After a hearing in which Ted Loza, former staffer to Councilmember Jim Graham, pled guilty to two charges related to accepting gratuities and one charge related to making a false statement, his lawyer Pleasant S. Brodnax wanted to make something clear: “This case is not about bribery, it’s not about conspiracy, it’s not about extortion.” As Loza, flanked by family members and looking tired, stood by, the lawyer explained that Loza wasn’t copping to the most dramatic of the charges the government lobbed at him. The ones explicitly about bribery, conspiracy and extortion.

Brodnax said that Loza’s case could have been wrapped up in September 2009, when Loza was first arrested.The lawyer seemed to think that a plea deal similar to the one cemented today could have been struck back then, if prosecutors would have given up on convicting Loza on charges like bribery. “The government had a different theory of the case,” said Brodnax.

Now that the government has come around, Loza faces a potential 8 to 14 month sentence, if the judge decides to adhere to voluntary sentencing guidelines. A May 12 sentencing date has been set by Judge Paul L. Friedman. “Ted is glad to put this behind him,” Brodnax said. Loza managed a smile now and then.

When, during the hearing, the government summarized its case against Loza, they mentioned that they had video of Loza pocketing $1000 in cash in exchange for pushing taxi cab legislation. “It’s just comes down to Mr. Loza accepting responsibility for what he did,”  Brodnax said. He also explained that “Ted always acted in the best interest of the citizens of the District of Columbia.”

Photo by Darrow Montgomery