Embattled California State Sen. Ron Calderon on Sunday announced he will take a voluntary leave of absence from legislative duties nearly a week after pleading not guilty to federal corruption and bribery charges.
Calderon, D-Montebello, was charged in a 24-count indictment with mail fraud, wire fraud, honest services fraud, bribery, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering and aiding in the filing of false tax returns.
"This is not a resignation since I still have my day in court," Calderon said in a statement released Sunday. "However, due to the nature and complexity of the charges, and the discovery materials that I will have to review, I expect this to be a lengthy period of absence continuing until the end of the session in August."
Sen. President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, accepted Calderon's request to take an indefinite leave of absence Sunday night.
Prosecutors said he accepted $28,000 in bribes from Michael D. Drobot, former owner of the now-closed Pacific Hospital of Long Beach, in exchange for supporting legislation that “delay or limit changes in California’s workers’ compensation laws relating to the amount of medical care providers are reimbursed for performing spinal surgeries.”
Calderon is also accused of paying his daughter $39,000 for a bogus office job and paying around $30,000 for his son’s schooling.
The 56-year-old legislator pleaded not guilty in an arraignment Feb. 24.