LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A former mayor of Rosemead pleaded guilty Monday to federal charges of attempted witness tampering and lying to the FBI.
John Tran, 38, just last year withdrew a guilty plea to a charge of accepting bribes while he was on the Rosemead City Council. He faces up to 25 years in federal prison when he is sentenced in April.
An updated indictment in May charged Tran with bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds, extortion, attempted witness tampering and making false statements to a government agency. Tran’s attorney, Michael Zweiback, successfully argued last December that key background information about the chief witness in the case was not disclosed to the defense prior to Tran’s plea, which the judge allowed Tran to withdraw.
Prosecutors say a property developer made a series of payments to Tran, who first approached the developer at Rosemead City Hall. Tran was accused of accepting a total of $38,000 in cash between 2005 and 2007 in exchange for his promise to help obtain permits for a development project.
After the payments were made, Tran was voted out of office, the city rejected the project and Tran never returned any of the cash, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
In his plea agreement, Tran admitted to instructing the developer to give false testimony to a federal grand jury and to lying to the FBI when he told investigators that he never accepted money from the developer, other than campaign contributions of no more than $2,000.
Tran was elected to the Rosemead City Council in 2005 and served as mayor from 2007 to 2009. He is also a former El Monte Union High School District board member and one-time Assembly candidate.
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