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Former L.A. lawmaker sentenced to prison after sweeping City Hall corruption probe

Former City Councilman Mitchell Englander took cash, casino chips and escorts and then tried covering his tracks.
Image: Los Angeles City Councilman Mitchell Englander in 2016.
Los Angeles City Councilman Mitchell Englander in 2016.Lilly Lawrence / Getty Images file

A former Los Angeles lawmaker was sentenced to 14 months in prison on Monday for obstructing a corruption investigation related to his receiving improper gifts, such as cash and the services of female escorts.

One-time City Councilman Mitchell Englander, 50, is scheduled to surrender to federal authorities on June 1, when he'll start serving at least 85 percent of that term, a Department of Justice spokesman said.

"I give no excuses, I own what I did and take responsibility 100 percent," Englander told U.S. District Court Judge John F. Walter.

"I apologize to the court, to the FBI, to the community, my former constituents, and more importantly to my family, my wife, my daughters."

Englander had represented L.A. City Council District 12 — covering the San Fernando Valley neighborhoods of Granada Hills, Chatsworth and Northridge — from July 2011 until his abrupt resignation at the end of 2018.

At the time he quit, Englander was the only Republican on the 15-member, non-partisan city council. There are currently no registered Republicans on the panel.

He pleaded guilty last July to one count of scheming to falsify material facts, stemming from the “Casino Loyale" probe that also ensnared former city council member Jose Huizar and 10 other defendants. Huizar is expected to stand trial June on a 41-count racketeering indictment. He has pleaded not guilty.

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Prosecutors said Englander accepted lavish gifts for his consideration on a powerful city planning committee.

On one trip to Las Vegas, for example, Englander was given an envelope with $10,000 cash, $1,000 in chips, $34,000 in bottle service at a nightclub and the services of two female escorts — one of whom was later instructed to go to his hotel room, prosecutors said.

Judge Walter said Englander compounded the underlying corruption by trying to cover his tracks.

"Defendant's obstruction campaign was calculated, extensive in scope and duration, and designed to mislead investigators," Walter said before sentencing.

“He chose to lie and engage in this elaborate and clandestine scheme to hide his lies, making sure that Businessman A would also lie during his interviews with the FBI in order to coordinate lies."