Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Tom Calderon awaits sentence for money laundering scandal

Former state assemblyman Tom Calderon talks with a friend at a memorial service for his late wife, Marcella Calderon, at the Montebello Applied Technology Center High School in Montebello on January 14, 2012.
Former state assemblyman Tom Calderon talks with a friend at a memorial service for his late wife, Marcella Calderon, at the Montebello Applied Technology Center High School in Montebello on January 14, 2012. Los Angeles Times

The Calderon corruption saga resumes in court today, where Tom Calderon will be sentenced on one count of money laundering.

The former democratic assemblyman pleaded guilty in June to allowing a $30,000 bribe to be funneled through the Calderon Group in exchange for his brother Ron Calderon’s support in lowering the California film tax credit threshold from $1 million to $750,000.

The U.S. District Attorney recommends one year in prison, one year of supervised release and an $18,000 fine.

Calderon’s attorney has asked the court to take prison time off the table, arguing that his client suffers from serious medical conditions and “any period of incarceration could endanger his health,” according to court documents filed last week. The attorney said Calderon had a heart attack and underwent emergency coronary bypass surgery in February. Calderon also suffers from diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and goiter, taking six medications a day, according to the attorney.

In a letter penned to the judge, Calderon says he was not in a good place at the time of his crimes and had just lost his wife of 29 years to colon cancer.

“Marcella was my best friend and advisor,” Calderon writes. “I relied on her judgement, and trusted her. Had she been alive I would have never come anywhere near to taking the actions that I did.”

“This has been a long and terrible experience,” he concludes. “I am so very sorry that my actions led me to this place, and I can assure your honor that [I] will never do anything like this again.”

The sentencing begins at 1:30 p.m.

RECOGNIZE: Gov. Jerry Brown and Attorney General Kamala Harris will award the Medal of Valor to eight police officers and firefighters today at the Capitol. The receipients work for the California Highway Patrol, San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, San Bernardino Police Department, San Diego Fire-Rescue Department and the Redlands Police Department. The ceremony begins at 11 a.m. at the governor’s office. Attendance is restricted to media and invited guests.

JOHN HANCOCK: With dozens of bills pending on Brown’s desk, groups are rallying at the Capitol Monday urging the governor’s signature. First up, janitors will gather at 10 a.m. on the north lawn to launch a five-day fast calling on Brown to make AB 1978 law. The bill aims to protect janitors, who say they are vulnerable to attacks due to late-night hours and the singular nature of the job, from rape. Then civil rights groups will stand up at 10:30 a.m. on the west steps of the Capitol in support of three bills: AB 2792 concerning deportation practices in local jails; AB 2298 pertaining to law enforcement’s use of gang databases and SB 1289, which would bar local governments from contracting with private prisons to detain immigrants in civil immigration proceedings.

FIGHT FOR 15, REDUX: Workers who pushed for a $15 an hour minimum wage will return to the Capitol with new demands today, calling on politicians to support “a moral policy agenda that includes union rights, healthcare, and racial justice.” The protest is one of two dozen orchestrated at state capitols around the nation on “Higher Ground Moral Day of Action,” a movement led by North Carolina Rev. William Barber II. The action starts at 11 a.m. on the north steps.

CELEBRATE: Happy birthday to Sen. Carol Liu, D-La Cañada Flintridge, who turns 75 today.

Taryn Luna: 916-326-5545, @TarynLuna

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