District Judge Troy L. Nunley is handling the case, and his courtroom deputy sent federal prosecutors and Calderon an "order requiring a joint status report" on the allegations of a leak and whether they can be resolved through mediation or settlement talks.

The court order asks for "any other matters that may be conducive to the just and expeditious disposition of the case."

Calderon’s attorney on Wednesday filed a motion with the court seeking sanctions against federal prosecutors, alleging that they have a history of confidential documents being leaked to the media.

The complaint notes that Assistant U.S. Atty. Doug Miller, who is heading the Calderon investigation, was also a prosecutor in a grand jury case looking into doping allegations against professional cyclists, including Lance Armstrong.

The U.S. attorney’s office last year decided against filing criminal charges against Armstrong after the cyclist’s attorneys alleged in court papers that government sources had leaked confidential grand jury information "with the transparent agenda of publicly smearing Armstrong and aggrandizing the government's investigation."

This week’s court filing by Mark Geragos, the attorney for Calderon, alleges that the FBI and the U.S. attorney’s office have “engaged in a campaign to smear the reputation of Senator Calderon and convict him in the press and public before a grand jury was assembled and while it was hearing evidence.”

Calderon is looking for sanctions against the federal government.

"The leaks of sealed records in this case are calculated to fast track and strong-arm a meritless case against Senator Calderon through the grand jury process and then apparently shame Senator Calderon into accepting a plea agreement," Geragos argued in the complaint.

The leaked FBI affidavit alleges that Calderon accepted $88,000 in bribes to affect legislation extending tax credits to the film industry and change workers’ compensation laws.

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Decades after last big case, feds are back in the Capitol

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patrick.mcgreevy@latimes.com

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