A judge Thursday ordered attorneys to provide additional information before she considers a defense motion to have the federal corruption case against ex-state senator Ron Calderon thrown out based on claims of “outrageous government conduct.”
Calderon contends federal prosecutors leaked a sealed 124-page affidavit detailing the FBI’s investigation to a cable news network. The defense team believes the alleged 2013 leak to Al Jazeera America warrants dismissal of the 24-count indictment because it “irreparably” prejudiced potential jurors against the defendant, attorney Mark Geragos wrote in a court filing.
Many of the allegations against Calderon, including details of the government’s probe of the ex-senator, were revealed by Al Jazeera months before he and his brother were named in a February 2014 grand jury indictment.
U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder asked attorneys for both sides to provide additional briefings on the matter. An evidentiary hearing could eventually be scheduled.
The Oct. 30, 2013, Al Jazeera story contained descriptions and names of numerous potential witnesses, the nature of the allegations against Calderon, details of the investigation, and purported conversations with the former politician. The article mentioned that the affidavit was “still under seal.”
Snyder also denied a motion by lawyers for onetime assemblyman Tom Calderon to have him tried separately from his brother on federal corruption charges.
“There is enough overlap of evidence” that the cases should be tried together, the judge said at a previous hearing.
The judge also rejected a defense effort to suppress evidence found in the search of the state capitol in June 2013.
The trial is expected to start in March of next year.
The Calderon brothers were indicted on two-dozen counts, which include wire fraud, mail fraud, honest services fraud, bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds, conspiracy to commit money laundering, money laundering, and aiding in the filing of false tax returns.
Ron Calderon is accused of accepting $80,000 in bribes, as well as gourmet meals and golf outings, from a medical company owner and an undercover FBI agent posing as a film executive.
He was suspended from the Senate in March 2014, and his term in office ended last November.
– City News Service