Monday, November 27, 2006
Federal prosecutors in San Diego are challenging a judge’s ruling last year that set free a former city councilman who had been convicted on corruption charges. The councilman was Michael Zucchet. He was tried by jury and convicted of trading favors with a strip club owner who gave Zucchet campaign contributions.
After Zucchet quit his office and appeared headed to jail – the federal judge who presided over Zucchet’s trial overturned the jury’s verdict. Judge Jeffrey Miller ruled there wasn’t enough evidence to convict Zucchet. Monday – almost a year later -- the U.S. Attorney’s office announced it will appeal that ruling.
The announcement angered Zucchet’s attorney – Jerry Coughlan – who maintains Zucchet never did anything wrong:
Coughlan: If you read Judge Miller’s opinion, there is careful analysis showing that at every step of the way, not only did Michael Zucchet say no to the overtures made to him but the people who were trying to get him to go their way thought he was not on their team.
Another city councilman, Ralph Inzunza was also convicted in the case, along with strip club lobbyist Lance Malone. Secret FBI recordings revealed the strip club operator Michael Galardi wanted the councilmen to ease the “no-touching” rules at San Diego clubs.