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Councilman Jose Huizar Shows Up For Work but Refuses to Answer Questions About FBI Raids of Office, Home

4:21 PM PST on November 20, 2018

    Jose Huizar, right, with Mayor Eric Garcetti, left. Courtesy of Jose Huizar.

    [dropcap size=big]T[/dropcap]here was yelling from the crowd, and an onslaught of deflection from Jose Huizar in the embattled councilman’s return to City Council Tuesday. It was his first public appearance since FBI agents raided his field offices, his office at City Hall, and his home in Boyle Heights.

    “Where’s the transparency?” yelled resident Armando Herman at one point during public comment. He was later removed from the City Council chambers for causing a disturbance.

    Huizar said mostly nothing to reporters and refused to answer their questions when he walked into chambers. The only thing he would say over and over again was, “I’m here to do my job. I’m here to work,” according to an account by the Los Angeles Times.

    RELATED: How FBI Agents Raided the Office and Home of Boyle Heights Councilman Huizar

    FBI raided Huizar’s home and offices Nov. 7, carrying off boxes of documents and computers/Photo by Philip Iglauer.

    Questions sent to Huizar’s office get referred to his lawyer Stephen Kaufman, who said only that he would return to work this week. In fact, Huizar and other council representatives have yet to make any public statement at all addressing the federal investigation. The media blackout spurred wild speculation and aggressive comments from the public attending Tuesday’s meeting.

    “We know where Jose Huizar was,” said John Walsh, a 73-year-old retired teacher, during public comment. “He was in federal detention.”

    There is no indication that Huizar has been arrested, detained, or even charged with a crime yet.

    The FBI raid Huizar’s home and office on Nov. 7, carrying off boxes of documents and computers. Less than a week later, Council President Herb Wesson removed him from several committees, including the powerful Planning and Land Use Committee, where Huizar had been chair for years.

    Huizar did not stay in his seat during most of the meeting, especially during public comment. But he did cast votes on the motions before the council.

    “As taxpayers paying his salary, we have a right to know — and you stripped him of all his committees — we want to know why he might go to prison,” resident Patricia McAllister said during public comment. “Why there are all of these searches, bringing dogs to his house. We need to know!”

    Huizar was first elected in 2005. He represents a sprawling district that includes the neighborhoods of Boyle Heights, Highland Park, Eagle Rock, and parts of downtown Los Angeles. He has missed several meetings since the first of two lawsuits was filed on Oct. 31, followed by the federal probe.

    RELATED: Jose Huizar, Boyle Heights Rep on City Council, Sued by Two Former Staffers

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