Outstanding Los Angeles County politician Mark Ridley-Thomas was sentenced right this moment to 3 years and 6 months in jail for voting in assist of county contracts that may favor USC whereas accepting advantages for his son from the college.

“This was a shakedown,” prosecutors wrote in sentencing papers. See the Justice Division’s recap of the case beneath.

“Not the kind in movies with bags of cash or threats of force. But the kind that is polite and pervasive. The kind that happens too often by sophisticated, powerful people. The kind to which society, sadly, has become so accustomed that it often goes unreported and rarely yields consequences for the offender but strikes a devastating blow to the integrity of our democratic system.”

Protection attorneys requested for a time period of house confinement, group service and a positive, however no jail time. Nevertheless, if incarceration is required, they requested not more than two years and three months, courtroom papers present.

Ridley-Thomas, 68, was convicted March 30, whereas he was a suspended member of the L.A. Metropolis Council, on single counts of conspiracy, bribery, sincere companies mail fraud and 4 counts of sincere companies wire fraud, stemming from his time serving on the county Board of Supervisors.

Democrat Ridley-Thomas is a fixture of native politics, having held workplace for the previous 30 years as, variously, an L.A. Metropolis Councilman, a member of the California State Meeting and Senate and an L.A. County Supervisor. Ridley-Thomas was suspended from the Metropolis Council following the October 2021 federal indictment. After the responsible verdicts, Heather Hutt was appointed as the brand new councilwoman from District 10.

He’s the third L.A. metropolis councilman to face federal prices over the previous few years. Former member José Huizar was arrested on racketeering prices in 2020 and pleaded not responsible. Former Councilmember Mitchell Englander was sentenced in 2021 to 14 months in federal jail for his conduct surrounding his obstruction of a public-corruption investigation.

Jurors, who reached their verdicts on their fifth day of deliberations in Los Angeles federal courtroom, acquitted Ridley-Thomas of a dozen fraud counts.

In protection papers, Ridley-Thomas’ attorneys argued for a probationary sentence alongside the traces of the penalty handed to his co-defendant, Marilyn Flynn.

Flynn, an 84-year-old former dean of the social work faculty at USC who pleaded responsible to bribing the veteran politician, was sentenced final month to 18 months house confinement and ordered to pay a $150,000 positive.

“A just sentence must consider whether imposing a significantly different sentence from that imposed on Dean Flynn lends to the appearance of vindictiveness for proceeding to trial,” based on Ridley-Thomas’ attorneys.

He’s interesting the conviction.

“Mr. Ridley-Thomas was elected to serve the people of Los Angeles, but instead, his deliberate actions served his own interests and those of his family member,” stated Donald Alway, the Assistant Director in Cost of the FBI’s Los Angeles Subject Workplace. “The FBI will continue to target the corruption that erodes trust in government so the people of Los Angeles can have faith in their elected officials.”

Right here is the DOJ’s synopsis of the Ridley-Thomas case:

The jury discovered that Ridley-Thomas engaged in a legal conspiracy with Marilyn Louise Flynn, 84, of Los Feliz, previously the dean of the College of Southern California’s Faculty of Social Work and a tenured professor.

In December 2017, citing well being points, Ridley-Thomas’ son abruptly resigned from the California State Meeting. On the time of his resignation, Ridley-Thomas’ son was the topic of a sexual harassment investigation within the Meeting, a truth not recognized by USC or the general public. Behind the scenes, Ridley-Thomas orchestrated a media and authorized marketing campaign, utilizing a public relations workforce to persuade the general public his son was in poor health and a authorized workforce to indefinitely stall the Meeting’s investigation.

Ridley-Thomas sought “landing spots” for his son, prosecutors stated, to protect the Ridley-Thomas household legacy and Ridley-Thomas’ personal political model prematurely of a deliberate run for Los Angeles mayor in 2022. These “spots” included prestigious titles, superior levels, and paying jobs to assist his son take care of mounting private debt.

Ridley-Thomas solicited Flynn’s assist securing these spots for his son. He knew that Flynn wanted his assist acquiring county contracts, and he “monetized” his public service through the use of the ability of his elected workplace as a “bargaining chip” to complement his household and protect his political picture, prosecutors argued.

Throughout the conspiracy’s course, Flynn finally met Ridley-Thomas’ calls for by offering his son graduate faculty admission to pursue a twin grasp’s diploma, a full-tuition scholarship, a paid professorship, and a mechanism for Ridley-Thomas to funnel $100,000 of his marketing campaign funds by the college to a non-profit operated by the son – the Coverage, Analysis & Observe Initiative (PRPI).

By funneling the cost by USC, Ridley-Thomas tried to disguise the true supply of a $100,000 cost to make it seem as if USC, not Ridley-Thomas, was the beneficiant benefactor supporting his son and PRPI.

As a part of their scheme, Ridley-Thomas and Flynn defrauded USC and others by concealing their secret association and mendacity to the college concerning the goal of Ridley-Thomas’ $100,000 donation of marketing campaign funds to USC, in addition to the explanation for Flynn’s request that the college make a $100,000 cost to PRPI. Had USC recognized about their scheme or the lies each instructed, USC wouldn’t have accepted Ridley-Thomas’ $100,000 donation, nor wouldn’t it have permitted the following $100,000 cost to PRPI.

In trade for Flynn’s assist funneling the $100,000 in marketing campaign funds by USC to PRPI and his son, Ridley-Thomas supported a profitable modification to an present contract between the county and USC by which the USC Telehealth Clinic supplied digital psychological well being companies to sufferers referred by the county in trade for taxpayer {dollars}. On the face of the contract, the amended phrases provided USC greater than $500,000 in income, though based on proof at trial, Flynn anticipated an excellent higher return – probably as much as $8 million in new income – with
Ridley-Thomas’ help.

As well as, whereas soliciting advantages from Flynn, Ridley-Thomas supported different contracts involving the Social Work Faculty, together with contracts to offer companies to the Division of Youngsters and Household Providers (DCFS) and the county’s Probation Division. Throughout the conspiracy, Ridley-Thomas voted on three county proposals, together with the amended Telehealth contract, that Flynn had sought to shore up her faculty’s monetary scenario because it confronted a multimillion-dollar finances deficit. Ridley-Thomas additionally labored to affect key county decisionmakers related to these approvals and made certain Flynn knew of his efforts whereas he sought profitable advantages for his son from Flynn.

Metropolis Information Service contributed to this report.