Left unsaid in today's LAT story on the mystery illness of Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald is that her son was in federal court in Pasadena yesterday appealing his conviction on corruption charges. For that you have to go to the Daily Breeze, which covered the hearing where R. Keith McDonald argued through his lawyers that prosecutors purposely kept blacks off his jury by filing the charges in Orange County. McDonald is out of prison on leave in part because he's supposedly caring for his mother, even though aides say in the Times that she is fine. The Breeze:
The allegation was the central issue Wednesday as McDonald, who is black, took the appeal of his 2004 conviction on 10 felony counts to a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Since he was charged, McDonald's lawyers have complained that the case should have been heard in a federal courtroom in Los Angeles because practically all the allegations in the indictment against him involved conduct in Los Angeles County. But the appeal marks the first time McDonald's defense has contended that conducting the trial in Orange County was discriminatory.
[Prosecutor] Smith said that under a federal court rule, there was a sufficient connection to Orange County to file the case there and that U.S. District Court Judge Alicemarie Stotler rejected defense objections to the venue filed before and after the trial.
McDonald was convicted of four counts of mail fraud, two counts of bribery, three counts of money laundering and one count of conspiracy to commit extortion in connection with schemes in which he allegedly solicited water district contractors for cash and political contributions.
McDonald was sentenced to 41 months in prison and served three months before the judge—"in a highly unusual move"—gave him a six-month temporary release to care for his children, ailing wife and congresswoman-mother. Last month, Stotler granted him a six-week extension. The Breeze story, by Copley News reporter Matt Krasnowski, doesn't deal with the issue of Rep. Millender-McDonald's office insisting she is not sick (but he has written about it before.)