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San Diego: 2 convicted for bribery

The Los Angeles Times reports: Acting Mayor Michael Zucchet and Councilman Ralph Inzunza were convicted Monday of trading political favors for campaign contributions from a strip-club owner adding to the political turmoil gripping the city where the mayor has resigned and the pension system is under federal investigation.

Prosecutors charged that the two men, both 35-year-old Democrats, took $23,000 from the owner of Cheetahs Totally Nude club and his associates and, in exchange, agreed to work to ease a city law that prohibits nude dancers from touching their customers. ...

Jerry Coughlan, Zucchet's attorney, said the contacts between the council members and the strip-club owner's lobbyist were identical to those carried on daily between officeholders and contributors seeking favors.

"There isn't a single public official in the country that hasn't done the same thing," he told reporters outside the federal courthouse.

The only difference, Coughlan said, is that the conversations of Zucchet and Inzunza were secretly recorded by the FBI and played for a jury. "Maybe this is a call for public financing [of campaigns] and getting rid of the current system," he said. -- 2 San Diego Officials Guilty in Strip-Club Graft Scandal