Ron Calderon sat alone in the New Deal-era federal courthouse at Spring and Temple streets in downtown Los Angeles. Moments before, this scion of a California political dynasty had strolled through the room’s big Wizard of Oz double doors, his suit jacket open to expose a generous girth, as though he were casually stepping onto the floor of the state senate, where he had once been a power broker.
Nobody paid attention to him, and he had a whole row to himself. On this morning last April Calderon had nothing to do but fuss with his glasses and await the appearance of a judge. At the podium Mark Geragos, the theatrically affable celebrity lawyer, was playfully straightening the tie knot of an unsmiling Doug Miller, an aggressive assistant U.S. attorney who sported a shaved head.