California Sen. Ron Calderon takes leave, awaits corruption trial


Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, said in a statement Sunday that he accepted Calerdon's request for a leave from the Legislature.

Calderon will continue receiving his $95,291 annual salary but not the $163 daily expense payment he would get if he were traveling to Sacramento.

Calderon pleaded not guilty after surrendering to authorities Feb. 24 on multiple corruption charges involving bribes, kickbacks and fraud.

Calderon addressed his leave of absence in a statement. He said he is not resigning, and he expects his leave to last through August.

"I will take this time to focus on fighting these charges. I do not want to distract from the important work of the Senate and my colleagues on serious issues affecting my constituents and the people of California," he said.

Calderon, 56, was elected to the state Senate in 2006. He represents Montebello, Bell Gardens and other southeastern Los Angeles suburbs. The indictments threaten a powerful Democratic political family. His brother, former Assemblyman Tom Calderon, pleaded not guilty last week to eight counts of money laundering and conspiracy resulting from the same federal investigation.

Calderon is the second Senate Democrat this week to take leave while he fights criminal charges. Sen. Roderick Wright, a Democrat who currently represents areas including Carson, Compton, Gardena, Lawndale, Hawthorne and Inglewood, requested the leave after he was convicted of perjury and voter fraud for lying about his legal residence. Wright is seeking to have his conviction overturned before he faces sentencing in May.

Wright, 61, served in the Assembly from 1996 to 2002, and has been in the Senate since 2008.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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