I-Team: 2 pimps seek new trials, allege police corruption

LAS VEGAS - Two convicted pimps serving life terms in Nevada prisons inched closer to getting new trials this week, largely because of salacious allegations they've made about the vice cops who put them away.

Attorneys for Ocean Fleming and Raymond Sharpe appeared before different judges in different courtrooms, but the arguments they're making are almost identical.  And, as the I-Team has reported exclusively, the same allegations are being pursued by the FBI.

From what has already been confirmed in court records, this could end up as the biggest police corruption case in Las Vegas history, and from everything the I-Team has learned, it's getting bigger every day. 

The FBI has been working the case for at least three years, focusing on vice officers who were part of a pimp enforcement team. On Friday, a mountain of internal police documents obtained by subpoena could be ready to be turned over to defense attorneys.

"I'm still reviewing files, voluminous records. I can't spend eight hours a day doing that. I'm doing it two hours at a time. I should have it done by the end of this week," said District Court Judge Michael Villani.

The files -- under review by the judge -- were obtained from Metro Police as a result of eight subpoenas filed by attorneys for convicted pimp Ocean Fleming, serving a life-term for pandering, kidnapping, and other charges.

Once the review is finished, the files would be handed over to Fleming's attorneys, and to a special prosecutor appointed to the case after the Clark County District Attorney's office had to withdraw.

Someone else likely to receive a copy is Jonathan MacArthur, representing another convicted pimp, Raymond Sharpe, serving 13 life terms for pandering, kidnapping, and other crimes. Sharpe, like Fleming is seeking a new trial based on allegations that vice cops engaged in tawdry and outrageous behavior.

"My understanding is that HR investigated the allegations, that they were sleeping with witnesses," said Janiece Marshall, attorney for Ocean Fleming.

This week, Fleming's lawyer made one last attempt to obtain a file that Metro says doesn't exist. The judge turned down the request, but Marshall already has a mountain of information, and so does the FBI. 

Sheriff Joe Lombardo confirmed to the I-Team months ago that the FBI requested information from his agency -- some of the same information now being sought by defense lawyers -- internal files about key members of the high-profile pimp enforcement team which investigated and put away some of the most notorious pimps in Las Vegas, including Fleming and Sharpe.

At the center of the FBI probe, star vice Detective Chris Baughman, who wrote about his investigatory exploits in two books, his partner, Al Beas, his boss,Vice Lt. Karen Hughes and intelligence Detective Warren Gray.

Evidence filed in court documents outlines a salacious pattern of behavior in which Baughman and Beas allegedly slept with numerous prostitutes who then became the key witnesses against their pimps. Defense lawyers say the detectives coached the women about how they should testify, which led to more serious charges, resulting in life sentences.

 FBI interest became apparent in 2014 when agents searched the home of music producer and outcall owner Jamal Rashid, better known as Mally Mall. Agents came to suspect that Baughman worked in partnership with Rashid, and was busting other pimps as a way to eliminate his competition and that Baughman and his partners had stepped way over the line by having sexual relations with witnesses who were also crime victims.

In another courtroom this week, the lawyer for Raymond Sharpe was granted an extension to file motions later this year, possibly anticipating that by then, the FBI's case against the former detectives could be unveiled. A third target of the pimp team, Arman Izadi, is reportedly considering a federal civil rights action against the former officers.

And, sources within the defense bar have told the I-Team, the same allegations about the former cops are likely to surface soon in two other high-profile cases, though we are unable to reveal those names just yet.

The drip, drip, drip of more names, more witnesses also might explain why the FBI has not yet dropped the hammer, but that time is coming.
 


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