Video Released of Deposition by LAPD Officers Accused of Sexual Assault

A video was released Friday of the deposition of two Los Angeles Police Department officers who were charged with repeatedly sexually assaulting women, often while on duty.

James Nichols, 44, and Luis Valenzuela, 43, spoke before a judge under oath for the first time Thursday in connection with the sexual assault of several women.

Nichols and Valenzuela worked as partners in the LAPD Hollywood Division. Beginning December 2008 through March 2011, they allegedly began sexually assaulting several women arrested at various times by the officers during narcotics-related offenses, prosecutors said.

A woman accused Valenzuela of coercing and forcing her to have sex with him and threatening her with jail time.

During Thursday's deposition, Valenzuela repeatedly pleaded the Fifth Amendment against self incrimination to questions such as if he had sexual intercourse with the victim, if he threatened her with jail time, and if he threatened to raid her mother's house and put her family in jail if she told anyone about his demands.

When asked about the last time he saw the victim, Nichols said, "It would have been when I left narcotics."

The victim settled against the city in 2014, four years after she said Valenzuela and Nichols arrested her and then offered to help her through the trial if she acted as an informant and had sex with them, court documents said.

The lawsuit stated that Valenzuela pulled his gun and put it to the victim's head. The video deposition was recorded in 2013 as part of that civil lawsuit.

"Officer Valenzuela would show up at [the victim's] apartment drunk at three in the morning," said attorney Dennis Chang, who represents two women in the case. "[He] was sexually assaulting [the victim] in the back seat while Officer Nichols was sitting in the front driver seat as a lookout."

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said the investigation began when one of the victims came forward and told other narcotics officers she had been sexually assaulted during a narcotics investigation.

"These two officers have disgraced themselves," said Beck said during a news conference after the officers were charged in the case. "They've disgraced this badge. They've disgraced their oaths of office."

Both officers have been relieved from duty without pay but are still with the department, according to the LAPD.

Valenzuela and Nichols were charged Tuesday with multiple counts each of sexual assault, including forcible rape, rape under color of authority, oral copulation under color of authority and oral copulation by force.

Valenzuela and Nichols are both being held on $3.7 million bail.

If convicted, they could face up to life in prison.

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