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Court papers reveal informants in California corruption sting

Ron Calderon

FILE - In this June 10, 2013, file photo, State Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, left, holds a news conference at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

By
From page A4 | June 07, 2014 |

LOS ANGELES — Newly unsealed court documents say one of California state Sen. Ron Calderon’s own aides, along with a former state Assembly employee, assisted the FBI in the corruption sting that ensnared the politician.

The papers, obtained by The Associated Press on Friday, provide new details of the FBI’s six-year investigation of Calderon and his brother, Tom, a former assemblyman. Both men face trial in September on corruption charges.

The documents refer to FBI informants known by the pseudonyms “Steve” and “Sam” who met regularly with investigators and shared texts and emails from Calderon.

“I think it does show that if someone is aware of malfeasance on behalf of somebody else, that they don’t turn a blind eye,” said Mark Hedlund, a spokesman for Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento. “They did the right thing and went to the right place.”

Steve was described as holding a high-level position on Ron Calderon’s staff and Sam as previously holding a high level advisory position in the California Assembly.

Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, is charged in a 24-count federal indictment with accepting $100,000 in bribes, among other charges. His attorney, Mark Geragos, did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

The documents portray Steve as the main mole in Calderon’s office, sharing emails between himself and Calderon with the FBI. It said he also pointed FBI agents to bill files and computers kept in Calderon’s Senate office and told agents that Calderon sometimes accessed his personal email and used it for official business.

The documents, first disclosed by the Los Angeles Daily News, say Steve was not told that he was unknowingly participating in an independent FBI sting involving a request for legislation changing the allowable amounts of film tax credits.

Also released were authorizations for searches of Ron Calderon’s electronic communications over his cellphone as well as his AOL email account and what it calls his iCloud email account.

Calderon, a member of a powerful Democratic political dynasty, has pleaded not guilty to 24 counts involving various forms of fraud along with conspiracy, money laundering and aiding the filing of false tax returns.

He has been suspended from the California Senate as the case proceeds and is free on bail. His brother Tom also pleaded not guilty.

If convicted on all counts, Ron Calderon could face nearly 400 years in federal prison. His brother, if convicted, could face a maximum penalty of 160 years, prosecutors said.

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

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