January 13th, 2010 by Celeste Fremon
Around 11:30, at the end of the closed hearing that began at 10 a.m. Alex Sanchez attorney Kerry Bensinger came out of the courtroom to talk to Sanchez family and a very, very small handful of supporters, whom he drew into a side room and broke the news. There were many tears.
Bail is set at $2 million. It is to be divided into $1 million in properties, $1 million in sureties.
Since Sanchez supporters have already gathered $1.4 million in property, and $1 million in sureties, “it’s only a matter of the paperwork,” said Monica Novoa, a Homies Unidos board member who is very close to the family and thus was in the room.
Understandably, there will be stringent restrictions, which have been agreed upon but not been spelled out publicly.
“But all that’s fine,” said Novoa. “We really feel that this is the beginning of a fair trial for Alex. He’ll be able to see his family, meet with his attorney, and work for his own defense. That’s all we ever asked for.”
As to who was inside the closed hearing, there were assuredly LAPD officers. And there was supposed to be someone from inside City Hall, or who someone who works closely with City Hall.
I have heard floating rumors that the City Hall someone may have been City Council Member Tony Cardenas.
If true, this makes a great deal of sense. The mayor’s gang czar Guillermo Cespedes could have been called in but he’d have had little or nothing concrete in the way of personal knowledge to offer as he didn’t take over his post until September and prior to that he was running Summer Night Lights and would have had no reason to deeply interact with Sanchez and the area of town in which the government alleges he was operating.
There is former Jeff Carr, the mayor’s chief of staff who was formerly the gang czar. But Carr, while he had worked with Sanchez, would have been unwise to come down on one side or the other of this very controversy-fraught case because either way he leaned he would risk alienating a group that is important to the mayor.
Cardenas, however, is arguably the most knowledgeable of the three, and has a long-term professional relationship with Sanchez and other gang interventionists due to his multi-year chairmanship of the Council’s Ad-hoc Committee on Gang Violence and Youth Development. Thus he was in a position to gather some genuine intel.
Plus, although I have criticized Cardenas plenty of times over the years, I have also known him to also at times show an unusual amount of moral courage when the cameras were turned off and there was nothing to gain.
So, while I don’t know if the mystery City Hall person was Tony Cardenas, he would be my pick for the one whom Judge Real would have been wise to call. Had he been called in, I would like to think he would have told what he believed to be the truth—whatever that truth might be.