An 83-year-old former dean of the University of Southern California's School of Social Work has agreed to plead guilty to the federal charge that she bribed politician Mark Ridley-Thomas, the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Central District of California announced Sept. 15. She had previously pleaded not guilty on Oct. 25, 2021, the L.A. Times reported.
Ridley-Thomas, a suspended L.A. City Council member, pleaded not guilty last year to one count of conspiracy, one count of bribery, two counts of honest services mail fraud, and 15 counts of honest services wire fraud, according to a July 28, 2022, L.A. Times report. The charges come from a federal grand jury investigation of his time as a Los Angeles County supervisor. He is scheduled to go to trial on Nov. 15.
The former USC dean, Marilyn Louise Flynn of Los Feliz, is expected to admit to one count of bribery. The USAO alleges she funneled a $100,000 donation from Ridley-Thomas's campaign fund through his son's nonprofit to obtain a valuable Los Angeles County contract. She has also agreed to pay a fine of at least $100,000, the USAO said. She is scheduled to plead guilty in court in the coming weeks.
Complex Public-Private Corruption Alleged
U.S. Attorneys from the Department of Justice's Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section are prosecuting Flynn's case. The complex scheme allegedly involves the L.A. County Department of Mental Health, USC Telehealth, United Ways of California, and the Policy, Research & Practice Initiative (PRPI), according to the USAO.
The L.A. Podcast reported that Flynn allegedly promised Ridley-Thomas she would offer his son Sebastian Ridley-Thomas a paid USC professorship. Cal Matters reported Sebastian Ridley-Thomas abruptly resigned from the Assembly in 2017 to avoid sexual harassment charges. The Los Angeles Sentinel described the younger Ridley-Thomas as a leader of PRPI, an African American nonprofit voter research project.
Home Confinement for Flynn
If Flynn pleads guilty as agreed, she faces a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison. The USAO plea agreement states that prosecutors will recommend she serve her custodial term in home confinement and pay no more than $150,000.
The FBI is still investigating the Ridley-Thomas case.
Anyone facing federal charges needs experienced and competent legal counsel like the Sigal Law Group. Call 818-325-0570 for a free consultation.