A federal judge in Sacramento has ordered the federal government to respond to allegations by state Sen. Ron Calderon that the FBI retaliated against him for not cooperating in a sting operation.
The clerk for U.S. District Judge Troy Nunley says the standard order requires all defendants to respond to a complaint.
Calderon alleges FBI agents repeatedly asked him to secretly record Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg of Sacramento and state Sen. Kevin de Leon of Los Angeles. He says the FBI raided his offices shortly after he refused to participate in the sting, and claims the agency later leaked an affidavit detailing bribery charges against him. The affidavit details a sting in which Calderon allegedly accepted bribes in return for legislative action.
The FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office refused to comment on the allegations. Steinberg and de Leon say the U.S. Attorney has told them they are considered potential witnesses — not targets — of a corruption investigation.
Steinberg said Calderon is lashing out after the Senate Rules Committee stripped the veteran L.A.-area senator of his committee assignments earlier this week, the Associated Press reports.
"I’m not the target of an investigation," Steinberg told Capital Public Radio. "I’m not, have not been. I’m not the target of an investigation."
Steinberg's spokesman, Mark Hedlund, said the U.S. attorney's office has sent Steinberg a letter saying he is considered a potential witness but is not a target of the investigation, according to AP. Steinberg did not release the letter.
De Leon received a similar letter dated Nov. 1 and did release it.
Calderon represents southeast Los Angeles, including Montebello, Whittier and Norwalk. Earlier this week, more than a dozen local elected officials called for his resignation.