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Former L.A. County Sheriff’s Deputy Agrees to Plead Guilty to Federal Corruption Charge

WASHINGTON – A former Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy was charged today with agreeing to accept $20,000 in bribes in exchange for smuggling contraband into the Men’s Central Jail, announced Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, and André Birotte Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California

In a criminal information filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, Gilbert Michel, 38, was charged with one count of bribery of a public official.

In a plea agreement also filed today, Michel agreed to plead guilty to the charge and to cooperate in an ongoing investigation.

Michel, who resigned from the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD) in September 2011, was assigned to the Men’s Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles. The criminal information charges that the LASD is a local organization which receives federal funds and that Michel, as deputy sheriff, was responsible for the care, custody and security of inmates housed at the jail.

In the plea agreement, Michel admits that he agreed to accept $20,000 in cash in exchange for smuggling contraband into the jail for delivery to an inmate. The contraband included a cell phone, cigarettes and a note, which in jail parlance is called a “kite.”

The charge of bribery of a public official carries a statutory maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison.

Michel is expected to make his initial court appearance in this case on Jan. 17, 2012.

The case against Michel is part of an ongoing investigation being conducted by the FBI. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California in conjunction with the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

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