I-Team: New evidence in alleged police corruption case

LAS VEGAS - Attorneys for a convicted pimp say they've uncovered new evidence to bolster their accusations about widespread corruption among former Metro vice cops.  

The allegations raised in new court documents are believed to closely parallel an ongoing corruption investigation by the FBI.

As the I-Team reported exclusively, the FBI probe started back in 2014 and targeted several police officers suspected of conspiring with sex traffickers. 

Now there is new evidence in the case of one convicted pimp, and questions about why other sex traffickers were given plea deals. 

"It's a tremendous amount of information. We have a couple of banker boxes of documents from the pub defender's office, still need his trial documents," said Janiece Marshall.

That was defense attorney Janiece Marshall on April 11, 2017 when she first appeared on behalf of convicted pimp Ocean Fleming. Ten months and many hearings later, she's written enough briefs to fill a book shelf.

Fleming is hardly the first convicted felon to claim he was set up by the police, but the scenario he described about the detectives who put him away seemed too outlandish to be believable.

"You got a cop involved in a sexual relationship with one of the victims, then he's involved in sexual relations at the same time with the prosecutor, not to mention he's married. So, in reality you got more females in the courtroom than me," said Ocean Fleming in a phone call from prison.

Fleming is one of more than a dozen witnesses known to have been interviewed by the FBI since the first hint of its public corruption investigation -- a 2014 raid on the Las Vegas home of music producer and escort service kingpin Jamal Rashid, better known as Mally Mall.

In her latest motion, Marshall outlines the complicated plot that is believed to parallel the one being pursed by federal agents. Notably, that star vice detective Chris Baughman, his partner Al Beas and other detectives cooperated in an ongoing criminal conspiracy with Mally Mall, in which the police allegedly used their badges and authority to take down Mally Mall's competitors in the lucrative Las Vegas sex industry.

The motion alleges that Mally Mall made monthly cash payments to officers, that he supplied prostitutes to cops, that he and the police targeted rival pimps including Ocean Fleming, that police and lead prosecutor Deputy DA Liz Mercer coached witnesses so they could level more serious charges such as kidnapping.

Mercer, the prosecutor, was having an affair with Baughman the cop and the two are now married.

Because of that conflict, the Clark County District Attorney's Office had to recuse itself and defense attorney Adam Gil was appointed as special prosecutor in the appeal of Ocean Fleming and another pimp serving life, Raymond Sharpe.

Along the way, attorneys for Metro have opposed several attempts at discovery and former detective Baughman was deposed, but took the fifth on scores of questions.

Now, Marshall has obtained phone records of contacts between Baughman and Mally Mall in and around Fleming's trial, hundreds of minutes of conversations between the cop and the escort kingpin, chats which dropped off dramatically after Fleming was convicted and sentenced.

Marshall has also sought phone records for Baughman's partner Al Beas and wants to depose out-of -state witnesses including Mally Mall. 

With the scent of corruption wafting around the courthouse, a few other recent cases involving alleged pimps have raised eyebrows. Zane Campo, who has an extensive criminal record, was facing five felony charges including sex trafficking. Days ago, he pleaded no contest to one count of disorderly conduct. Suspected pimp Anthony Galassi, an aspiring rapper, was charged with sex trafficking and first-degree kidnapping. He pleaded to a single count of pandering and was mistakenly released for time served, 120 days. A violent felon Shane Valentine, originally a person of interest in a double murder related to the sex industry, recently cut a deal which combined multiple criminal convictions into lesser charges. He was represented by defense attorney Adam Gill, who coincidentally is the special prosecutor in the Ocean Fleming case. Up soon, the case of Tyree Wright, accused of being a violent pimp and kidnapper.

One factor that could tie these cases together under a very broad umbrella -- the FBI investigation, now in its fourth year.

Defense attorneys are asking for a new trial for Ocean Fleming. A hearing is set for Friday.


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