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October 31, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

In what appears to be a major coup for the fledgling Al Jazeera America cable news network, its investigative unit has disclosed FBI documents describing a sting operation in which agents, posing as independent movie makers, offered a bribe to California state Sen. Ron Calderon to lower the movie budget requirements to receive a tax credit to $750,000 from $1 million. The deal called for one agent to pay Calderon’s daughter a monthly fee to work on the film, and by August of last year, she had received nine payments totaling $27,000 without doing any work for the agent’s fictitious movie studio. Al Jazeera reported that, according to the FBI documents, Calderon invited the agent to attend the Imagen Awards that month and told him there that he planned to introduce an amendment to lower the tax credit requirement, remarking, “Nobody will ever know that the reason this happened is because of you.” In fact, it did not happen. Doing so would have required a two-thirds vote of the Senate, something that Calderon apparently had not realized at the time. “We are screwed,” Calderon wrote to the agent. Commenting on the allegations, Calderon’s attorney, Mark Geragos, told the Los Angeles Times “The only illegal act I see is committed either by somebody who released a sealed affidavit or somebody who claims they got a sealed affidavit. Releasing a sealed affidavit is a federal crime.” Asked about the specific allegations in Al Jazeera’s report, Geragos replied, “My guess is, it is fabricated and untrue.”