Suspended Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar, facing allegations that he ran a $1.5 million pay-to-play scheme at City Hall tied to the approval of large building projects, was free on bail Wednesday evening.
Huizar “intends to respond to the government’s allegations in court,” Huizar’s attorneys Vicki Podberesky and Mary Carter Andrues said in a statement.
“He firmly believes that these matters should be handled in a court of law and not in the media. Councilman Huizar requests that the press respect the privacy of his family and children,” they said.
Federal prosecutors accuse Huizar, 51, of accepting $1.5 million in bribes from developers in exchange for his support of downtown building projects. He was stripped of all his committee assignments in November 2018, following FBI searches of his home and offices, and he recently scaled back his legislative activity at the request of Council President Nury Martinez.
Following Huizar’s arrest Tuesday at his home in Boyle Heights, Martinez introduced an emergency motion to suspend Huizar. The council does not have the authority to remove Huizar from office because he has not been convicted.
Huizar made his initial federal court appearance Tuesday afternoon by videoconference from a downtown lockup before U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul L. Abrams, who ordered Huizar released on a $100,000 bond. Huizar was not asked to enter a plea, but a July 20 arraignment and a July 14 preliminary hearing were both tentatively set.