A date has been set in the federal trial against L.A. City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas and the former dean of the USC School of Social Work. As determined by a federal judge, the trial of Ridley-Thomas and former USC dean, Marilyn Flynn will begin on August 9. 2022 in downtown Los Angeles.
The 20-count indictment by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiracy, mail and wire fraud sent shockwaves throughout L.A. county in October. Ridley-Thomas—who is accused of directing lucrative contracts to USC in return for admission for his son into a graduate program with a full scholarship and paid professorship—has maintained his innocence.
“Throughout my entire career, I have sought to act with the utmost ethical conviction,” Ridley-Thomas said in a formal statement. “I have every intent on fighting these outrageous allegations and expect to be fully exonerated.”
The veteran councilman was suspended from the L.A. Council in a manner some have publicly characterized as politically motivated just hours before he was formally arraigned.
“While some have rushed to judgment, perhaps for political gain, we all win when we afford our brother and sisters the constitutional entitlement to the presumption of innocence,” stated Michael J. Proctor, the attorney for Ridley-Thomas.
In the meantime, Tenth District residents have been left without a vote on the city council. Beverly Rowe is among the many long-term residents of CD10 who remain outraged at her district being left voteless and the suspension of Ridley-Thomas.
Said Rowe, “This is a man who has served 30 years city, county and state, has done an impeccable job in these communities. He not only deserves the presumption of innocence. He has earned the presumption of innocence.”