The judge overseeing the public corruption case involving ex-Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar agreed Monday to put off the trial until next year.
Citing concerns over issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, attorney schedules and voluminous evidentiary materials, prosecutors and defense lawyers filed a stipulation to start the trial on May 24, 2022. U.S. District Judge John F. Walter granted the proposal after indicating he had wished to start proceedings earlier.
Huizar, the central figure in a six-year probe of suspected corruption in City Hall politics, is charged in a 41-count racketeering indictment alleging that he accepted $1.5 million in bribes from developers in exchange for his support of downtown building projects.
The federal probe also ensnared political operatives, lobbyists and the former general manager of the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety.
Huizar, who represented downtown L.A. and was the chairman of the Planning and Land Use Management Committee, has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.
Prosecutors wrote that the government has produced more than 2 million pages of written reports, emails, third-party documents, and more than 93,000 files of intercepted wire sessions, including audio and data files.
In addition, discovery materials include reports for more than a dozen digital devices, over 260 hours of audio recordings in addition to intercepted wire sessions, data for more than two dozen phones, GPS phone tracker data for multiple devices, and dozens of pleadings for wiretap applications, search warrants, cell site and GPS warrants, and other information.
Huizar is expected to face trial in downtown Los Angeles with several associates, including former Deputy Mayor Raymond Chan, who was previously general manager of the Department of Building and Safety.
Among government witness is expected to be fundraiser Justin Kim, a real estate appraiser and consultant, who pleaded guilty to bribery charges and admitted he helped a developer pay off a Los Angeles City Council member for help with a major development project.