A Sept. 29 date was set Wednesday for suspended councilman José Huízar’s corruption trial, City News reported.
Federal prosecutor told U.S. District Judge John Walker that the trial may take about 20 days and that as many as 45 witnesses may be called to testify.
Huízar is accused of illegally taking in as much as $1.5 million in a pay-to-play scheme in which developers were asked for bribes and campaign donations in exchange for support of development projects in downtown LA.
The 51-year-old politician from Boyle Heights pleaded not guilty on Monday at a hearing in federal court held via video conference.
Last month, a grand jury handed down a 34-count indictment that alleged that Huízar and others committed more than 400 overt acts, including bribery, fraud and money laundering, to further a City Hall criminal enterprise.
CNS said that If convicted as charged, Huizar would face more than 100 years behind bars.
News reports on Wednesday showed Huízar arriving in the courthouse in the morning, dressed in a dark suit and accompanied by his lawyers.
According to CNS, Huízar’s legal representation is being handled by lawyers with the federal public defender’s office. In court, however, Judge Walter questioned whether Huízar qualifies for a public defender and asked for more financial information.
Lawyers who previously represented Huízar said the suspended councilman intended “to respond to the government’s allegations in court.”
Huízar was first elected in 2005 to represent CD-14, which besides a major portion of downtown LA and all of Boyle Heights includes several northeast neighborhoods, like El Sereno and Eagle Rock.
Huízar was arrested in June, released on bond and immediately after suspended without pay from City Council. His term runs out in December and cannot be replaced unless he resigns or is found guilty.
His successor-to-be in CD-14, former state senator Kevin de León, was elected in March.