MONTEBELLO (CBS/AP) — The Federal Bureau of Investigation Tuesday searched the Sacramento and Montebello offices of a California state senator, along with the Legislature’s Latino Caucus office, in connection to allegations of criminal wrongdoing.
Spokeswoman Laura Eimiller of the FBI office in Los Angeles said search warrants were served about 3 p.m. Six to eight agents left the Capitol more than six hours later carrying at least a half-dozen boxes and what appeared to be a computer hard drive.
Senate Chief Sergeant-at-Arms Tony Beard later confirmed the target of the search was Democratic Sen. Ron Calderon, who represents Montebello, Whittier, Bell, Pico Rivera, South Gate and La Mirada, among other cities.
“This afternoon, agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation served search warrants in the state Capitol at the office of Senator Ron Calderon and in the Legislative Office Building at the Latino Legislative Caucus office. Those warrants are sealed by order of the federal court; therefore we have no further information. The Senate has and will continue to fully cooperate with the agents in this matter,” he said.
The Los Angeles Times reported the search could be due to complaints about “big money” water contract awards, including one that went to the senator’s brother, Tom Calderon.
Former Assemblyman Charles Calderon, another one of the senator’s brothers, told the Sacramento Bee that he was shocked by the situation.
“Right now we don’t know any facts, and without facts you speculate about the worst. But I know Ron and…I am very confident that he’ll be able to work through this and that when the facts do come out they will show him to have not been involved in anything,” he said.
Calderon did not immediately return a message left on his cellphone. His spokesman, Rocky Rushing, said he could not comment and referred calls to Los Angeles attorney Mark Geragos.
“This is a leak from the U.S. Department of Justice. They should be ashamed of themselves,” said Geragos.
The high-profile attorney said he does not know what the FBI is investigating or if others also are targets of the investigation.
He contended the Justice Department is targeting his client, a Democrat, as “a bait and switch” to mute congressional Republicans’ outcry over recent disclosures, including that the department obtained telephone records from AP reporters and editors and private emails from a Fox News correspondent.
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