A federal grand jury will begin hearing testimony next month from dozens of people who allegedly paid to have drunk driving and other traffic-related violations “fixed” by a clerk.
The grand jury hearings are part of a probe by an Orange County corruption task force into nearly six years of alleged case tampering in the county courthouses, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Authorities believe a former clerk altered the minutes of 1,058 cases from October 2009 to March 2015, according to the newspaper. The clerk entered fake pleas and reduced penalties for defendants, who had paid thousands of dollars to have their cases cleansed, authorities said.
FBI agents have issued dozens of subpoenas in the most serious cases, mostly DUI convictions. The subpoenas order people to appear before a grand jury on July 8 or July 29, according to defendants and sources familiar with the probe, The Times reported.
FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said there is an ongoing investigation into the alleged record altering but wouldn’t discuss specifics, including the subpoenas, according to The Times.
David Hernandez said he paid $8,000 to resolve his second DUI last fall. When he appeared at the Westminster court two weeks ago to resolve irregularities in the case, an FBI agent served him with a subpoena ordering him to appear July 8, The Times reported.
Court officials say they are only aware of one person inside the court system involved in the alleged scheme.
—City News Service