California Senator faces 400 years in prison on corruption charges
Ron Calderon accused of accepting bribes for himself, brother
State Senator Ron Calderon has been indicted on federal charges. The
56-year-old Calderon allegedly took $100,000 in bribes from both a
businessman and from undercover FBI agents posing as Hollywood movie
executives in exchange for steering legislation in their favor.
If convicted at trial, Ron Calderon could face a statutory maximum of nearly 400 years in prison, although federal sentencing guidelines typically call for much less time.
"Senator Calderon is accused of accepting tens of thousands of dollars in bribes and using the powers of his elected office to enrich himself and his brother Tom, rather than for the benefit of the public he was sworn to serve," U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte said at a news conference.
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In a 28-page indictment handed down in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles last week, Calderon is accused of taking some $100,000 in cash bribes, in addition to plane trips, golf outings and jobs for his children, in exchange for influencing legislation.
Calderon is accused of accepting bribes from Long Beach, California, hospital owner Michael Drobot to preserve a legislative loophole that allowed Drobot to defraud the state\'s healthcare system out of hundreds of millions of dollars.
The senator is also accused of accepting money from undercover FBI agents who Calderon thought worked for an independent Hollywood movie studio in exchange for supporting an expansion of film tax credits in California.
Calderon's brother, Tom Calderon, a former member of the California State Assembly has also been named in the indictment and charged with conspiracy and seven counts of money laundering.
The 59-year-old Tom Calderon has pleaded not guilty during a brief hearing in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles last week. His defense attorney, Shepard Kopp, said that he \"categorically denies\" the charges against him.
\"This is direct payback by the government for Ron Calderon refusing to wear a wire and cooperate with the government\'s investigation,\" Kopp said.
State senate leader Darrell Steinberg has called upon Calderon to resign or take a leave of absence.
\"At a minimum, he should take a complete leave of absence until the criminal proceedings are finished,\" Steinberg said. \"If he does not resign, or take that leave of absence voluntarily, the Senate will seek to suspend him.\"
If convicted at trial, Ron Calderon could face a statutory maximum of nearly 400 years in prison, although federal sentencing guidelines typically call for much less time. Tom Calderon could face a maximum of 160 years behind bars.
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