South Gate

In 2005, federal authorities tried and convicted Albert Robles, the former Treasurer of South Gate, for extorting city contractors, and accepting bribes from them in exchange for using his influence to steer projects to them.  The bribes totaled more than $1.8 million.  Also convicted were George Garrido, a longtime friend of Robles who received kickbacks, Edward Espinoza, who helped funnel money to Robles, and Michael Klistoff, who owned a waste hauling company.

Robles and Garrido were given lengthy sentences, of ten years and 51 months respectively.  But the Ninth Circuit later overturned Garrido’s conviction, and partially overturned Robles’,  due to the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Skilling v. United States, which narrowed the scope of one of the corruption statutes supporting the convictions.

In Skilling, the Supreme Court had held that 18 U.S.C. § 1346 did not extend to undisclosed conflicts of interest, and the Ninth Circuit followed that ruling in reversing all of defendants’ convictions for depriving the citizens of South Gate of their right to the “honest services” of their elected officials.  Money laundering convictions, which also depended on the “honest services” theory to provide the underlying “specified unlawful activity,” were also reversed.

For Garrido, the decision entirely reversed his conviction.  (By that time, however, he had served all of his 51-month sentence, so the victory was largely Pyrrhic.).  Robles’ remained convicted of conviction remained in place, because the  vacated his For Garr  The court, however, affirmed Robles’ convictions on five counts of bribery, holding that 18 U.S.C. § 666 did not require that Robles intended the bribes to influence him in an official act.

(Garrido convicted of HS mail fraud 22-25, 27.  9th Cir reversed 23-25 (bc jury instructions ambiguous). And Acquitted Robles on 16, 22, 27.

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