George Torres guilty as charged

The Numero Uno supermarket founder and president was convicted today on federal charges that include racketeering and solicitation of murder. Somewhat of a surprise to court watchers, apparently. Steven Mikulan at LA Daily, the LA Weekly's newsblog:

The prosecution admitted that there were credibility problems with two key government witnesses, both of whom are serving prison terms for cocaine-related crimes. Torres' brother, Manuel, had been cut loose last week as a co-defendant and declared "not guilty" by Judge Stephen V. Wilson. Wilson ruled that prosecutors had not proved their case against Manuel Torres and, by declaring him not guilty, ensured the government could not attempt to retry him later on the same charges.

In the end, jurors believed the government and their witnesses enough to convict Torres of dozens of felonies. These also included the attempted bribery of a public official in a failed attempt to win a liquor license for one of Torres' stores, and of hiring illegal immigrants after having them secure false documentation.

Former Weekly writer Jeffrey Anderson wrote at length about Torres and his Vignali family connection for CityBeat in February.

More by Kevin Roderick:
Standing up to Harvey Weinstein
The Media
LA Times gets a top editor with nothing but questions
LA Observed Notes: Harvey Weinstein stripped bare
LA Observed Notes: Photos of the homeless, photos that found homes
Recent Police stories on LA Observed:
LA Times hires new sheriff's beat reporter
Steven Owen, Los Angeles Sheriff's sergeant, 53
Chief Charlie Beck
Silver Lake residents 'had faith in DWP's promises'
Code 7 in Sherman Oaks: A little bit of history
Feds throw more charges at ex-Sheriff Baca
Ex-sheriff Baca rolls the dice on a trial
TV meteorologist Josh Rubenstein leaving for the LAPD


LA Observed on Twitter