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Ex-Jim Graham aide pleads not guilty in taxi cab scandal

Ted G. Loza, former chief of staff for D.C. Council member Jim Graham, Tuesday morning pleaded not guilty to charges that he accepted or solicited bribes in exchange for pursuing legislation favorable to the taxicab industry.

Loza, who was arrested in September, is accused of accepting or soliciting more than $30,000 in cash, trips, limousine rides and meals.

During a brief hearing in federal court in the District, Judge Paul Friedman raised the question of whether an extra-large jury pool will be needed because of extensive press coverage of the case. For now, a trial is set for October, and prosecutors said it could last about a month.

Loza declined to comment after the hearing. But his attorney, Pleasant S. Brodnax III, said: "We look forward to our day in court."

Loza initially was arrested Sept. 24 and charged with two counts of bribery on allegations he accepted $1,500 in payments from Abdulaziz Kamus, an advocate for Ethiopian cabdrivers who was trying to secure advantages for that community in the city's taxicab market.

In a superseding indictment filed this month, prosecutors added a count of conspiracy to commit bribery, an additional count of bribery, a count of extortion and a count of making false statements.

Graham has repeatedly denied wrongdoing, and he has said he is cooperating with authorities. In September, law enforcement officials told The Washington Post that Graham was not a target of their investigation.

-- Maria Glod

By Maria Glod  |  April 27, 2010; 11:01 AM ET
Categories:  From the Courthouse , Maria Glod , Politics , The District , Updates  
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