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Brea Bennett at Twistys

August 30, 2003 12:08am
Councilmen Plead Innocent of Strip Club Money
Source: AP
by: Company Press Release

(SAN DIEGO, CA) -- Three San Diego city councilmen pleaded innocent Friday to charges of taking money from a strip club owner in exchange for trying to relax regulations on adult entertainment.

The indictment alleges the councilmen accepted tens of thousands of dollars in exchange for trying to repeal the city's "no-touch" law, which prohibits patrons from touching adult dancers.

Councilmen Ralph Inzunza, Charles Lewis and Michael Zucchet were released on $25,000 bond each, one day after they were indicted on charges of fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Inzunza and Zucchet also are accused of extortion.

Cheetahs club owner Michael Galardi, who also has two strip clubs in Las Vegas, pleaded innocent and was released on $250,000 bond. He is accused of fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, extortion and racketeering.

The councilmen surrendered Friday morning at the FBI's offices. Dozens of cheering supporters greeted them as they left the courthouse later.

Lewis told the crowd that he would never take a bribe and vowed to stay in office. Zucchet said he was confident he would be vindicated in court. Inzunza smiled and flashed a thumbs-up sign. Galardi declined comment.

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