Former Ga. Deputy Chief Pleads Guilty to Bribery Charges

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. --

A former high-ranking DeKalb County police officer did not want to comment as he left the courthouse after his guilty plea in a corruption case, but his lawyer told Channel 2 investigative report Mark Winne his client was embarrassed for what he had done.

Former Deputy Chief of Police Donald Frank pleaded guilty in federal court on Friday to bribery conspiracy charges.

Frank admitted to soliciting money and other benefits from co-defendant Amin Budhwani, who pleaded guilty last year, in exchange for taking official action as a police officer on Budhwani’s behalf, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Before becoming deputy police chief, Frank was head of security detail for the DeKalb CEO at the time, Vernon Jones.

The plea agreement requires Frank to cooperate in any investigation requested by the government and to testify, if needed.

“There will be a variety of things that agents will want to talk to Mr. Frank about,” said Assistant United States Attorney Chris Bly.

Frank’s lawyer said his client will continue to tell authorities the truth.

Frank initially pleaded not guilty to allegations Budwhani paid him both in cash and in services, such as attending clubs, restaurants, sporting events and gambling trips.

In return, Frank called Budwhani’s friends and employees to settle any problems he had with them.

Prosecutors said, in one scenario, Frank called Budwhani’s business partner and convinced him he was under police investigation to encourage him to leave the country.

Bly said Frank even instructed officers he supervised to pull over the business partner’s car.

Records indicate Budwhani pleaded guilty to a single bribery count.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan Coppedge said, “Accepting bribes as a law enforcement officer to do things that you’re not doing for other citizens is a crime.”

“It’s not what he did; it’s the fact that he accepted the money, and that’s the thing he most regrets,” said Morris. “He knows it was wrong. He’s saddened by what he’s done. He’s embarrassed. He was proud of his career as a police officer and recognizes he made a tragic error in judgment, and he’ll live with that for the rest of his life,” said Morris.

U.S. District Court Judge William Duffey indicated he was holding off setting a date for sentencing, partly to wait to see how the case progresses once he reviews all the evidence.

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