Capitol Alert

Federal prosecutors seek five years in prison for former Sen. Ron Calderon

Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, shakes hand with then-Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg on June 10, 2013.
Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, shakes hand with then-Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg on June 10, 2013. The Sacramento Bee file

In a scathing sentencing position filed late Tuesday with the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, federal prosecutors requested five years’ imprisonment in their corruption case against former state Sen. Ron Calderon.

The Montebello Democrat, who is scheduled to be sentenced on Friday, pleaded guilty in June to one count of “mail fraud through the deprivation of honest services.” He admitted to undertaking official acts in return for jobs for his children, trips to Las Vegas and tens of thousands of dollars for him and his brother, several payments of which were sent via the U.S. Postal Service.

The government’s requested 60-month sentence also includes one year of supervised release, a $7,500 fine and 250 hours of community service. In the plea agreement, Calderon waived his right to appeal if the prison sentence was less than 70 months. In the filing, prosecutors said Calderon’s “lack of criminal convictions and certain parts of his employment history” were legitimate mitigating factors.

But they also slammed Calderon, 59, for failing to take full responsibility for the corruption he admitted to, which “caused a reverberation of negative effects throughout California and put a stain not just on his career but on the reputation of the state Legislature.” In a pointed jab, they wrote, “It should not go unnoticed that defendant received just one letter in support from a fellow politician.”

The prosecutors urged the judge not to give Calderon less than 60 months in custody, noting that is the mandatory minimum for some drug offenses.

“Such defendants typically do not have two older brothers whose coattails they can ride to elected office; most often they can locate no coattails at all,” they wrote.

Calderon’s original 24-count indictment in February 2014, which included charges of bribery, money laundering and aiding in the filing of false tax returns, carried a maximum statutory sentence of 396 years in federal prison. He was jointly charged with his brother, former Assemblyman Tom Calderon, who was recently sentenced to a year in federal custody for funneling the bribes through his political consulting firm.

Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff

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