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October 8, 2013

Brief defense made in Lopez corruption trial

Closing arguments, possible verdict today in city cop case


Lopez, 47, is charged in connection with his dealings with M & W Towing and Calixto from December 2010 to May 2011.

Last Tuesday, the day the trial opened, Calixto testified at length about his arrangement with Lopez who he said he gave reduced rates on car purchases — a Suzuki Reno, Ford Escape and Nissan Altima — and a $4,000 snow plow in exchange for sending an increased amount of tows to M & W.

M & W at that time was one of the four city towing companies that towed for the city of Lawrence on a rotating basis. Calixto made roughly $150 off every tow ordered by police.

Calixto, along with his secretary Mayra Colon, both received immunity from prosecution in exchange for their testimony against Lopez in the federal trial.

M & W drivers Edward Scales and Carlos Ortiz along with FBI agent Larry Travaglia also testified against Lopez.

If convicted, Lopez faces up to 20 years in prison on the obstruction charge, up to 10 years on the bribery charge and five years maximum for lying to a federal agent. He can also be fined up to $250,000 on each charge, according to information provided by U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz’s office.

Colon, who worked under the table at M & W, testified last week that after the FBI started questioning her and others about Lopez, she created a fake receipt showing Lopez paid $4,000 for a snow plow.

She then told Calixto to lie to FBI agents, saying Lopez had paid the $4,000 but he had forgotten he got paid because he was drunk. Calixto, when he testified, acknowledged he had a drinking problem he’s twice sought treatment for.

Colon later told FBI agents she fabricated the receipt and made up the payment story.

Calixto, in his testimony, said he repeatedly went along with Lopez because he didn’t want to get thrown off the Lawrence tow list or blackballed in city business.

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