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Ex-Cudahy Officials Appear In Court To Face Bribery, Corruption Charges

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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Three former Cudahy city officials appeared in court Thursday and agreed to plead guilty to federal extortion and bribery charges.

Former city councilman Osvaldo Conde, former Mayor David Silva and former City Manager Angel Perales faced a judge in Los Angeles and were told to return at the end of the month.

“He’s not a thug,” said Carlos Juarez, Perales’ attorney. “He really can’t comment about the case. We’re in the middle of the initial proceedings and he’s accepted responsibility and put everything behind him.”

Perales did not answer questions from reporters.

According to court documents, Perales was heard on audio tape, telling an FBI informant that allegedly gave him $15,000 in cash to split the money with Conde and Silva, “This is the way we do business in Cudahy.”

Conde, who resigned from his position last week, has agreed to plead guilty to accepting bribes and political corruption charges.

“Mr. Conde made mistakes. He understands he made mistakes. Those mistakes crossed the line in terms of criminal responsibility,” said Manny Medrano, an attorney representing Conde.

“He realizes now he should have not gone down that road and with today’s court appearance he is accepting, unequivocally, 100 percent responsibility for what he did,” said Medrano.

Silva avoided media cameras by exiting through a back entrance, but told CBS2 and KCAL9 reporter David Lopez, “I’m very sorry for all of this.”

“They are part of a larger investigation whether they are the main targets or minor targets,” said Joseph Akrotirianakis, Assistant U.S. Attorney.

Silva, Perales and Conde were charged in a criminal complaint unsealed last month, accusing them of demanding and accepting bribes to approve the opening of a marijuana dispensary in Cudahy, said Akrotirianakis.

All three face up to 30 years in federal prison and fines of $500,000 each, according to Akrotirianakis.

The three ex-Cudahy officials are due back in court on July 30.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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