LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Former Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar Monday pleaded not guilty to bribery and other federal charges stemming from a 41-count indictment unsealed last month.
Huizar, 52, previously pleaded not guilty to a 34-count indictment that alleged a conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act in which he was accused of agreeing to accept at least $1.5 million in illicit financial benefits. The racketeering charge alleged Huizar and his co-conspirators took part in 402 overt acts to further the criminal enterprise — including bribery, honest services fraud and money laundering.READ MORE: Pasadena's Lucky Boy Burgers Sues Postmates Alleging Unfair Business Practices
The November indictment adds 50 overt acts to the RICO conspiracy count. It also charges Raymond Chan, who after serving as the general manager of the Department of Building and Safety became the city’s deputy mayor of economic development.
The new indictment also outlines 14 counts of honest services wire fraud, two counts each of honest services mail fraud and making false statements to federal law enforcement, four counts of traveling interstate in aid of racketeering, nine counts of bribery, five counts of money laundering and one count each tax evasion, structuring cash deposits to conceal bribes, making a false statement to a financial institution and alteration of records in a federal investigation.
“The scope of corruption outlined in this indictment is staggering,” U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna said last week when Chan was charged. “As the indictment alleges, Huizar, Chan and their network of associates repeatedly violated the public trust by soliciting and accepting numerous cash bribes and other financial benefits, turning Huizar’s City Council seat into a money-making criminal enterprise.READ MORE: Lynne Thompson Announced As 2021 Los Angeles Poet Laureate
“Powerful developers, operating through well-connected lobbyists, eagerly participated in the schemes to get preferential treatment for their downtown projects,” he continued. “This detailed indictment, which lays bare these backroom deals, should prompt a serious discussion as to whether significant reforms are warranted in Los Angeles city government.”
George Esparza, Huizar’s former special assistant, and real estate development consultant George Chiang each pleaded guilty earlier this year to RICO charges. Political fundraiser Justin Jangwoo Kim and longtime City Hall lobbyist Morris Goldman previously pleaded guilty to participating in a bribery scheme.
Esparza is due in court Feb. 8, Chiang and Kim are due in court Feb. 22, and Goldman in due in court Aug. 23 for sentencing.
Huizar, of Boyle Heights, has a June 22 trial date in the case.MORE NEWS: Mayor Eric Garcetti Urges Property Owners To Sign Up For City's New Program
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