Judge denies bail reduction to LA County Assessor John Noguez


Noguez is accused of accepting at least $180,000 in bribes from Salari, who owns a firm that helps property owners lower their property tax assessments that Noguez was tied to.

Both are charged with conspiracy and misappropriation of public funds. They allegedly worked out illegal deals to reduce property taxes on property that belonged to Salari's clients. As a result, the loss to tax payers is estimated at $1.6 million. Both men deny any wrongdoing.

The defense and prosecution argued over the bail reduction Thursday.

"He didn't hide, he didn't go into denial, he didn't hit the bottle, he didn't abuse any sort of painkillers; he did the responsible thing," said Noguez's attorney Michael Proctor. "He engaged lawyers...and he said, 'Please, I'm instructing you, get into dialogue with the district attorney's office.'"

Prosecutors felt the bail amount was just.

"The people contend that these defendants should be treated just like every other who steals, who lies under oath and who takes and gives bribes," said L.A. County Deputy District Attorney Susan Schwartz. "And that the bail scheduled is warranted and that it should be maintained."

In the end, the judge refused to lower bail. However, the judge agreed that both sides may argue more about bail reduction during a hearing on Monday. Regardless of what happens, the DA and the court want to know that all the bail money comes from legal sources.

Meanwhile, Mark McNeil has been released on $1.1 million bail. McNeil was also arrested Wednesday. He was a principal assessor promoted by Noguez. He faces 20 years and eight months in prison if convicted. He is also charged with conspiracy and misappropriation charges.

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