LOS ANGELES – Two Los Angeles County deputies accused with three colleagues in the beating of a handcuffed jail visitor struck a deal with prosecutors that requires the pair to plead guilty, a newspaper reported.
Court records show that Noel Womack and Pantamitr Zunggeemoge could end up testifying against their former colleagues as part of the agreements, the Los Angeles Times (http://lat.ms/1EOjTe3) reported Sunday.
Womack gave prosecutors a new version of the violent 2011 encounter at Men's Central Jail. He said deputies beat the visitor even though the man was handcuffed and not resisting as he was held on a floor.
Womack has agreed to plead guilty to a felony charge that he lied to FBI agents during an interview last month when he told them he did not know if the visitor was handcuffed, the agreement said.
He acknowledged lying again when he told the agents his supervisor had ordered him to punch the man and a third time when he said the hits had been necessary, it added.
Zunggeemoge entered a guilty plea earlier this year, court records show. The agreement between prosecutors and Zunggeemoge, who had faced allegations of abuse and dishonesty, was sealed by a judge, keeping details secret.
A court filing by another defendant last month said Zunggeemoge also told prosecutors that the visitor was handcuffed during the incident.
In his statement to prosecutors, the filing said, Zunggeemoge said deputies had concocted a story that only one of the man's hands was cuffed to justify their use of force. The filing also said Zunggeemoge has agreed to cooperate fully and testify for the government if prosecutors call him as a witness.
Womack's agreement requires him to resign from the Sheriff's Department, and he will be banned from working in law enforcement. Prosecutors will recommend to the judge that Womack receive no time in prison, according to his plea agreement.
The judge could opt to disregard the suggestion and sentence Womack to as many as five years in prison, court documents show.
With Zunggeemoge's agreement sealed, what recommendation, if any, prosecutors will make on his behalf is not known. His attorney and Assistant U.S. Atty. Brandon Fox declined to comment to the Times.
A lawyer for Womack could not be immediately located on Monday.
Information from: Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com/