Mark Ridley-Thomas Sentenced to 3 Years 6 Months

The 68-year-old was convicted March 30 for voting in support of county contracts that would favor USC while accepting benefits for his son from the university.

By Los Angeles Daily News

Prominent Los Angeles County politician Mark Ridley-Thomas was sentenced on Monday, Aug. 28, to three years and six months in prison for voting in support of county contracts that would favor USC while accepting benefits for his son from the university.

Markrt3“The entire community has been victimized by the defendant’s crimes,” U.S. District Judge Dale S. Fischer said during the sentencing hearing inside a packed downtown Los Angeles courtroom.

Fischer added that Ridley-Thomas “has committed serious crimes, has not accepted responsibility and has shown no remorse.”

In addition to the prison time, Ridley-Thomas was ordered to serve three years on supervised release once he completes his prison time. He also must pay an assessment and fines of $30,700.

Ridley-Thomas spoke during the hearing, again insisting he did not do anything illegal, but he apologized to his family and constituents for causing the perception that I deviated from proper conduct.” He said the actions he took that resulted in his conviction were “ill-advised, but not illegal.”

The former state legislator, city councilman and county supervisor was ordered to report to prison on Nov. 13. He showed no reaction as the sentence was imposed.

Prosecutors had asked the judge to sentence Ridley-Thomas to six years behind bars, writing in a sentencing memorandum that he took part in “a shakedown.”

“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,” prosecutors wrote.

Defense attorneys had asked for a term of home confinement, community service and a fine, but no prison time. However, if incarceration is required, they requested no more than two years and three months, court papers show.

The 68-year-old Ridley-Thomas was convicted March 30, while he was a suspended member of the L.A. City Council, on single counts of conspiracy, bribery, honest services mail fraud and four counts of honest services wire fraud, stemming from his time serving on the county Board of Supervisors.

Jurors, who reached their verdicts on their fifth day of deliberations in Los Angeles federal court, acquitted him of a dozen fraud counts.

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