Former Los Angeles Deputy Mayor Raymond Chan's trial on corruption charges has been postponed until March 27 as his attorney recovers from an undisclosed illness. The trial started on February 21 with Chan facing a dozen criminal counts, including bribery, racketeering, conspiracy, honest services fraud, and lying to federal agents for his alleged role in a pay-to-play scheme that prosecutors allege milked developers for millions of dollars in exchange for getting their building projects approved at City Hall.
Chan is accused of being a key player in the illegal enterprise spearheaded by former Los Angeles City Councilman José Huizar, who pleaded guilty to felony charges in January for using his position at City Hall to enrich himself and his associates. Chan is charged with arranging indirect bribe payments to city officials by lining up employment contracts for the officials' relatives.
Prior to Huizar's plea deal, he and Chan were set to go on trial together. Two previous trials linked to the 2020 indictment against Huizar, Chan, and various associates have resulted in convictions. The first trial led to Bel-Air real estate developer David Lee and his company, 940 Hill LLC, being found guilty of fraud and bribery for providing $500,000 in cash to Huizar and his special assistant in exchange for resolving a labor organization's appeal of their downtown development project. In the second trial, Shen Zhen New World I LLC, a real estate development company, was found guilty of paying Huizar $1 million in bribes to secure city approval for a 77-story skyscraper. During the Shen Zhen trial, Huizar's mother, brother, and wife Richelle Rios testified for the prosecution.
As part of the FBI and U.S. Attorney's Office investigation into City Hall corruption, operation "Casino Loyale" has resulted in the conviction of nine defendants and over $3 million in criminal penalties for two major real estate development companies. Huizar's brother, Salvador Huizar, pleaded guilty last year to lying to FBI agents about receiving envelopes of cash from his brother and is scheduled for sentencing in May.
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