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Former LAPD Officer to Stand Trial for Misconduct Charges

Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) - A former Rampart police officer has been ordered to stand trial for allegedly beating and then framing a reputed gang member.

Superior Court Judge William Chidsey Jr. ruled Wednesday that there was enough evidence against former LAPD Officer Ethan Cohan to go to trial.

Cohan, 31, pleaded innocent to charges of assault with a deadly weapon, perjury, filing a false police report and conspiracy. He is scheduled to be arraigned March 11.

The charges against Cohan stem from the police corruption scandal that broke in 1999 after ex-LAPD Officer Rafael Perez alleged that fellow officers beat, framed and planted evidence on innocent victims. Cohan, who worked in the city's Rampart Division with Perez, was fired after the allegations surfaced. Perez was given a lighter prison sentence for stealing cocaine from a police evidence locker in exchange for testimony about police misconduct.

During a preliminary hearing, former Officer Camerino Mesina testified that he saw Cohan hit Gabriel Aguirre numerous times with either his fists or a metal flashlight during a March 1998 arrest. Mesina was granted immunity in exchange for his cooperation.

A police report filed after the arrest stated that Aguirre attacked them and he received his injuries when he fell down a flight of stairs.

Defense attorney Harland Braun said testimony by three ex-officers should be thrown out because they had access to information that Cohan was compelled to give about the case. The judge disagreed, noting that prosecutors didn't benefit from the officers having access to Cohan's statement.

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