Former Councilman 7 year corruption trial is over
It was one of the most famous public corruption cases in San Diego history. Now seven years after it began one of the defendants, Michael Zucchet, is finally free of all charges.
No one familiar with the corruption case of the Government versus Michael Zucchet, Ralph Inzunza and Charles Lewis, will forget that day in 2003 when Federal Agents raided City Hall.
We soon learned that the offices of the three Council Members had been bugged, and what was about to come out was sure to leave headline writers a field day of comedic material.
The Government was accusing the trio of selling their influence to a strip club owner, and his lobbyist.
After a lengthy trial, which Councilman Lewis died before it even began, a jury convicted Zucchet and Inzuna. But soon after, Federal Judge Jeffrey Miller acquitted Zucchet of seven of the nine counts against him and ordered a new trial on the two other charges.
The Government appealed the judges ruling, but last year an appeals court upheld Judge Miller's decision. Wednesday, a new U.S. Attorney dismissed the remaining charges against Zucchet.
Now 40 years-old, Zucchet, who appeared to have had a big political future ahead of him, is General Manager of the Municipal Employees Association, the city's largest labor union.
He admits to plenty of bitterness over the whole ordeal, especially after the relief of Miller's highly unusual step.
Leading a Union keeps Zucchet in the public eye while Inzunza has become a very private figure since the appeals court upheld his conviction.
Following this year's ruling by the Supreme Court on the so-called honest services statute involving public officials, the appeals court has allowed Inzunza's appeals lawyer to submit another brief, but whether Inzunza gets another hearing remains to be seen.