Later today, U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman is expected to sentence Ted G. Loza for his role in a taxicab industry influence-buying scheme that reached into city hall.
Loza, 45, pleaded guilty in February to accepting illegal gratuities and lying on his D.C. government financial disclosure form, both felonies. Under federal sentencing guidelines, the former top aide to D.C. Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) faces eight to 14 months in federal prison.
But during sentencing proceedings that have stretched over two weeks, Loza and his attorney, Pleasant Broadnax, have done their best to convince Friedman that he deserves a lighter sentence by calling witnesses to testify to Loza’s good character.
Monday evening, Loza issued an apology and a plea for support to friends and family. The e-mail was obtained by my colleague Nikita Stewart.
”I’m well aware that the work in our community has been adversely impacted by my actions,” Loza wrote. ”For that, I am sorry. This is a sentiment I have expressed to the hundreds of people I’ve talked to, both in person and on the phone or thru other means.”
Loza asked his supporters not to “lose focus by media distraction.”
”This is essentially about two gratuities,” he wrote. “I made an error in judgment in a specific time and place, which has cost me dearly. That action alone, however, does not define my whole character and an entire life of dedication to those in need.”
Here is the full e-mail:
Dear Friends and Family:
So, the day has come.
I wanted to express--again--my appreciation for all your support and good wishes. In the past couple of months, I have talked to nearly four hundred of you, and heard your great encouragement expressed in our conversations. Separately, I have received nearly 130 letters of support written to the Judge. I was happily humbled to read all the great anecdotes, and wishes expressed in those letters. I never paused long enough to realize how much great work we have collaboratively accomplished, not just for immigrants, but the whole community.
I’m well aware that the work in our community has been adversely impacted by my actions. For that, I am sorry. This is a sentiment I have expressed to the hundreds of people I’ve talked to, both in person and on the phone or thru other means. But, please don’t allow yourselves to lose focus by media distraction. This is essentially about two gratuities.
I made an error in judgment in a specific time and place, which has cost me dearly. That action alone, however, does not define my whole character and an entire life of dedication to those in need. Most of you know me by our years of hard work in the community. I hope you can come stand with me in solidarity at this final hearing, which is expected to last just over an hour.
Thanks for all past support, and I look forward to seeing you on Tomorrow at 9AM. Please see below for more details.