Ex-East Washington police chief Solomon wants judge to disregard coke weight

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A former police chief who pleaded guilty to extortion for standing guard as undercover federal agents pretended to conduct drug deals wants his sentence to be decided without regard to the fictitious weight of the pretend cocaine, according to a brief filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court.

Former East Washington chief Donald Abraham Solomon twice sat in his police vehicle outside of what he thought were drug deals, the second time taking $5,000 to protect what he was told was a 10-kilogram sale.

Assistant Federal Public Defender Marketa Sims argued in a brief in advance of Mr. Solomon's May 15 sentencing that the FBI agents "set the fictional weight of drugs involved in those fictional transactions, and Mr. Solomon had no input whatsoever into the weight or type of fictional drugs involved." She wrote that if U.S. District Judge Joy Flowers Conti bases the sentence on the amount of pretend cocaine involved, it could be nine to 11 years, versus around three years if the amount is not considered.

She also argued that Mr. Solomon was lured into the scheme.

"It defies any logical analysis that the highest-ranking police officer in East Washington could be entrapped," wrote Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert S. Cessar earlier this month.

Mr. Cessar argued then that Judge Conti should consider other conduct that was not directly related to the three counts of extortion to which Mr. Solomon pleaded guilty. Besides twice protecting the faux deals, Mr. Solomon sold the agents Tasers meant only for police.

"During the course of the investigation, the government acquired substantial additional evidence that implicated the Defendant in having a car shot-up; soliciting a confidential informant to have a second car shot-up; participating in drug transactions before this investigation began; using marijuana; inquiring about the murder of a councilman and making direct threats to murder an ex-girlfriend," Mr. Cessar wrote.


Rich Lord: rlord@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1542 or Twitter @richelord.


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