Former top aide to L.A. Councilman Huizar pleads guilty in bribery case

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Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar is shown at a meeting in February 2020. (Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar is shown at a meeting in February 2020. (Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

A former top aide to City Councilman Jose Huizar has pleaded guilty for his role in a $1.5 million pay-to-play scheme tied to the approval of large building projects.

George Esparza entered the plea Wednesday to a federal racketeering conspiracy charge.

Esparza was a special assistant to Huizar, who’s also facing a racketeering conspiracy charge and was suspended from his council post after his arrest last month.

Prosecutors say that Huizar and his cronies solicited bribes from developers to ensure their projects received favorable treatment.

The alleged bribes included bags of cash, hotel stays and perks during Las Vegas trips.

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