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State Sen. Ron Calderon asks for contempt in FBI leak

6:41 PM, Nov 13, 2013   |    comments
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In a blistering filing in federal court, state Sen. Ron Calderon accuses federal investigators of leaking the FBI affidavit accusing him of accepting bribes, and also alleges agents asked him to secretly tape conversations with the leader of the state Senate.

The filing from Calderon's attorney Mark Geragos accuses federal officials of instigating "media sensationalism" in the sealed leak of the affidavit last month to a cable news network - an affidavit that alleges the southern California legislator accepted some $88,000 in bribes during an undercover investigation.

Federal officials, says the filing, "engaged in a campaign to smear the reputation of Senator Calderon and convict him in the press and public before a grand jury was assembled and while it was hearing evidence."

MORE: Read the Calderon court filing here

There's been no word on exactly how the FBI affidavit became public. But the allegations inside have reignited the frenzy into the Calderon story, and led California senate leaders on Tuesday to strip the senator of all of his committee assignments.

But it's Calderon's accusations in the court document against Senate leadership that are most eye catching. The document alleges that the senator was asked to wear a hidden microphone in conversations with Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, and Sen. Kevin De Leon, D-Los Angeles.

"The FBI was specifically interested in Senator Steinberg's financial activities with Michael Drobot, the former chief executive officer of Pacific Hospital of Long Beach," the court filing said.

Drobot is named in the FBI affidavit against Calderon, alleging that some of the bribes came from the health executive in exchange for help with state regulations that could have hurt his business' bottom line.

Calderon, D-Montebello, alleges in the new court filing that he refused to wear the secret microphone, and that all of this happened just days before his Capitol office was raided by FBI agents in June.

"The FBI was attempting to use Senator Calderon as an informant against Senators Steinberg and de Leon," the new court filing said.

Senate leader Steinberg said the allegations in the new court filing are a reaction to Calderon losing his committee assignments this week.

"The filing is pure fantasy," he said in an email late Wednesday afternoon.

Calderon has not appeared publicly during the latest round of stories regarding the FBI investigation. Attorney Geragos asks a federal judge in the new filing to hold government officials in contempt for the leaking of the sealed affidavit.

UPDATE 6:45 p.m. Calderon's attorney, Mark Geragos, said in a phone interview that he'll have more "proof" of the senator's accusations as soon as Thursday.  As for the Senate leader's statement: "The only person living in fantasy land is Darrell Steinberg,"said Geragos.  The attorney declined an interview for broadcast.

John Myers is News10's political editor. Check out his Twitter feed on California politics, his Facebook page, and the weekly News10 Capitol Connection politics podcast.

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