On Monday, it was announced that a former staffer for a member of the United States Congress had been sentenced to 18 months in prison for bribery and attempted extortion. 45-year-old Michael Kimbrew of Santa Clarita, California was accused of demanding and accepting $5,000 to prevent the closure of a marijuana shop in the City of Compton. The defendant was sentenced by United States District Judge R. Gary Klausner.
Court testimony showed that Kimbrew received a payoff for promising to wield his power as a federal employee and public official to help a marijuana shop obtain a lucrative permit to continue operating. Evidence presented at trial showed that the defendant claimed to “oversee all activities in Compton” and threatened the shop’s owner, an employee and an undercover FBI agent in recovered meetings that he would shut down the shop unless he received the bribe.
He claimed to have the “authority” and “jurisdiction” over what Compton public officials and departments did. In exchange for the $5,000, the defendant promised to use that authority and jurisdiction to keep the shop in business. Kimbrew eventually received the bribe, which was hidden inside of a restaurant menu. After pocketing the cash, he pledged his “undying support” to protect the business.
In addition to the prison term, the defendant has also been ordered to serve three years of supervised release and to pay $5,000 in restitution. Further details have been made available here.