LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Attorneys for Los Angeles County Assessor John Noguez and a tax consultant accused of bribing him to have taxes lowered on his clients' properties will ask a judge today to lower their bail.
Noguez, 47, and Ramin Salari, 49, are each jailed in lieu of nearly $1.4 million bail. During their arraignment Thursday, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Shelly Torrealba declined to lower the bail amounts but agreed to set another hearing for today to reconsider the issue.
A third defendant, Mark McNeil, 54, was released Wednesday afternoon on $1.1 million bail and is due in court for arraignment Nov. 7.
"Criminal charges filed against the assessor allege that instead of acting in the best interests of the citizens of Los Angeles County he turned his back on them to engineer assessment reductions for those (property owners) who paid for favored treatment," District Attorney Steve Cooley said at a news conference shortly after that day's arrests, which he called part of an
"ongoing, multi-faceted investigation" into public corruption in the assessor's office.
Attorneys for Noguez and Salari insisted Thursday that their clients were not flight risks, asserting they had stayed put even though they knew they were targets of a District Attorney's investigation.
Noguez attorney Michael Proctor told the judge his client "didn't hide" but stayed at his Huntington Park home, where District Attorney's Office investigators took him into custody. He asked that Noguez's bail be lowered to $100,000.
Salari's attorney, Mark Werksman, asked the judge to reduce Salari's bail to $575,000.
Deputy District Attorney Susan Schwartz said Noguez accepted bribes from Salari and that the bail requested by the prosecution was "warranted by the charges."
Noguez, who was elected in November 2010 and is on leave from the assessor's office, is charged with 24 felony counts, including 13 counts of misappropriation by a public officer, five counts of perjury, four counts of accepting bribes and two counts of conspiracy.