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November 01, 2006
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Ex-LAPD officer involved in scandal pleads no contest to perjury

TORRANCE, Calif.- A disgraced former Los Angeles police officer who exposed a massive corruption scandal within his anti-gang unit seven years ago pleaded no contest to perjury.

Rafael Perez was accused of lying on his application for a driver's license and was arrested in July by investigators for the state Department of Motor Vehicles.

His lawyer, Winston McKesson, said Perez had legally changed his name to Ray Lopez. Prosecutors said he tried to conceal that he had a license under his original name.

Under his plea bargain, Perez is to be sentenced Nov. 30 to three years probation and 300 hours of community service, the Los Angeles County district attorney's office said Tuesday.

McKesson said Perez had brought his birth certificate and Social Security number with his old name on it to the DMV office. "I don't think that he intended any wrongdoing," McKesson said.

Perez entered the no contest plea rather than face a possible five-year prison term, he said.

Perez, 39, triggered the Los Angeles Rampart investigation in 1999 when, charged with stealing cocaine from a police evidence room, he testified that he and fellow anti-gang officers beat, robbed, framed and sometimes shot innocent people. Scores of convictions were thrown out and an estimated $70 million in settlements was paid as a result of the allegations.

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