Former Rosemead Mayer Pleads Guilty to Reduced Charges

Rosemead ex-mayor John Tran pleaded guilty this week to attempted witness tampering and making false statements to the FBI — but not to the bribery charges originally brought against him.  Under the terms of the deal, the US Attorney’s Office will recommend a sentence of 18-24 months in prison.  Tran agreed to pay $38,000 in restitution, an amount equal to bribes that he was charged with receiving.

Why did  the government decide to  drop the bribery charges, which could have led to a much stiffer sentence?  Mostly because the government’s principal witness (the developer who allegedly paid off Tran) had significant credibility problems that the government failed to disclose to the defense.  When the government finally disclosed that the developer had been named in multiple civil lawsuits and accused of fraud, Tran’s attorney, former prosecutor Michael Zweiback, was able to persuade judge Dale Fischer to allow his client to withdraw an earlier plea of guilty — an extraordinary defense victory that rarely occurs.  It seems that the government reassessed its case in the wake of this debacle, and offered the former mayor a plea deal that will result in a much shorter sentence.

Tran’s (second) guilty plea was based on facts that did not hinge on the credibility of the informant developer: two recorded conversations.  In the first, Tran urged the developer to give false testimony to the grand jury, and in the second he made false statements during an interview with the FBI.

Based on her earlier ruling, the judge is unhappy with the government’s conduct in the case and may punish it further by giving Mr. Tran a sentence lower than the 18-24 months urged by the government in the plea agreement.  Sentencing is scheduled for  April 28.

 

 

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  1. Pingback: Rosemead’s Former Mayor Sentenced to Prison | Public Corruption Blog

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