USA v Mark Ridley-Thomas was the subject of a workshop during the 32nd Annual Summit of the Empowerment Congress on Saturday, January 13, 2024. The workshop panel was moderated by KBLA 1580 Talk Radio host Areva Martin and featured an esteemed panel of lawyers and activists, including Alyssa D. Bell, Mansfield Collins, Vincent Harris and Mary M. Lee. Please watch the workshop below!
Dr. Mark Ridley-Thomas (MRT) is currently free on bail pending the appeal of his conviction and sentence to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals by virtue of public interest in the case and a strong, top quality legal defense.
MRT was charged and convicted for exchanging an official act - a vote while LA County Supervisor - on a contract extension negotiated by the staff of the County Department of Mental Health passed unanimously by the Board of Supervisors - for a single “benefit” from USC. That “benefit” was a $100,000 USC sponsorship of a community oriented non-profit organized to survey the political preferences of Black Angelenos. The $100,000 originated from a legal contribution MRT made from a ballot committee he controlled that was properly disclosed pursuant to State law. Neither MRT nor his son, Sebastian, personally benefited monetarily. There was no evidence that any pressure or violation of county policy or State law occurred.
MRT was found “not guilty” on 12 of 19 charges, all related to accusations of direct financial benefits he and/or his son received.
MRT’s conviction presents a unique case with a novel application of federal “honest services fraud” law that raises substantial legal issues, ripe for appeal. His appeal is constitutionally protected. He will remain free on bail pending a decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals regarding this matter.
This Power Point presentation provides a comprehensive overview of the case. It covers issues related to the investigation, indictment, trial, verdict and sentence in USA v. MRT.