Six current and former Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies were found guilty Tuesday of conspiracy and obstruction of justice charges stemming from attempts to block an FBI probe into corruption within the jail system.
Gregory Thompson, Stephen Leavins, Gerard Smith, Mickey Manzo, Scott Craig and Maricella Long each face up to 15 years in federal prison when sentenced Sept. 8.
"These defendants took measures to obstruct a federal investigation and to tamper with witnesses," said United States Attorney André Birotte Jr. outside the federal courthouse in downtown Los Angeles after the verdict was read. "That conduct is simply unacceptable.
Each defendant was accused of corruption stemming from an alleged scheme to hide an inmate-turned-FBI-informant from his handlers during a federal investigation into civil rights abuses at the hands of jailers.
Prosecutors argued that when inmate-turned-federal-informant Anthony Brown was discovered in 2011 with a cell phone planted by FBI agents, the deputies participated in an operation to keep him hidden while interrogating him about what he might have disclosed to investigators.
The indictment against the six deputies said two even went so far as to show up at the home of a federal prosecutor in an attempt to intimidate her.
Jurors said it was clear the deputies' conduct was criminal.
"It's all the evidence put together painted a very clear picture," said juror Steven Bonfoey.
The deputies are part of a larger corruption probe that could include leaders within the department.
Twenty deputies have been indicted so far in the broad investigation.