An FBI jailhouse whistleblower at the center of a scandal involving the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department claims he was kidnapped by deputies and isolated to keep him away from federal agents.
"I'm supposed to be a criminal," whistleblower Anthony Brown told Los Angeles ABC affiliate KABC.
"These are people that are sworn to uphold the law."
Brown had been sentenced to prison for 423 years for a string of armed robberies, but claims the FBI wanted to check out his reports about inmate abuse in the Los Angeles County Men's Central Jail.
Seven of the department's deputies, sergeants, and lieutenants are accused of obstructing a federal investigation into the county's jails by hiding Brown, whose accusations led to a scandal involving the entire department.
Sheriff Lee Baca resigned in January after the allegations, including claims of beatings and drug smuggling, surfaced, reports The New York Daily News.
FBI agent Leah Marx, who testified last week in the trial of Deputy James Sexton, one of the officers charged in Brown's disappearance, said Brown vanished in the system after deputies discovered a cellphone the agency had provided him, and that he was working with federal agents investigating the department.
On Thursday, a mistrial was declared after jurors said they were hopelessly deadlocked, The Daily News reported.
"Those cops in L.A. were crooked," Brown told KABC. "(There were) a whole bunch of things going on — the drug-selling, beating up the inmates, setting up the fights."
But, Brown told KABC in an exclusive interview, deputies kept him hidden away so he could not testify.
"I was kidnapped, my name was changed," said Brown. "They put me in cars late at night and took me places. I think I had more than a dozen guards on me 24/7."
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Brown says he was isolated after officials found he had a cellphone that belonged to the FBI.
"When they found the phone, other contraband and drugs on me, they put me in that Hannibal Lecter cell," said Brown.
"What did they [the FBI] ask me to do?" Brown said. "A lot of things, just the corruption, watch the corruption — cops beating us up and doing all kinds of crazy stuff to us."
Marx testified in court that Brown told of 50 forceful incidents, identifying a deputy who would take a $1,500 bribe to smuggle in the phone.
And Brown said, after the sheriff's department learned he had a hotline to the FBI, "they whisked me middle of the night, take me out and hide me. So who are they hiding me from? The Feds."
Meanwhile, the sheriff's department says it was hiding Brown for his own protection away from corrupt deputies who might retaliate against him for talking to the FBI.
Brown said he is ready to testify against the deputies in his disappearance.
"Were they obstructing justice? Well, yeah, I think they were. I believe that the higher up, the brass, gave orders and the deputies followed him," said Brown.
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