A former Cudahy city councilman’s decision to plead guilty to federal charges of extortion and bribery should be seen as his way of accepting complete responsibility, an attorney said today.
Osvaldo Conde appeared in a federal courtroom this afternoon, one day after prosecutors announced he would plead guilty to accepting a $7,000 bribe from the owner of a medical marijuana clinic, who was also an FBI informant. His next court appearance was set for July 30.
“Mr. Conde made mistakes. He understands he made mistakes. Some of those mistakes crossed the line in terms of criminal responsibility,” Conde’s attorney Manuel Medrano told reporters following the court hearing.
“He’s stepping up to the plate and accepting 100 percent responsibility for what he did. The cards now will fall where they may in terms of sentencing.”
The maximum sentence would be 30 years in federal prison and a $500,000 fine.
The case is likely to be consolidated with those of Cudahy’s former Mayor David Silva and Angel Perales, who ran the city’s Code Enforcement division. Both Silva and Perales have agreed to plead guilty to bribery and extortion for accepting $5,000 from the FBI informant. Their next court dates have not yet been scheduled.
In their plea agreements, Silva and Perales outlined a civic culture that relied on bribery and voter fraud. According to Perales, in two elections, he and other officials intercepted absentee ballots and threw out the ones in favor of their opponents.
“What I can tell you is that according to Mr. Perales, the 2007 election and 2009 election had been manipulated by him and other public officials in the city of Cudahy,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Akrotirianakis.
“Other sources of news have reported the results of those elections. In the case of the 2007 election, it has been reported at least that the margin, if you will, for Mr. Conde was as little as 33 votes.”
Attorneys for Silva and Perales declined to speak to reporters following their clients' court apperances. The federal investigation into corruption in Cudahy is ongoing.