Capitol Alert

Kevin de León called as witness in Calderon trial

Sen. Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, center, was mentioned 56 times in federal allegations against Ron Calderon and is to be a witness in the former state senator’s trial.
Sen. Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, center, was mentioned 56 times in federal allegations against Ron Calderon and is to be a witness in the former state senator’s trial. The Associated Press

Federal prosecutors have called state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León as a witness in the upcoming corruption trial of former Sen. Ron Calderon.

De León’s office refused to clarify whether the Los Angeles Democrat had been subpoenaed, but in a statement, spokeswoman Claire Conlon said, “Senator de León has been asked to assist the prosecution as a witness in the Calderon trial and, as has been the case from the very beginning of this process, he will readily and fully participate. Since the senator’s been cooperating in this matter for nearly two years, he expected to be called and he’s prepared to serve as needed.”

Calderon, a Democrat from Montebello, was indicted in February 2014 on 24 counts including bribery, money laundering and tax fraud, which carry a maximum sentence of 400 years in prison. He was subsequently suspended from the Senate with pay and left at the end of his term last November. His brother, former Assemblyman Tom Calderon, also faces seven counts of money laundering.

It’s unclear who else at the Capitol has been summoned for the trial, which is scheduled to begin Aug. 11. The U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles declined to comment. Assemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced, a former aide to Calderon, has previously said he had been called to testify.

De León’s name is mentioned 56 times in the affidavit laying out the federal government’s allegations that Calderon accepted $88,000 in bribes from an undercover agent and a hospital executive.

According to the affidavit, Calderon sought de León’s support for legislation to maintain workers’ compensation rules that aided hospital executive Michael D. Drobot, as well as a bill to give tax credits to low-budget independent films. An undercover federal agent posing as a movie producer gave a $5,000 campaign contribution to de León, which the senator later returned.

The senator has denied any wrongdoing.

In March, de León told The Sacramento Bee that he wasn’t sure whether he would be called as a witness for Calderon’s trial.

“I haven’t had any conversations with them in quite a while,” he said. “I think it’s one of those ‘stay tuned’ kind of things.”

Call The Bee’s Alexei Koseff, (916) 321-5236. Follow him on Twitter @akoseff.

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