Former Compton Mayor Omar Bradley—who was convicted last month of misappropriating and misusing taxpayer funds—was sentenced this week to three years’ probation and a year in county jail that he has already served.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge George G. Lomeli suspended a three-year state prison term that the 59-year-old former city leader will not have to serve if he complies with the terms of his probation.
The judge cited Bradley’s age and lack of prior criminal history.
Bradley, whose felony conviction means he cannot seek public office again, told reporters after the hearing that he was “very thankful” to the judge.
“You know, he looked at my age, my propensity to do wrong—which before this incident I had never even had a speeding ticket—and he said enough is enough and I’m thankful to him for that,” the former mayor said.
He questioned how much the District Attorney’s Office—which tried the case against him a second time after his 2004 conviction was overturned—spent “to come up with an outcome that says I’m prohibited from running for office.”
“I bet it was more than the alleged $6,500 that they say I misappropriated,” Bradley said. “In my opinion, just my humble opinion, the justice system has gotten way off track and certainly with the money that was expended to make a point with me, because I am an outspoken African-American male who doesn’t bite his tongue, could have been spent on some really important things.”
Bradley was found guilty July 28 of one felony count each of misappropriation of public funds by a public officer and misuse of public funds by a public officer for personal gain. It marked the second time he had been convicted in the case.
Bradley was first convicted in 2004, sentenced to three years in prison and then later moved to a halfway house. But his conviction was reversed in 2012 as a result of a California Supreme Court ruling involving public officer crimes. While awaiting a retrial, he unsuccessfully ran for mayor twice against Aja Brown.
At his retrial, Bradley testified that he never used any city money for personal expenses. He insisted that any city dollars he spent were for the benefit of Compton.
During two days on the stand last month, the former mayor testified that he had played golf with officials in order to discuss several city projects, and bought golf clothing to look the part.
Bradley’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Robert J. Hill, told jurors that the charges against Bradley were “false.” He said his client acted openly and transparently and knew he was “under scrutiny.”
Deputy District Attorney Ana Lopez countered that Bradley’s spending was “purely personal” and offered “no public benefit.”
“The word here is accountability,” she told jurors in the retrial.
The prosecutor said Bradley clearly understood the rules, but that accountability for spending became “very relaxed” in Compton after the city council approved a resolution authorizing the issuance of city credit cards to council members without any public comment on the issue.
Bradley—who was born and reared in Compton—was a city councilman between 1991 and 1993 and mayor from 1993 until 2001.