California Senator Ronald Calderon has pleaded not guilty to taking tens of thousands of dollars in bribes, including some in relation to the state’s film and TV tax incentive program, TheWrap has learned.
Calderon surrendered to authorities earlier in the day as planned after a federal grand jury indicted him last week. His bond was set at $50,000 and he was expected to be released soon. Trial was set for April 22.
Agents posing as both businessmen and Hollywood film studio associates approached the 56-year-old Calderon, who allegedly accepted approximately $100,000 in cash bribes and other goods and services in exchange for, among other things, supporting legislation that would expand California’s tax-credit program to independent films.
An attorney for Calderon did not immediately return telephone messages left Monday.
A federal grand jury returned the 24-count indictment late last Thursday, including charges of mail fraud, wire fraud, honest services fraud, bribery, conspiracy to commit money laundering, money laundering and aiding in the filing of false tax returns. He had been traveling and agreed last week to turn himself in this week.
Also charged with money laundering was 59-year-old Thomas Calderon, Ronald’s brother and a former assemblyman, who has already surrendered to authorities.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this story.