LOS ANGELES (AP) — Former Los Angeles City Councilman Mitchell Englander was sentenced Monday to 14 months in prison for lying to federal investigators about his dealings with a businessman who provided him $15,000 in secret cash payments during a night out in Las Vegas.
U.S. District Judge John F. Walter rejected Englander’s explanation that he’d simply been trying to protect his reputation, saying the former councilman tampered with a witness and obstructed a federal probe, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“There’s simply no adequate explanation as to how he totally lost his moral compass and committed this crime,” Walter said at a virtual hearing. The judge imposed a $15,000 fine — the amount contained in the envelopes Englander accepted in Las Vegas casino restrooms. the newspaper said.
Englander, 50, is the first person to be sentenced in a wide-ranging federal investigation into corruption at Los Angeles City Hall. He pleaded guilty last year to scheming to falsify material facts, a felony.
As part of his plea deal, Englander admitted lying to prosecutors and FBI agents during three interviews about his interactions with the unnamed businessman.
After the Vegas trip, the businessman became a government informant and secretly recorded conversations with the former councilman.