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Former top city attorney sentenced in DWP corruption case

A former high-level lawyer in the Los Angeles city attorney’s office was sentenced Tuesday to nine months of home detention and three years of probation for his role in a corruption scheme linked to billing problems at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

Thomas Peters, of Pacific Palisades, aided and abetted an extortion scheme, he acknowledged at the courtroom hearing.

Peters, who oversaw the city’s civil litigation branch under former City Atty. Mike Feuer, admitted that he threatened to fire one of the city’s outside lawyers unless that lawyer paid off a person who was threatening to reveal damaging information about city lawyers’ handling of the DWP’s 2013 billing mess.

The sentence was far less than the 18 months in prison sought by federal prosecutors.

U.S. District Judge Stanley Blumenfeld Jr., in sentencing Peters, called the case “an incredibly sordid affair. “ But he also questioned the extent of the “harm” done by Peters and whether a prison sentence would deter lawyers from carrying out similar misdeeds.

Peters is the third former city employee to be sentenced in the sprawling case. David Wright, the former top executive at the DWP, was sentenced in April 2022 to six years in federal prison for bribery. In June, David Alexander, the DWP’s former cybersecurity chief, was sentenced to four years in prison for lying to federal authorities.

Peters joined Feuer’s office in 2014, and handled the bulk of claims or lawsuits filed against or brought by the city. He resigned in 2019 after The Times questioned outside fees he reported collecting.

Peters has cooperated with federal authorities in the criminal investigation. He also has helped the State Bar of California in its related probe, attorneys said Tuesday.

This story originally appeared on LA Times

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