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Trial Of Former Deputy Mayor Who Allegedly Arranged Bribes For Jose Huizar Put On Hold

4:53 PM PST on March 6, 2023

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

    The federal trial of former Deputy Mayor Raymond Chan was put on hold for three weeks after his attorney, Harland Braun, reportedly fell ill.

    A deputy mayor who oversaw economic development for ex-Mayor Eric Garcetti in 2016 and 2017, Chan is charged with allegedly arranging indirect bribe payments to city officials .

    Chan, 66, is accused of being a key member of what prosecutors dubbed the Council District 14 enterprise, a conspiracy in which former Los Angeles City Councilman José Huizar—assisted by others—unlawfully used his office to give favorable treatment to real estate developers who financed and facilitated bribes and other illicit benefits.

    The former deputy mayor faces a dozen criminal counts, including racketeering conspiracy, bribery, honest services fraud, and lying to federal agents for his alleged role in a "pay-to-play" scheme that prosecutors say netted millions.

    During his opening statement, Braun said his client was innocent and blamed prosecutors for being overly ambitious. The 80-year-old attorney is known for coming to the defense of celebrity clients such as Roman Polanski, Gary Busy, and Dennis Rodman.

    The judge overseeing the trial first learned that Braun was hospitalized on Friday. During a Monday hearing, the judge placed the trail on hold until March 27. Braun's illness has not been publicly disclosed.

    In late January, former Councilmember Jose Huizar pleaded guilty to felony charges for using his powerful position at city hall to enrich himself and his associates, and for cheating on his taxes. The former CD14 representative faces sentencing early next month.

    Two previous trials arising from the 2020 indictment against Huizar, Chan and various associates have ended in convictions. Last year Huizar's brother pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents about receiving cash envelopes from his little brother. He's set to be sentenced a month after Jose.

    Thus far, nine defendants in the sprawling corruption probe have been convicted. Prosecutors have also secured $3 million in criminal penalties from real estate companies and developers.

    City News Services contributed to this report.

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