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E-mail postpones U.S. Rep. Waters ethic trial

November 19, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
A new development from Capitol Hill, where the House of Representatives ethics trial of veteran L.A. Congresswoman Maxine Waters was unexpectedly postponed Friday.The day after the ethics committee recommended censure for N.Y. Rep. Charles Rangel, the same committee canceled a hearing for Maxine Waters after discovering an e-mail. The powerful L.A. Democrat says there is no new evidence. She says the ethics committee delay only demonstrates there is no case against her.

Waters' trial was set to begin November 29 on charges she helped a bank in which her husband owned stock, stock that would have been worthless without a bailout.

OneUnited Bank received $12 million in federal bailout money after a meeting she set up between the bank and the treasury secretary. It saved the bank.

"No benefit, no improper action, no failure to disclose, no one influenced, no case," said Waters.

Waters' husband, Sidney Williams, had more than $300,000 in stock with OneUnited Bank at one time, stock that had dropped dramatically in value and was on its way to becoming worthless.

The ethics committee says it has new documents related to the case. So the trial has been delayed while an investigatory committee looks at the documents.

In a statement, Waters says the committee's decision to cancel the case and put it off indefinitely demonstrates that the committee does not have a strong case.

In fact, she says the committee has had this new document since October 29 and it does not provide any new significant information.

Other than Friday's statement Waters has had no public comment. But she has been consistent in disputing the charges.

"Neither my staff nor I engaged in any improper behavior and we did not influence anyone and we did not gain any benefits," said Waters.

There's been no indication when, or if, the case will ever be brought back to the ethics committee. The e-mail that resulted in the trial being sent back to investigators indicates Waters closely watched bank bailout legislation. It doesn't seem to indicate she had anything to do with the bailout of OneUnited Bank.


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