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LAPD Officer Convicted in Perjury Case

Officer Manuel Bernando Ortiz, who is on administrative leave, was convicted of perjury for lying under oath during a drug case.

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.

A Los Angeles Police Department officer was convicted Thursday of perjury for lying under oath during a 2008 drug case.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge George G. Lomeli allowed Officer Manuel Bernardo Ortiz—who is on administrative leave—to remain free on his own recognizance pending sentencing April 9.

Jurors deliberated about two hours before convicting Ortiz, 40, of one count each of conspiracy and perjury under oath.

A separate jury deadlocked 11-1 in favor of finding him guilty in November 2012.

"We're terribly disappointed with the result," defense attorney Bill Seki said outside the courtroom, maintaining that his client testified truthfully.

"Mr. Ortiz had no reason and no motive to lie," his attorney said.

Co-defendants Evan Samuel and Richard Amio—who were Los Angeles police officers when they were charged in October 2009—were convicted in the November 2012 trial.

Samuel was convicted of three counts of perjury under oath and one count each of conspiracy to obstruct justice and perjury by declaration, while Amio was found guilty of two counts of perjury under oath and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice.

Samuel and Amio were both sentenced last May to three years probation and ordered to perform 750 and 500 hours, respectively, of community labor.

The charges stemmed from 2008 court proceedings for Guillermo Alarcon, who was charged in a drug possession case. Alarcon's case was dismissed in June 2008 at the request of the prosecution after footage from an apartment building security camera contradicted the officers' sworn testimony.

Alarcon attorney Luis Carrillo said the officers testified that they saw Alarcon throw something to the ground—drugs—immediately after he had been chased to the apartment building in July 2007. The video showed officers searched the area for about 30 minutes before finding—or planting—drugs in the area, Carrillo said.

—City News Service

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