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L.A. Councilman Jose Huizar arrested in 'pay-to-play' corruption probe

Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar, an ambitious player in city politics for nearly two decades, was arrested Tuesday, making him the most prominent figure to face charges in the federal investigation into corruption at City Hall, according to people with knowledge of the case.

Huizar faces charges arising from allegations he ran a sprawling pay-to-play scheme, in which real estate developers were shaken down for cash bribes and campaign donations in exchange for Huizar’s help getting high rise development projects through the city’s arduous approval process.

Along the way, the councilman and his associates are accused of enjoying free plane travel, lavish meals, poker chips and other perks offered up by developers.

Charges against Huizar had long been anticipated.

After FBI agents raided his home and offices in 2018, prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office have closed in on Huizar in recent months, methodically charging associates who admitted to taking part in illicit deals involving the councilman. In plea deals they struck with the government, a former aide to Huizar, one of his political fundraisers, and a real estate consultant agreed to cooperate with the investigation into Huizar and others in City Hall.

Huizar is expected to make an initial court appearance Tuesday afternoon. An attorney for Huizar could not be reached for comment.

Prior to his arrest, prosecutors had not identified Huizar by name, opting to refer to him in the associates’ cases simply as “Councilmember A.”

But Huizar’s identity was clear in court documents in which prosecutors described a councilman who was heavily involved in the city’s oversight of real estate planning and had a relative running to replace him when his term limits expired.

Huizar chaired the influential Planning and Land Use Management Committee and his wife briefly mounted a campaign to replace him before abandoning the idea shortly after the FBI raids.

Read the rest at: More Dem Corruption

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