The G-Man, the Shrimp Scam and Sacramento’s Big Sting : FBI AGENT JAMES WEDICK’S UNDERCOVER OPERATION NETTED 14 PUBLIC OFFICIALS. BUT HAS IT CHANGED THE WAY THE STATE LEGISLATURE WORKS?
At the prosecution table in a wood-paneled federal courtroom in Sacramento sits FBI agent James J. Wedick Jr. His suit and tie are as drab as any plainclothes cop’s, but there is something that sets him apart: the long brown hair, flecked with gray; the salt-and-pepper beard; the half-glasses that give him an almost scholarly air. For nearly a decade, through endless stakeouts, a failed marriage and bureaucratic hurdles, Wedick, 44, has spearheaded the most ambitious political corruption investigation in California history. Infiltrating the world of back-room deals and $1,000-a-plate dinners, he and his team snared five lawmakers, Sacramento’s top lobbyist, a coastal commissioner and various aides. So far, they have not lost a case.
At the defense table is state Sen. Frank C. Hill. From the moment he was elected to the Assembly in 1982 at the age of 28, Hill seemed ticketed for statewide office. Popular with his colleagues, the Whittier lawmaker was in the inner circle of the Assembly Republican leadership, and he regularly lunched with the governor. Handsome. Brash. Always smiling. A prodigious fund-raiser. But Hill now faces charges that he extorted $2,500 from an undercover agent. His political career is in shreds, his legal bills mounting, and each of the three counts of extortion, money laundering and conspiracy against him carries a maximum prison term of 20 years.
As the lead-off witness against Hill last May, Wedick tells jurors that 12 years earlier, a “cooperating witness” told him that $30,000 could buy special-interest legislation in California. Wedick was happy to hear it, because he realized he had an opportunity to prove that lawmaking in the nation’s most populous state was for sale. It confirmed his worst suspicions that California’s reputation for squeaky clean politics was a facade, that it was as unsavory as the old Tammany Hall in his native New York City.
Why was it necessary, the prosecutor asks him, to set up a phony shrimp business to ensnare Hill and other legislators? It’s the nature of the crime, Wedick instructs the jurors. In a bank robbery, the FBI is notified almost instantaneously. But political corruption is harder to detect. If a lobbyist “bribed a state legislator,” he says, “he is not likely to report it to us and neither is the legislator.”
When Hill’s lawyer takes his turn, he tries to get Wedick to discredit a former Hill aide named Karin Watson, who is expected to provide crucial testimony. The lawyer presses Wedick to admit that the FBI entrapped Watson by plying her with expensive champagne. Wedick concedes that during secretly recorded conversations, Watson “sounded like she had a lot to drink.” The defense attorney shoots back, “Didn’t that concern you?” Wedick, an experienced witness, turns the question into an opportunity to slam Hill. “My chief concern was that I had a criminal violation,” he bristles. Watson, he points out, “arranged for Frank Hill to co-author a bill for $10,000 long before” she was given champagne by an undercover informant.
Almost 100 miles southwest of the courthouse lies the Federal Prison Camp at Dublin. A neatly landscaped flower garden greets visitors to the complex of refurbished Army barracks that house the 300 nonviolent, white-collar inmates. Assigned four to a room, prisoners can place their own phone calls and spend as much as $165 a month at the commissary on such items as typewriter ribbon and perfume oils. There’s no razor wire or chain link encircling the facility. In fact, there’s no fence at all.
The camp has become a satellite of the state Capitol. On a recent day, former Assembly Republican Leader Pat Nolan, now prisoner 06833-097, scurries up a staircase, flashing a smile. A bulletin board lists former Coastal Commissioner Mark L. Nathanson--dubbed “commissioner to the stars” because of the help he offered prominent Hollywood figures--as a member of the prison’s Toastmasters Club. So is onetime Assembly aide Tyrone Netters. Ex-legislative aide Darryl Freeman is also at the camp. Clayton R. Jackson, a hulking former college football player who became the Capitol’s top lobbyist, waits for a visit from state Sen. Nicholas C. Petris.
Jackson and the four others at Dublin are among the 12 public officials arrested, indicted and convicted in Wedick’s undercover operation. They once shaped the laws of California. Today, they are cutting weeds, fixing toilets or cooking meals, serving an average of four years in prison. Like them, Hill advanced his career in a political culture that relies on hefty campaign contributions as the currency of political action.
Wedick breached that system and exposed how fund-raising is interwoven into the fabric of lawmaking and can be a form of bribery. His zealotry has made him perhaps the most hated man in Sacramento. Defenders of Hill and others targeted by the FBI assail Wedick as a rogue agent who abused the powers of the federal government. Sacramento lawyer Donald H. Heller, Jackson’s attorney, describes Wedick as “a very aggressive agent. I think his greatest strength is his greatest failing. He’s so dogged in his pursuit of truth that anything that doesn’t fit his view must be a lie.”
But a few lobbyists and reformers voice admiration for Wedick, saying he has inspired a long overdue housecleaning and revealed the inherently corrupting nature of fund-raising. Perhaps, more than anything else, Wedick’s investigation has given Californians a disturbing view of how they govern themselves.
Late on a summer evening, James Wedick--Jimmy to some of his friends--is still at work in a 12-foot-square, windowless room in the FBI’s Sacramento office. As a special agent, he earns about $80,000 a year, including two hours a day of mandatory “overtime,” but he works even longer, usually by himself. Battered file cabinets, sagging steel shelves and cardboard boxes hem in the table that serves as his desk. Wedick’s colleagues jokingly call his room “the pit” or “the vortex.” It seems a suitable home for an agent known for his obsessiveness.
For as long as he can remember, Wedick says, he wanted to be an FBI agent. At 14, he even wrote the bureau for career guidance. But his request for information was mistaken as a job application, triggering a call from a recruiter who wanted to sign him up immediately. It took Wedick almost 10 minutes to straighten out the FBI official, who ended the conversation abruptly after promising to send a copy of “The FBI Story.”
Wedick, who was raised in the Bronx, is the son of a New York City Fire Department battalion chief. He landed his first FBI job at the age of 20--as a part-time clerk. He later began working 40 hours a week while pursuing a degree at Fordham University. Living on Staten Island at the time, he caught up on his sleep on subways and ferries while commuting four hours a day. “That’s what my father taught me,” Wedick says. “It was the work ethic all the way.”
He became an agent at 23, the youngest in his training class. What he liked about the job was the action, the rush of apprehending hard-core criminals. “I personally never wanted to work white-collar crime and public corruption,” he says. He was chasing bank robbers and fugitives in the late 1970s in Gary, Ind., when a fellow agent, a gregarious Southerner named John E. (Jack) Brennan, asked him to help out in an undercover, white-collar crime case. “I will only work this one case,” Wedick told his friend. The case, code-named Operation Fountain Pen, “got bigger and bigger, until it consumed me,” he says. Wedick hasn’t worked bank robbery since.
The chief target was Phil Kitzer, a Minnesota swindler who specialized in selling worthless securities from phantom offshore enterprises with names like the First City National Bank of Haiti. (One of Kitzer’s claims was that he participated in the theft--by fraud--of Elvis Presley’s private jet.) For 10 months, an unsuspecting Kitzer flew Brennan and Wedick around the world, introducing them to, among others, a New York mobster who once threatened to throw the pair out of a hotel window.
After intense days of posing as a con artist, Brennan would want to leave the office and relax with his family. Wedick, on the other hand, would stay until 2 in the morning. Others who worked with him were struck that he was able to go from morning to night without stopping to eat. Wedick agrees that his job is “almost like an addiction,” leading to the dissolution of his first marriage.
Operation Fountain Pen ended with the conviction of dozens of con men across the country, including Kitzer. It spawned another, more renowned sting operation, Abscam, which deployed agents and informants, some disguised as Arab royalty, as bait for grifters and--as it turned out--members of Congress. Wedick had blown his cover by then so he was merely a supporting player in Abscam, but the case gave him his first taste of exposing political corruption. And he was hooked.
The bureau, fearing mob reprisals from Operation Fountain Pen, reassigned him to Sacramento in 1978. As he was settling in, Wedick received a tip from Marv Levin, then a consultant with a nonprofit agency that issued government-guaranteed loans to small businesses. The two had struck up a friendship soon after Wedick arrived in Sacramento, sometimes meeting in a local park while tending their children. (Wedick’s son from his first marriage is now a teen-ager; he also has a preschool-aged daughter.)
Levin, who had done some lobbying, told Wedick of conversations with an Assembly aide who claimed that legislation could be bought for a price in the state Capitol. Levin, who had been a whistle-blower while working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, had a sharpened sense of outrage at a state government that he regarded as corrupt. Wedick says Levin’s news didn’t surprise him. An FBI probe in the late ‘70s of the Capitol had ended without any convictions. But Wedick realized that if he could persuade Levin to wear a hidden recording device--a wire--then he might be able to get the proof he needed to launch an investigation that would nail corrupt politicians.
For three years, while Wedick worked on a series of high-profile white-collar cases, he ruminated about ways to infiltrate the Legislature, sometimes talking it over with Brennan, now assigned to Mobile, Ala. While driving by a Sacramento fish market specializing in shrimp, the pair concocted the idea of setting up a bogus business that would import gourmet shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico to a growing market in Northern California. The home office would be established in Mobile. The company would need a special-interest measure to help it qualify for a loan guaranteed by the state. Undercover operatives would then approach lawmakers and their aides for help in moving their bill through the system. If the officials were corrupt--if payoffs were necessary--the FBI would write the checks. All conversations and transactions would be taped--the kind of evidence that juries could not ignore.
Officials at FBI headquarters were intrigued by the scheme, but initially turned it down. The federal government had never authorized an operation that pushed phony legislation as a way to catch crooked state lawmakers; there was also concern that the investigation would be an unwarranted intervention by the federal government into state politics. Still, Wedick persisted, arguing that an undercover operation was the only way to penetrate a political system that has its own code of silence. “From Day One, the bureau was leery about getting involved with a state Legislature in this kind of intrusive way,” Wedick says.
In October, 1985, with the help of two assistant U.S. attorneys, David F. Levi and George L. O’Connell, Wedick got the go-ahead from the Justice Department for the investigation, which included $100,000 for bribes. The project was code-named Brispec, for bribery-special interest, but later, when it became public, the press dubbed it “shrimpscam.”
So concerned was FBI headquarters over the sting that it gave Wedick and the prosecutors only six months to show that they could deliver. During the next three years, "(t)here were several times that tempers exploded and we really thought at several junctures that the thing was just going to blow up,” says former Assistant U.S. Atty. John P. Panneton, who prosecuted the first of the Brispec cases. “Wedick and his crew would basically have to justify continuing the operation and (the Department of Justice) didn’t want to pay any more money.”
Wedick spent months setting up the bogus business, fussing over every detail. There were corporate papers to draw up, a checking account to open, stationery to print and phony correspondence to generate. Brennan would become John E. Gordon, president of Gulf Shrimp Fisheries, Inc. on Airport Boulevard in Mobile, and the secretary-treasurer of the corporation would be Gordon’s invented brother, James J. Gordon--none other than James J. Wedick.
As the probe moved fitfully, Wedick relied on his friend Marv Levin. Overweight and with a history of heart problems, Levin doesn’t look like a spy. In fact, he is something of a klutz--he once failed to change the batteries on his FBI-issued pager because he didn’t want to waste the government’s money.
Tapping into his experience as a lobbyist, Levin helped Wedick craft the bill so that it was customized for one company only--Gulf Shrimp Fisheries. To qualify for a low-interest loan, according to the proposal, a company had to “import to the State of California low-fat, high-protein foodstuffs that are not native to the coast and State of California.” Only such businesses in the counties of Sacramento or Yolo--where Gulf Shrimp had its local office--need apply.
The legislative aides who helped maneuver the measure around procedural barriers were soon soliciting money for themselves and their bosses’ campaigns, and agent Brennan was ready to comply. Securing the required approval from Washington on short notice, though, proved difficult. Wedick and his Sacramento boss, Terry Knowles, recall frantic attempts in August, 1986, to reach FBI Director William H. Webster for approval to make $28,000 in payoffs. Calling through the night, they were finally able to persuade an assistant director to authorize the payment, just hours before the 8 a.m. meeting.
In all, Wedick and his team paid out $60,000 in bribes in 1986, and before they were done, they would shell out at least $25,000 more. The bill passed, but as had been agreed, the FBI tipped off then Gov. George Deukmejian about the sting and he vetoed the legislation. Prosecutors thought they had accumulated sufficient evidence to indict at least four individuals, including one prominent legislator--Sen. Paul B. Carpenter, a Democrat from Cypress, and one of his top aides, John A. Shahabian.
But no arrests were made so that the probe could remain secret. Authorities realized they needed to “flip” one of the insiders they had caught in the act and use him to further penetrate the Legislature’s corruption. Wedick and prosecutors debated who would be likely to cooperate. They settled on Shahabian. A chunk of a man with strikingly dark hair and a mustache, he was independent-minded with few illusions about the Legislature. He was also a devoted father and regularly attended the Armenian Apostolic Church. Most important, he was not likely to put loyalty to his boss ahead of his own and his family’s interests.
Marv Levin was now about to perform his most sensitive undercover job. Levin, who in real life was pushing to develop a posh marina in West Sacramento, prevailed on Shahabian to join him for an unusual 7 a.m. meeting on Sept. 10, 1987, with federal fish and game officials, supposedly to iron out differences over the Gulf Shrimp Fisheries project. Arriving at a federal office complex in suburban Sacramento, Shahabian entered what appeared to be the office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, complete with a large seal on the entry door. Levin led the legislative aide into an unmarked suite of offices. He vanished and Shahabian was met by someone he describes as “a striking woman,” who flashed an FBI badge and greeted him by name. The agent was Nancy Eddington, who had recently been assigned to Wedick’s team. (Three years later, Eddington and Wedick were married.)
Shahabian was supposed to think that agents had been working around the clock to nail him. To heighten the illusion, agents had not shaved and had extinguished dozens of cigarettes in boxes of stale pizza. There were also audio and photographic props. An anxious Shahabian faintly could hear secretly taped conversations of himself and Levin. Blown-up surveillance photos were tacked on the walls, showing him with his children. Another shot showed him accepting a sizable campaign contribution.
After a few minutes, he was taken to the office of the FBI’s special agent in charge, Terry Knowles. Reciting from a carefully constructed script, Knowles told Shahabian, “This is the most important day of your life.” Shahabian remembers thinking to himself, “It’s shaping up to be a pretty bad day.”
After Knowles finished making his pitch, Shahabian was guided into a room, where he met Wedick. Shahabian, who was told that he could face a possible 20-year prison term, decided to talk. “I had nothing but my wits against an array of agents and U.S. attorneys,” he now says. “Wedick was basically the bad cop. It was his job to stay in my face. He’s not a friendly guy. Not a backslapper or a charmer.”
Shahabian recalls Wedick badgering him to make a commitment, like a prison camp commandant pressing a POW to cooperate. Wedick doesn’t deny that he was blunt and confrontational. “At different times, John would change his story from basically admitting it to not admitting it to admitting it.” At the end of 15 hours--during which he was repeatedly told that he could leave if he wanted--Shahabian agreed to cooperate.
This is Wedick’s specialty, his niche in the bureau. He is the inquisitor, the tough guy who works to “turn” miscreants into willing allies. Typically, once they commit, he becomes “a soft guy,” their best friend, their confidant and protector, for the life of the investigation. Prosecutor O’Connell, now a private attorney, describes Wedick’s talent “as father confessor, as rabbi with all the characters he deals with.”
Shahabian provided testimony that contributed to Carpenter’s downfall and vital introductions that led to the prosecution of Hill and others. He was granted immunity from prosecution. But in the spring of 1993, Shahabian accused Wedick and other authorities of “unethical police methods” and “deceit.” He charges that Wedick distorted transcripts of his secretly recorded conversations and deleted key passages. Wedick, who steadfastly has denied any improprieties, still wonders why he couldn’t befriend Shahabian the same way he did other informants. He still gets calls from con man Kitzer. Ex-legislative aide Karin Watson hugged Wedick warmly after she was only sentenced to probation in exchange for her testimony against Hill.
Whatever Shahabian’s misgivings, his hundreds of hours of secretly recorded conversations with lawmakers and their aides were exactly what the authorities needed to prove criminal wrongdoing. Quoting from the tapes, Wedick persuaded a federal magistrate to allow a historic 1988 raid on the Capitol offices of Frank Hill, then an assemblyman, and three other lawmakers, Assemblyman Pat Nolan (R-Glendale), Sen. Joseph B. Montoya (D-Whittier) and Assemblywoman Gwen Moore (D-Los Angeles). Moore was the only one not prosecuted.
“This is Jim Wedick. Today’s date is July 10th, Wednesday, 1991. The time is approximately 7:39 a.m. in the morning. I’m with Alan Robbins. He’s going to, he’s about to meet with Clay Jackson at the El Rancho Hotel.”
With this terse send-off, Wedick directed Robbins, a San Fernando Valley Democratic senator, to a breakfast meeting with Jackson, a cigar-chomping, 6-foot-6, 300-pound attorney. Corporate clients paid Jackson’s firm, SRJ Jackson, Barish & Associates, more than $2 million a year to represent their interests in the state Legislature, making it the highest-grossing lobbying firm at the Capitol. Wearing a wire and transmitter, Robbins walked into the aging West Sacramento motel for his rendezvous with Jackson. Wedick and two prosecutors parked nearby to eavesdrop.
Just a month earlier during a meeting at the Hyatt Regency hotel, Robbins had agreed to cooperate with Wedick. The FBI’s suspicions about him were aroused during the fight over the 1986 shrimp bill, when an aide to the senator solicited a $500 contribution from Gulf Shrimp Fisheries. But Robbins wasn’t targeted by Wedick until several years later, when a San Diego hotel developer charged that the senator had extorted $250,000 from him. What clinched the case was Wedick’s discovery that Robbins was laundering this and other payoffs, directing the money to a stable of girlfriends, including a stripper and a former prostitute, on the payroll of a Santa Monica public relations firm.
Savvy, intelligent, manipulative, the deeply tanned and well-dressed Robbins irritated his colleagues with his brashness almost from the moment he arrived in Sacramento in 1973. Robbins, who made millions of dollars as a land developer, seemed to always have a hidden agenda. In 1981, his career was almost derailed when he faced charges that he had had sex with two 16-year-old girls. He was acquitted and his legislative career thrived as he raised huge contributions from the insurance industry and other special interests. As a champion fund-raiser, Robbins was tolerated by his colleagues, even though he was one of the most disliked members of the Legislature. So it came as no surprise that he was a target of prosecutors.
Confronted with overwhelming evidence, Robbins signed on as an enthusiastic member of Wedick’s team, agreeing to plead guilty and cooperate in exchange for a lighter sentence. Over breakfast with Jackson, he would try to get the insurance lobbyist to put a price on a worker’s compensation bill important to his clients.
As Jackson was about to have his coffee refilled, Robbins asked him for “a quantification” of what he was prepared to pay for his help on the bill.
“You mean how important it is to the comp people?” Jackson asked a few seconds later.
“Immense . . .I could probably put something together on this in two days.”
“Maybe a quarter?”
The shorthand phrase--an offer of a $250,000 bribe--was what the prosecutors needed to convict Jackson, who is now appealing.
Jackson’s attorney, Donald H. Heller, repeatedly objected to the FBI’s use of Robbins, an admitted felon, as an undercover operative. The most vocal of the defense lawyers in the sting cases, he also attacked FBI tactics that he claimed were intended to intimidate witnesses. In a confidential letter to the court, Heller contended that Wedick attempted to scare off potential character witnesses for Jackson by asking them about his sexual relationships, which were unrelated to the charges against him. These questions were “calculated to intimidate prospective defense witnesses and smear Mr. Jackson’s good name in Mr. Jackson’s community,” Heller complained. As Heller’s letter makes clear, however, Wedick first got approval for the questions about Jackson’s sexual behavior from the U.S. attorney’s office.
Aided by Robbins, the government also built a case against Coastal Commissioner Nathanson, a Beverly Hills real estate broker who had helped Robbins shake down the San Diego developer. Wedick also turned up evidence that Nathanson had sought to extort cash from such Hollywood figures as Sylvester Stallone, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Barry Diller for building permits for their beachfront homes. Nathanson eventually pleaded guilty to using his office as a criminal enterprise and was sentenced to 57 months in prison. Robbins originally was sentenced to five years, but because of his cooperation on these cases, a judge later cut the term to 24 months. He was released early from custody in March.
A jury takes only eight hours to find Frank Hill guilty of three counts of extortion, conspiracy and money laundering. Wedick’s record is still perfect: 14 convictions and no losses. Even before the Hill trial ends in mid-June, the FBI flies Wedick and his wife to Washington, D.C., so that he can receive an “award for excellence” from director Louis J. Freeh. The citation credits Wedick with initiating the Capitol probe and pursuing it “despite initial opposition to the plan.” It is a surprising acknowledgment of the resistance that the probe generated. The trophy, an inscribed circle of leaded glass mounted on a wooden base, is the only sign of his achievement in the family room of his suburban Sacramento home.
Several days after the Hill verdict, wearing shorts and a T-shirt, the sunburned agent finally seems to have unwound. “Totally amazing” is how he describes the outcome, saying that the government never dreamed the operation would be as successful as it was.
Sipping tonic, he ticks off what he sees as the larger repercussions of his probe, including the 1990 ballot initiatives that instituted legislative term limits and a strict code of ethics that bars honorariums like the one that Hill took from an undercover agent. “We clearly got some of the big players down here,” Wedick says. “But we didn’t get them all. There’s more of a leeriness if someone starts to talk about money and legislation in the same breath.”
While Wedick is proud of such progress, he has no illusions that he has transformed the culture of Sacramento. His investigation has certainly not curtailed massive fund-raising, especially during the end of the legislative session in August, when lawmakers stage dozens of events around the Capitol just as they are about to vote on controversial bills.
Wedick is especially dismayed that Hill continues to have his defenders and that his colleagues were reluctant to expel him from office. Senate Republican Leader Ken Maddy, who testified on Hill’s behalf, explained to reporters that many lawmakers regard Hill as a good friend. Maddy questioned whether Hill would have been convicted outside of Sacramento. “I think he was more a victim of circumstances and the venue than he is of committing a crime,” Maddy said.
In mid-September, Wedick heads for the federal courthouse for the last act in the FBI sting. Hill, who finally resigned in July, is about to be sentenced. Wedick’s dress is sharper than usual: instead of his usual white shirt, he’s wearing a blue-striped one he borrowed from his son.
In the courthouse, Wedick walks past Hill’s family and supporters into the courtroom of Judge Edward J. Garcia. When Hill and his co-defendant, former Democratic Senate aide Terry E. Frost, are called to the bench, the ruddy-faced Hill appeals to Garcia for mercy, reiterating his innocence. But throughout the proceeding, Garcia makes it clear that he views Hill as a liar. “The jury didn’t believe him (at the trial),” says Garcia, “nor did I.”
Still, moved by letters of support on Hill’s behalf, Garcia sentences the former state senator to a relatively light 46 months in prison. Frost receives 21 months. (Both are now in the Federal Prison Camp near Boron, with appeals pending.) In the lobby of the courthouse, tearful friends and relatives comfort and embrace Hill. As Faye Hill walks by the agent who dreamed up the sting that caught her husband, she snarls, “They’d better hold me back.”
“If Faye Hill thinks I get a kick sending Frank Hill to prison,” Wedick says later, “I don’t.” There is some drive in him, however, that makes him want to root out wrongdoing, and it won’t let him rest. “I just can’t give up the chase.”
Today, although he won’t discuss it, Wedick is pursuing allegations that elected officials in Fresno and Clovis sold their votes on land-use issues to developers. He has also kept track of ex-Sen. Paul Carpenter, recently extradited from Costa Rica, where he fled after his 1993 conviction for mail fraud, obstruction of justice, conspiracy and money-laundering.
But he hasn’t turned away from the Capitol, where he remains a bete noire for many of the Old Guard who believe that but for happenstance, they could be sitting in a federal prison camp in the place of their former colleagues. During the Hill trial, Assembly Republicans threw one of their usual fund-raisers at the Hyatt, this one attended by Gov. Pete Wilson. Afterward, several lobbyists spotted Wedick in the lobby. Some thought he had come to spy, which he denies. They complained to him about the targets of his probe. “They were saying, ‘You got the wrong guys,’ ” Wedick recalls. “My reply was, ‘There are (crooked) guys? Who are they? If you have the information, let’s start with you.’ ”
(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)
Agent Weddick’s Catch
FORMER SEN. PAUL CARPENTER (D-Cypress) Convicted of mail fraud, money laundering and other charges. Recently extradited. Sentencing set Dec. 19.
FORMER SEN. FRANK HILL (R-Whittier) Convicted of extortion, conspiracy and money laundering. Sentenced to 46 months.
FORMER SEN. ALAN ROBBINS (D-San Fernando Valley) Convicted of racketeering and tax evasion. Freed after 21 months.
FORMER ASSEMBLYMAN PAT NOLAN (R-Glendale) Convicted of racketeering. Sentenced to 33 months.
FORMER SEN. JOSEPH MONTOYA (D-Whittier) Convicted of racketeering and money laundering. Sentenced to 72 months.
FORMER COASTAL COMMISSIONER MARK NATHANSON. Convicted of felony racketeering. Sentenced to 57 months.
FORMER LOBBYIST CLAYTON JACKSON. Convicted of racketeering, mail fraud and money laundering. Sentenced to 78 months.