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Phil Matier: Sen. Ron Calderon And ‘The Wire’ In Sacramento

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California State Senator Ron Calderon, D-Los Angeles County. (California State Senate)

California State Senator Ron Calderon, D-Los Angeles County. (California State Senate)

Phil-Matier_BIO-HEAD Phil Matier
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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)—State Sen. Ron Calderon is striking back at the FBI claiming, in a file to the federal government, that the bureau purposely leaked the affidavit that he took $88,000 in bribes because he refused to take part in a federal sting operation targeting President Pro Tem Derrell Steinberg and Sen. Kevin de León.

What makes this so fascinating in Sacramento is the absence of the walls of silence that normally emerge after allegations like this. Usually everyone sticks up their chin in solidarity saying that everybody is innocent until proven guilty.

But this affidavit—which has transcripts of what people actually said—going out to the public changes everything.

Former Assembly Speaker and San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown said he thinks the affidavit, made public by Al Jazeera America on Oct. 30th, was leaked by the government.

“The government leaked it because, I can assure you that from the time they started investigating Mr. Calderon, at some point, they confronted him and I’m sure that he agreed to assist them in some fashion. And when he didn’t produce, they were angry; and a result of that of that anger, they leaked it to whomever they leaked it to,” he said.

Now, Brown said, Calderon is counteracting.

The FBI has done this before; they will get you one way or another. If they do it in court, wires can often end up being released.

But it’s not the content on those wires that is so incriminating and has Sacramento on edge; it’s that what is on there is so dumb—absolutely embarrassing.

They are talking about each other and the deals they are making.

“It’s all a locker room—an animal house. It’s like all the things that people sometimes say and do where they have no idea it’s being published. And in this case, it’s being broadcast—full time,” Brown said. “And they become really embarrassed when they have to explain what they did not mean.”

Darrell Steinberg, for instance, throws a fit because the free Giants tickets he was promised were for $37.50 seats.

It’s not so much criminal—it’s just stupid.

“You also have the problem with the really bad guys, if they can’t turn up something of somebody of some substance, they will make something up about people they don’t really care for. And when that happens, then the individual, who’s being accused, has to disprove a lie,” Brown said.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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