LOS ANGELES (CN) – Former Compton Mayor Omar Bradley told a prosecutor on Tuesday that he bought on-demand movies, a golf hat and shirt, green fees, balls and cigars for city business using a city credit card, and that he never paid for personal expenses with taxpayer money.
During more than two hours of cross-examination, Bradley acknowledged that he had paid for a movie at the Grand Hyatt in Washington during a trip for the Congressional Black Caucus in 1999 with a city credit card.
When Deputy District Attorney Ana Lopez asked him if he believed the movie was related to city business, Bradley said he watched movies to recharge after working into the early hours of the morning.
The former official said he did not consider it “forbidden” and had asked the city manager for permission to watch the movie and order a sandwich from room service while he worked. Lopez pressed him on whether a film was necessary and asked him, tongue-in-cheek, if he was using the TV as a lamp light.
“I watched the movie in the hope that it would keep me up,” Bradley said. “I would say it was an ancillary need, something that would keep me up. Keep me going.”
Lopez later focused on another pay-per-view purchase at a Huntington Beach hotel where Bradley was attending an event for the Lynwood Unified School District, where he was an assistant superintendent. He had ordered another two pay-per-view movies.
Bradley said that after his business with the school district he had gone for a drive to look at local housing developments to generate ideas for public housing in Compton. When he returned to the hotel, he played the movies in the background so that he could sketch some ideas.
“They helped me unwind and envision what it was I was trying to draw,” Bradley said.
Bradley was on the stand for a second day on charges that he misappropriated public funds after a California appeals court overturned his conviction in 2012. He says he is innocent and pleaded not guilty after prosecutors decided to retry him. Proceedings began this month in Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge George Lomeli’s courtroom in downtown LA.
Bradley testified Monday that he was aware of the limits on official spending and knew the city’s charter, municipal code, and resolutions on credit card spending. He said he had never used city money for personal expenses and that all his spending had been authorized by convicted city manager John Johnson, except for some golf clubs. In that case, Bradley said he had later reimbursed the city.
His public defender Robert Hill contends the claims that Bradley broke the law are false, and that the money at issue amounts to less than $5,000. Jurors have heard the City Council was only required to publicly disclose spending over that amount. Johnson had the power to authorize anything under $5,000, Bradley said Monday.
But county prosecutors say Bradley is guilty of using taxpayers’ money for personal expenses during a period that began in 1999 and ended in 2001, and that he double-billed for expenses by using both a city credit card and cash advances for travel.