- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 8, 2011

After a day and a half of testimony, the sentencing of the former chief of staff for a D.C. Council member has been postponed until June 28.

Ted Loza, who formerly worked for council member Jim Graham, pleaded guilty in February to accepting $1,500 in bribes and failing to report the money in a statement to the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics. Initially in 2009, he was indicted on much broader charges including extortion, conspiracy and bribery for allegedly receiving free trips to Ethiopia and Miami and other cash gifts in exchange for pushing legislation that would benefit some taxicab businesses.

Loza was expected to be sentenced in federal court on Tuesday, but Judge Paul L. Friedman heard witness testimony during a sentencing hearing on Tuesday and Wednesday. Final testimony is scheduled to wrap up June 22.

While Mr. Graham had regulatory authority over the District’s Taxicab Commission as chairman of the city’s transportation committee, a former legislative analyst for Mr. Graham testified Wednesday that Loza did not exercise supervision over legislation drafted in the committee.

Mr. Graham, Ward 1 Democrat, has denied any wrongdoing.

Bill Miller, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District, declined to comment about the reason for the sentencing hearing in this case but said in general, sentencing hearings are held to “air out legal issues and to make arguments related to sentencing memorandums.”

Prosecutors are pushing for Loza to receive 14 months in prison, the top sentence recommended under sentencing guidelines, according to motions filed in federal court.

Loza’s attorney, Pleasant Brodnax, declined to comment.

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