Court Papers Reveal Informants In Corruption Sting
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Newly unsealed court documents say one of California State Sen. Ron Calderon’s own aides and a former member of the state Assembly staff assisted the FBI in the corruption sting that ensnared the politician.
The papers which were unsealed Thursday and obtained by the AP on Friday, gave 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.
Reacting to disclosure of the moles who cooperated in the sting of Calderon, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg’s spokesman issued a statement on his behalf condoning their actions.
“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 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 is charged in a 24-count federal indictment with accepting $100,000 in bribes, among other charges.
The documents portrayed 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 noted that Calderon sometimes accessed his personal email and used it for official business.
The documents said that Steve advised the FBI what to look for and where in Calderon’s office. But they said that Steve was not told about an 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 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.
(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)