SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Facing federal corruption charges, a California state Senator took to Twitter to share a lawyer’s column about his case with the state’s attorney general.
State Sen. Ron Calderon was charged in February with accepting $100,000 in bribes, lavish trips and no-show jobs for his children in exchange for pushing legislation to benefit a hospital engaged in billing fraud and participating in a film industry tax scheme that actually was an FBI sting.
He was suspended from the California senate along with state Sens. Leland Yee and Roderick Wright because of the legal battles each is facing.
He took to his seldom-used Twitter account for the first time since the federal charges were handed down to post a scan of an online column he printed by Edward Loya Jr., a former attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice. He’s currently a litigation associate with Venable LLP, a law firm with offices nationwide.
Loya attacks the strength of the prosecution’s case against Calderon on a few grounds.
First, Loya believes jurors may see the prosecution’s star witness, former Pacific Hospital owner Michael Drobot, as a man trying to save his own hide in the face of a large alleged fraud scheme.
Secondly, he believes the leaks to Al Jazeera America about Calderon’s case before the indictment was handed down may come across as a way to bolster a weak, and possibly costly case.
Finally, he believes Calderon’s statements to an undercover FBI agent about film tax credit legislation may make the state senator sound like he genuinely wanted to help minority filmmakers.
After sending the article from the legal news site The Daily Journal on Twitter, he repeated the same messages to the California Attorney General Kamala Harris, but then deleted the messages just past 11 p.m. PDT.
This isn’t the first time Calderon has leaned on a state government official since his legal troubles began. He said says federal authorities wanted him to wear a wire and record conversations with the State Sen. President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Sen. Kevin de Leon, and after he refused they tried to ruin his reputation by raiding his offices and leaking an FBI affidavit alleging he took money in return for promoting bills.
Steinberg said Calderon was lashing out after he had Calderon stripped of his committee assignments earlier in the week.
Calderon, Yee and Wright are still receiving their pay, because of a legal opinion from the state’s Legislative Counsel Bureau stating their compensation can’t be touched by the Senate. The bureau contends authority over lawmakers’ pay rests with the California Citizens Compensation Commission.