Bribery Scam Lands Undercover DEA Agent In Federal Prison

aaronscottvigildea.jpg
Badge soiled for chump change: $2,500
A convicted Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) officer lost his request last week for a new trial following a bribery scam and today a federal judge in Santa Ana sentenced the now disgraced, ex-undercover, narcotics cop to 33 months in prison.

In a 2009 conspiracy with Mission Viejo criminal defense lawyer Lawrence Anthony Witsoe, agent Aaron Scott Vigil, assigned to the DEA from the Rialto Police Department, repeatedly lied to Orange County District Attorney's Office prosecutors that a Witsoe client was a secret, government narcotics informant in hopes of winning the defendant favorable treatment.

Witsoe told Wayne Gillis, his Phoenix-based client who faced charges from an alleged John Wayne Airport assault on a insufferable car rental manager, that unseen magic dust would be sprinkled over his case if he paid an extra $2,500 in fees, according to surreptitious FBI recordings.

Gillis, a successful businessman, was not an informant.

Alarmed about the bribery proposal, Gillis contacted law enforcement, paid the extra fee and agreed to work at the direction of the FBI by recording telephone calls and wearing a body wire.

Michael Schwartz and Ken Julian--seasoned, private lawyers for Vigil and Witsoe--strenuously fought the charges, but a May jury unanimously determined that federal prosecutors Robert J. Keenan and Jennifer L. Waier presented a righteous case of guilt.

In an opinion issued last week, U.S. District Court Judge Andrew J. Guilford rejected claims by Vigil and Witsoe that Keenan and Waier robbed them of a fair trial with the assistance of FBI Special Agent Jessie T. Murray.

"The interest of justice does not require a new trial in this case," Guilford wrote.

Witsoe, who was found guilty of more charges than Vigil even though he didn't directly profit from the bribery transaction, is scheduled to be sentenced inside Orange County's Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse in December.

FBI recordings indicate the veteran lawyer, speaking without knowing he was being taped, believed his deal with Vigil wasn't the first time a federal agent had tainted the justice system in OC in exchange for a bribe.

Go HERE to see prior coverage of the trial.

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Email: rscottmoxley@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @RScottMoxley.

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7 comments
949girl
949girl topcommenter

All that risk for $2500?

Adam Abrams
Adam Abrams

Any federal government agency with a three letter acronym- be it the DEA, CIA, FBI or ATF- does more harm than good and costs more money than it saves and should be abolished.

Noah Flaum
Noah Flaum

How about this guy who, when told he would get special treatment for a measly $2500, had the courage to inform the authorities instead and aid in the investigation? I sincerely hope the judge shows leniency when he's sentenced in December! We need more people with his courage and I hope the judge realizes that what he needs is medical help overcoming his drug demons and not to be thrown in prison with real criminals like those 'protecting and serving' him!

paullucas714
paullucas714 topcommenter

Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

paullucas714
paullucas714 topcommenter

@949girl you have to imagine that this is multiplied by tens since this guy probably had a few defendants at any one time bribing him for various things to help their case.

tongue_twister_for_t
tongue_twister_for_t topcommenter

True because these guys in the ATF worked in cahoots with the FBI and some private military type organizations that caused the Branch Davidian Fiasco in WACO Texas back in the 90's and they admitted wrongdoing in documentaries that Nat-Geo filmed later, everything after the fact including the late arrival by thier officers on the scene, Timothy McVeigh was sitting on his car hood watching it go down 3 days before the Murrah Fed Building in Waco was atacked by him but many still suspect that it was an FBI setup or was even done in conjunction with the ATF themselves, in other words an attack on religious beliefs by the feds themselves.

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