One does not need to watch the January 6 hearings to get their fix of courtroom drama. The first of three trials related to former L.A. City Councilmember Jose Huizar’s corruption allegations has begun. So far, the testimony bests anything Law & Order has broadcast (ok, well, maybe it’s more interesting if you are a political junkie).
Quoting directly from the L.A. Times: “A high-level aide to former Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar gave jurors a vivid look at the pay-to-play schemes allegedly pursued by his boss, describing paper bags filled with bribe money and demands for concert tickets and other gifts.
George Esparza, appearing Friday in the first of three trials dealing with the Huizar case, told jurors that he took part in two “money drops” in 2017, picking up cash from a developer’s go-between and then delivering the money to the councilman in liquor boxes — all while taking copious notes on his own criminal activities.
Esparza, who worked several years as the councilman’s special assistant, said his boss assigned him to find the point person for each real estate developer who had business before Huizar, then hit them up for political donations, hotel stays, event tickets, or other benefits.”
There are many other players in the corruption scandal and hopefully, someone will make a colorful chart so we can keep track of all the accusations and counter-accusations. For example, the L.A. Times reports businessman Dae Yong Lee has been “…accused of paying a $500,000 bribe to secure Huizar’s support for his planned 20-story residential tower. An attorney for Lee, also known as David Lee, said his client believed the money was going to pay legitimate consulting fees, not bribes. Lee’s lawyer also accused prosecutors of pinning their case on testimony from a political fundraiser who is a ‘liar and a thief.’”
To all legitimate political consultants, please do not ContactUs@Calpeek.com to ask how you can be paid $500,000 in cash for consulting work.
Long before the Huizar trials wrap up, Corruption Summer will begin its next installment when the trial of suspended L.A. City Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas starts on August 9.