Lawyer for Palm Springs mayor expects 'swift conclusion' to FBI probe

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 02, 2015 7:58 PM

By Dan Whitcomb

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A lawyer for the mayor of Palm Springs said on Wednesday that his client was willing to cooperate with authorities who raided city hall this week and expected any probe of his client's activities would be brought to a "swift conclusion."

FBI agents and members of a local public corruption task force descended on Palm Springs City Hall on Tuesday armed with search warrants, sending home employees and closing the offices for the day.

Law enforcement agents also seized several items covered under the search warrants from the home of Mayor Steve Pougnet, according to an FBI spokeswoman.

The FBI and officials with the Inland Empire Public Corruption Task Force have declined to discuss the nature of the searches or reveal if Pougnet was the target of the investigation.

No suspects were taken into custody during the raid and Pougnet, a 52-year-old Democrat who was first elected in 2007, has not been arrested or charged in the case.

"We're happy to cooperate with the inquiry and I have complete confidence that it will be brought to a swift conclusion," attorney Malcolm Segal said.

Segal declined to say if federal authorities had informed him or Pougnet that the mayor was under investigation.

The raid came roughly three months after the state's Fair Political Practices Commission opened a probe into links between Pougnet and a local real estate developer.

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That move followed reports in the Desert Sun about the mayor's business relationships with that developer and an editorial saying he owed voters an explanation.

In a post on his website in May, Pougnet responded that with the articles the newspaper "threw their hat in with the handful of politically motivated detractors who have made accusations about my job as a consultant and my integrity as your mayor."

Pougnet said in that post he would not seek re-election in 2015.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Doina Chiacu)