Former CD 14 Representative José Huízar pleaded guilty Friday morning to a City Hall-based bribery and money laundering scheme.
“I want to apologize to my family, constituents, and to the City of Los Angeles,” the 54-year-old wrote in a statement. “My actions were not acceptable, and I will accept the consequences for my actions. It is time for healing.”
The former councilman will face a sentence in the range of nine to 13 years in prison and must pay around $1.85 million in restitution. Prosecutors allege that Huízar took more than $1.5 million in cash, gambling trips and escorts in exchange for support of downtown developers.
Huízar, who was born in Mexico and raised in Boyle Heights, represented the neighborhood from 2005 to 2020 as councilman for a district that includes several Eastside communities and much of downtown LA. The same area is now overseen by Kevin de León.
The 34-count indictment against Huízar and his associate former Deputy Mayor Raymond Chan, split into three separate trials, has already seen two convictions against developers involved in the corruption case. Chan’s racketeering trial is set to start Feb. 21.
Last June, Bel air developer Dad Yong Lee and his business 940 Hill LLC were found guilty of bribery, fraud and obstructing a government investigation for providing $500,000 in cash to Huízar and an assistant for their help in resolving a labor issue related to their downtown development project.
In November, real estate developer Shen Zhen New World I LLC was found guilty of paying Huízar $1 million in bribes for city approval to build a 77-story skyscraper.
At the time of this report, federal prosecutors have convicted nine other defendants as part of this ongoing investigation into City Hall corruption. Huízar’s sentencing before U.S. District Judge John F. Walter is yet to be scheduled.
“My family needs some healing, and I hope that my acceptance of responsibility will allow the city to heal from the harm that my actions have caused,” Huízar said in the statement.