Prosecutors seek 6-year prison term for Ridley-Thomas

Prosecutors asked a federal judge Monday to sentence veteran Los Angeles politician Mark Ridley-Thomas to six years in federal prison, citing the menace of public corruption in a democracy and the lawmaker’s abuse of the power and privileges of his office.

In a stinging memo, prosecutors summarized Ridley-Thomas’ conduct in blunt terms as a “shakedown” in which he “made his self-interested demands known” to a USC dean and sought favors from the university for his son in exchange for county business. At the time, he was one of five members of L.A. County’s powerful Board of Supervisors.

“He lied, cheated, and deceived, repeatedly,” prosecutors wrote in a 32-page memo. “Through his own corrupt actions, abuse of his powerful elected office, failure to accept responsibility, and efforts to undermine the public’s faith in this judicial process, defendant’s overall conduct strongly supports a sentence of 72 months’ imprisonment.”

Ridley-Thomas was convicted in March of four counts of honest services wire fraud and one count each of bribery, conspiracy and honest services mail fraud. Jurors acquitted him of 12 other fraud charges related to a scholarship and job his son received from USC around the time when the politician was voting on other matters sought by the university.

Representatives for Ridley-Thomas did not immediately respond to a request for comment. He is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 21.

This is a breaking story and will be updated.