Councilman Argues He Was Entrapped by FBI
Santa Ana Councilman Ted R. Moreno said Thursday that he agreed to help an FBI informant obtain a liquor license in exchange for $31,000 in campaign contributions but argued that he was entrapped by the government.
Though Moreno said repeatedly that he was set up and threatened by the informant, he also testified that he was upset with his appointee to the Santa Ana Planning Commission for siding with other commissioners in turning down the beer and wine permit sought by the government agent.
In one conversation taped by FBI agents after the planning agency’s action, Moreno is heard telling the informant, Victor Koshkerian, “If they’re all in there . . . you’ll get what you want.”
Prosecutors said it was a reference to Moreno’s promise to get City Council candidates Hector Olivares and Roman Palacios to vote for the liquor permit in exchange for $31,000 in contributions to their campaigns by Koshkerian. Olivares and Palacios later lost their bids for office.
Moreno’s explanation of that conversation was, “I told him I would get him his liquor license. I would get the guys [Olivares and Palacios] to do what he wants. I wanted him out of my life.”
Moreno completed his second day on the witness stand, a grueling session in which Assistant U.S. Atty. John Hueston hammered away and succeeded in getting Moreno to admit that he lied and solicited illegal cash donations.
In one tape recording, in response to Moreno’s challenge, Koshkerian promised he was not working for law enforcement. The informant then turned the conversation around, reminding Moreno, “Ted, you came to see me.” To which Moreno responded, “That’s true.”
Koshkerian expressed disappointment with Moreno’s lack of trust. “I don’t think we should do business if you don’t trust me.”
“I have to protect myself,” Moreno answered.