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Thursday, Oct 6, 2022
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Councilmen Convicted of Corruption Charges

City Councilman Michael Zucchet, who as deputy mayor had briefly sat in for Mayor Dick Murphy after he stepped down July 15, and City Councilman Ralph Inzunza were convicted on July 18 on federal corruption charges.

The lawmakers had been accused of conspiring with Cheetah’s strip club owner Michael Galardi to soften regulations covering adult entertainment establishments.

Inzunza was convicted on 12 of the 37 felony counts lodged against him, while Zucchet was convicted of nine of the 37 counts he was charged with.

Charges against then-City Councilman Charles L. Lewis were dismissed following his death in August.

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Also convicted was Las Vegas lobbyist Lance Malone, who worked for Galardi, of conspiracy and wire fraud, but was cleared of a bribery charge.

After the verdict came down, City Attorney Michael Aguirre issued a statement that both councilmen were immediately suspended from office, and would automatically forfeit their seats as soon as the court sentences them.

Meanwhile, City Councilwoman Toni Atkins, who was deputy mayor before Zucchet, will serve as mayor pro-tem this week.

The City Council is scheduled to decide on an interim pro tem at its meeting next week, according to an Atkins spokesman.

Eleven candidates are on the July 26 special election ballot to replace Murphy, with a November runoff expected to determine the winner.

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