10:00 PM PST on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Press-Enterprise

Riverside County district attorney’s investigators have called Supervisor John Benoit to testify before a grand jury.

Benoit confirmed Tuesday that he received the subpoena last week and is scheduled to appear before the panel in Riverside on Friday morning.

The supervisor and former state senator said he respects the secrecy of grand jury proceedings and declined to discuss details.

John Hall, a spokesman for District Attorney Rod Pacheco, said his office will neither confirm nor deny the existence of ongoing grand jury criminal investigations.

The district attorney’s office does have ongoing investigations into a campaign contributor and consultant with past ties to Benoit. The supervisor has not been accused of any wrongdoing as part of the inquiries.

Developer Stephen Holgate is among those charged last year in a 155-count corruption indictment. Holgate and four recently recalled San Jacinto council members are accused of corruption related to trading campaign contributions for preferential treatment for proposed developments.

Holgate, who has pleaded not guilty, has donated significantly to Benoit’s campaigns. Since 2005, Holgate and his wife contributed at least $27,000 to Benoit’s election campaigns.

Holgate also contributed $100,000 to an organization called Conservative Leaders of America.

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