Prosecutors and defense attorneys in the public corruption case involving former Los Angeles City Councilor José Huizar will call on a federal judge Monday to postpone the trial for a year. However, the judge has indicated that he would like to start the proceedings sooner.
Citing concerns about the issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, attorney plans, and extensive evidence, attorneys have reached an agreement to set the Huizar trial for May 24, 2022. In a status conference held through Zoom last month, US District Judge John F. Walter pointed out that the proposed date seems unnecessarily distant.
A status conference in federal court in Los Angeles is scheduled for Monday morning to discuss the matter further.
Walter previously turned down a defense offer to review the grand jury records indicting the former city councilor.
Huizar filed a motion to force the creation of two categories of grand jury records: information about changes to the grand jury’s procedures prior to the coronavirus by the prosecutor for the case – such as: Such as video grand judges, witnesses wearing masks or remotely giving evidence – and legal instructions that the U.S. Attorney General used to inform the grand jury of the indictment counts.
In an April ruling denying the motion, Walter wrote that in his case, Huizar had demonstrated no particular need for details about possible changes to the grand jury’s procedures. The judge also found that the former city council could not prove that legal instructions from the federal prosecutor’s office in front of the grand jury could have been “misleading, let alone obviously misleading”.
Huizar, the central figure in a six-year investigation into suspected corruption in City Hall politics, is charged in a 41-count indictment of $ 1.5 million in bribes from developers in exchange for his support for construction projects adopted in the city center.
The federal investigation also implicated political activists, lobbyists and the former director general of the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety.
Huizar, who represented downtown LA and chaired the planning and land use management committee, pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against him.
Prosecutors wrote that the government created nearly 2 million pages of written reports, emails, third-party documents, and more than 93,000 files of intercepted cable sessions, including audio and data files.
In addition, the discovery materials include reports for more than a dozen digital devices, more than 260 hours of audio recordings as well as intercepted cable sessions, data for more than two dozen phones, GPS phone tracker data for multiple devices, and dozens of pleadings for wiretapping applications, search warrants , Cellular and GPS warranties, and other information.
Huizar is expected to be on trial in downtown Los Angeles with several employees including Raymond Chan, general manager of the Department of Construction and Security and more recently deputy mayor of the city for Economic Development.