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Posted at 09:22 PM ET, 05/25/2011

Prosecutors seek 14 months in prison for former D.C. Council aide

Federal prosecutors asked a judge Wednesday to sentence a former top D.C. Council staffer to 14 months in prison for his role in what they described in court papers as a “long-term scheme to corrupt an entire industry.”

Ted G. Loza, a former chief of staff to Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) who pleaded guilty in February to accepting an illegal gratuity and making a false statement, is scheduled to be sentenced June 7. . Loza was the most high-profile person ensnared by federal authorities in a long-running investigation of how the D.C. government oversees the taxi industry. Several businessmen and more than two dozen would-be cab drivers were also arrested in the probe.

In court papers, prosecutors urged U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman to sentence Loza to the top end of the guideline range because he had shown no remorse, had not yet accepted responsibility and had refused to discuss the case with prosecutors during a recent meeting.

Assistant U.S. Attorney John Crabb wrote that Loza also pressured an unidentified non-profit group to finance his travel and even “strong-armed a ‘loan,’ by threatening to withhold the entity’s government financing.”

Prosecutors have said that Loza accepted thousands of dollars from an undercover FBI agent and an FBI informant who sought the staffer’s help in influencing taxi legislation before the D.C. Council. That informant has pleaded guilty and is cooperating with authorities.

In their own set of court papers, Loza’s lawyers urged the judge to sentence the former staffer to probation because he was dedicated to his community and had “fully accepted responsibility for the actions he took.”

“Mr Loza is needed by the community and his family,” wrote his attorney, Pleasant Brodnax. “His absence from the community has been detrimental to many individuals, especially those in vulnerable populations.”

By  |  09:22 PM ET, 05/25/2011

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