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Attorneys offer opening statements in LAPD trial

  CASE FILE
GRAPHIC The trial of four Los Angeles Police Department officers implicated in the largest corruption scandal

LAPD Scandal
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graphic LAPD scandal a stark example of the failure of police reform
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LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- As opening statements began Friday in the trial of four police offers charged in a widespread corruption scandal, a prosecutor told jurors the men "conspired to obstruct justice and framed innocent people and covered up their crimes."

Prosecutor Laura Laesecke told the jurors the evidence would lead them to convict the defendants. The 12 jurors and six alternates were attentive and took notes as prosecutors outlined their case. Attorneys for the four officers followed and they portrayed the key informant - disgraced former LAPD Officer Rafael Perez -- as a liar and thief.

Sgt. Edward Ortiz and officers Brian Liddy, Paul Harper and Michael Buchanan are charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice. In addition, each officer faces different felony counts, including planting evidence and filing false reports.

Testimony against the officers is expected to come in large part from Perez, who agreed to testify about alleged officer misconduct in the LAPD anti-gang units in exchange for a lenient sentence for stealing six pounds of cocaine from the police evidence locker. Under the plea agreement, Perez could be a free man next year.

The four defendants were the first to be charged in the so-called Rampart scandal, named for the police station at the center of the LAPD's worst scandal.



RELATED STORIES:
Appeals court intercedes in LAPD corruption trial
October 12, 2000
Appeals court intercedes in LAPD corruption trial
October 12, 2000
LAPD trial starts with attacks on former officer Perez
October 5, 2000
Jury selection begins in LAPD police misconduct trial
October 4, 2000
Five years later, O.J. Simpson says Los Angeles Police scandal has relevance for his own case
October 4, 2000
Four LAPD officers go on trial with accuser in the spotlight
October 3, 2000
Los Angeles City Council agrees to federal police reforms
September 20, 2000
Current and former LA police officers sue department for $100 million
August 24, 2000
Los Angeles police officer pleads guilty to civil rights violations
August 18, 2000
Public defender: Up to 30,000 cases need review in light of LAPD scandal
August 10, 2000
Another conviction overturned in LAPD scandal
August 4, 2000
LAPD officer pleads guilty to federal civil rights charges
August 4, 2000
LAPD officers face administrative charges in controversial shooting
July 26, 2000

RELATED DOCUMENTS:
Department of Justice proposed consent decree
City of Los Angeles notes on proposed plan
Independent Analysis of the Los Angeles Police Department's Board of Inquiry Report on the Rampart Scandal
Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader
RELATED SITES:
The Los Angeles Police Department
Los Angeles County District Attorney Homepage
United States Attorney's Office, Central District of California


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