Southern California breaking news and trends

LA Sheriff: 7 defendants in obstruction of justice case plead not guilty

Thomas O'Brien

Ric Francis/AP

Thomas O'Brien, a former U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles, is representing a sheriff's deputy who has been indicted on obstruction of justice charges. The deputy claims to actually be a whistleblower.

UPDATE: Deputy James Sexton pled not guilty in federal court Monday afternoon.

At the request of Sexton and with the consent of federal prosecutors, the judge is allowing Sexton to keep two firearms at home. Neither his defense attorney nor prosecutors would say why. All other defendants in the case have been ordered to surrender their weapons.

Sexton’s father was in court. Ted M. Sexton is one of 13 high ranking chiefs within the Sheriff’s Department. He heads the Homeland Security Division. Sexton declined to comment on the charges against his son.

Eleven other defendants in various other indictments have all entered pleas.

ORIGINAL STORY: Six of the seven former and current Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department employees accused of trying to block an FBI investigation into the jails have entered not guilty pleas in federal court.

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U.S. Attorney still waiting on pleas from some sheriff's department defendants

Senate unanimously approves nomination of Andre Birotte, Jr. to federal bench

Nick Ut/AP

Andre Birotte, U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California, at podium, and Bill Lewis, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Division, right, at Monday's announcement of criminal cases filed against 18 current and former Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies.

Seven of 18 current and former Los Angeles County Sheriff’s officials indicted Monday on federal corruption and civil rights charges have pleaded not guilty. Nine others have not entered pleas, and two have yet to surrender to authorities in the wide ranging federal investigation.

Sixteen of the 18 defendants are currently with the Sheriff's Department but are suspended with pay.

RELATED: How do you police the police? Experts and politicians say it's not easy overseeing the country's largest jail system

U.S. Attorney’s spokesman Thom Mrozek said Deputy James Sexton and former Sergeant Eric Gonzalez are traveling and will surrender in the "near future."

“We do not consider them fugitives,” Mrozek said.

Gonzalez is accused of encouraging deputies under his command to “engage in excessive force” against visitors who “disrespected” deputies at the Twin Towers Jail in downtown Los Angeles. One man suffered a fractured arm at the hands of deputies under Gonzalez, who allegedly covered up the abuse.

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Pinkberry co-founder guilty of assaulting homeless man

Pinkberry Co Founder

Al Seib/AP

This Jan. 30, 2012 file photo shows Young Lee, one of the former founders of the Pinkberry yogurt chain stands with his attorney Philip Kent Cohen, right, during his arraignment in the Los Angeles Criminal Courts Building in Los Angeles. Lee has been convicted, Friday, Nov. 8, 2013, of assault with a deadly weapon for striking a transient with a tire iron.

A Los Angeles jury on Friday found Young Lee, co-founder of the Pinkberry yogurt chain, guilty of “brutally beating a transient with a tire iron,” according to a statement from the L.A. District Attorney’s Office.

Prosecutors said the victim, Donald Boulding, 44, was panhandling in East Hollywood in 2011 when Lee accused him of disrespecting him by flashing a sexually explicit tattoo. Prosecutors said Lee, 49, returned a short time later and chased and beat the victim before several bystanders intervened.

The jury deliberated a little more than a day before finding Lee guilty of assault with a deadly weapon. Lee faces up to seven years in prison. He helped found the Pinkberry empire in 2005 but is no long affiliated with the company.

The jury of six women and six men also found that the assault caused great bodily injury to the victim, who sustained a broken left forearm and several cuts to his head. 

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LAX shooting: Rumor control—Sorting fact from fiction after Friday's tragedy

LAX Shooting

Mae Ryan/KPCC

Passengers wait at Terminal 1 after the LAX shooting on Nov. 1, 2013.

News of Friday's terrifying and chaotic shooting at Los Angeles Airport broke rapidly and widely across mainstream media, on the Internet and through social media channels. As in all such fluid situations, misinformation mixed with verified details, and many erroneous or unconfirmed accounts were spread regarding the incident.

 Here are the latest developments as of Monday. Below, KPCC deconstructs some of the biggest rumors and speculation, and tries to find the truth behind them.

1) The rumor: Ex-NSA chief Michael Hayden was killed at LAX, and a radical Christian group claimed responsibility.

Perpetuated by: Canada’s Globe and Mail, which falsely published the rumor based on a fake LAPD report, which they attributed to Reuters and the Associated Press. Regarding the fake report, The Wrap points out that "neither the AP nor Reuters included this in their versions of the story, though it was attributed to the agencies in the byline."

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Are you wearing a racist Halloween costume? Are you sure?

The Superman costume that was worn by Ch

Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

The Superman costume that was worn by Christopher Reeve in "Superman: The Movie" on display at Profiles In History in Calabasas, northwest of downtown Los Angeles, on July 19, 2012.

Attention, sexy xenophobes! The official worst Halloween trend of 2013 is having to remind people that dressing in blackface is still not acceptable. Even on Halloween. Even always. Even still. It's not OK.

What not to wear

Contributing to this year's cautionary tale of racist costumes is Julianne Hough. Photos emerged Friday night of the actress in blackface, dressed up as the character "Crazy Eyes," played by Uzo Aduba on the Netflix series "Orange Is The New Black." Twitter's version of a prison riot broke out in response to the images, prompting an apology from Hough.

There's a checklist for that

The Daily Dot lays out some sensitivity guidelines for candy season, namely a flabbergasted condemnation of "white people dressing as Trayvon Martin" — noting the added cruelty of "playing a murdered teen."

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