YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary | The Regional

Councilman Testifies He Took Money After Man's Threat

August 24, 2000

Santa Ana City Councilman Ted R. Moreno took the witness stand Wednesday in his political corruption trial, testifying that the FBI informant who allegedly gave him $31,000 in illegal campaign contributions once threatened to "destroy" him.

Moreno painted the informant, Victor Kosherian, as a "Jekyll and Hyde" who was frightening one minute and flattering the next. At the end, Moreno said he accepted the money--furnished to Kosherian by the FBI--to promote the candidacy of two friends who ran for the council in 1996 along with Moreno.

"He was screaming mad," Moreno said of Kosherian. "He said, 'I am tired of your political games. You're going to take the cash. If you don't, I'll destroy your life.' "

Moreno said Kosherian made the alleged threat during one of eight visits to Moreno's home. He said the informant was angry because city officials were denying him a liquor license and wanted Moreno to help him obtain the permit.

According to Moreno's testimony, Kosherian offered to raise about $30,000 of the $60,000 needed to finance the campaigns of Moreno's friends, Hector Olivares and Roman Palacios, both unsuccessful council candidates. Both men have pleaded guilty to federal charges stemming from the case.

In return, Moreno said Kosherian demanded that Olivares and Palacios join Moreno in approving a liquor license for the Grand Avenue gas station when it came before a council vote.

Moreno's testimony came hours after federal prosecutors rested their case against the councilman. His attorney, Dean Steward, argues that Moreno was entrapped by the FBI.

Los Angeles Times Articles