Following the announcement Friday that a federal grand jury has indicted Sen. Ron Calderon on 24 criminal charges including bribery, California state Senate leader Darrell Steinberg called on him to resign and said he had the full backing of his Democratic caucus.
If Calderon does not resign or take a leave absence as judicial proceedings against him continue, Steinberg said, the Senate will vote to suspend him.
Here is Steinberg's statement:
"I value and respect the legal principle that a criminal defendant is innocent unless proven guilty. I also know that the Senate has an ethics code that governs the behavior of elected officials, regardless of whether they are convicted or not. Senator Calderon is entitled to his full due process in all venues. It may be difficult, if not impossible, for the Senate to conduct a full investigation of the issues contained in the indictment because the U.S. Attorney has asked us specifically not to call any witnesses who are part of their investigation.
"Given the seriousness of charges that strike at the very heart of what it means to be a public official, Senator Calderon's continued service is a cloud over all the important work that we must get done this year. It is in the best interests of the people and the Senate if he resigns. I call on him to do so. The Senate Rules committee has already stripped him of his committee chairmanship and his committee assignments.
"At a minimum, he should take a complete leave of absence until the criminal proceedings are finished. If he does not resign, or take that leave of absence voluntarily, the Senate will seek to suspend him."