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State Senator Ron Calderon Pleads Not Guilty To Bribery, Fraud Charges

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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — State Senator Ron Calderon pleaded not guilty Monday to federal corruption charges involving bribes, kickbacks and fraud.

The Montebello politician and his 59-year-old brother, former California State Assembly member Tom M. Calderon, were indicted Thursday on 24 counts of public corruption, Department of Justice spokesman Thom Mrozek said. Calderon, who surrendered to authorities Monday, entered pleas to two dozen counts. His trial was scheduled for April.

According to the 24-count indictment (PDF), Calderon was indicted for mail fraud, wire fraud, honest services fraud, bribery, conspiracy to commit money laundering, money laundering and aiding in the filing of false tax returns.

“The alleged took the bribes in return for official acts such as supporting legislation . . .  to those that paid him bribes and opposing legislation that would be harmful to them,” U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. said.

Tom Calderon faces similar charges and surrendered Friday morning, Mrozek said. He pleaded not guilty to the charges Friday afternoon and was released on bond.

Ron Calderon did not surrender to authorities earlier because he was traveling.

“Nobody ever welcomes an indictment. We welcome the opportunity to disprove these allegations in a courtroom,” Calderon’s attorney, Mark Geragos, said.

The 56-year-old Democrat, who faces life in prison if convicted, was expected in a U.S. District Court at 2 p.m.

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