The Latest: Lawyer: Charges against policeman are misguided

LOS ANGELES

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Latest on the arrest of a California police lieutenant accused of selling guns without a license (all times local):

5:25 p.m.

An attorney for the California police lieutenant accused of illegally selling dozens of guns says the charges against his client are “misguided” and abuse of prosecutorial discretion.

Defense attorney Mark Geragos says in a statement that Pasadena Police Lt. Vasken Gourdikian will vigorously fight the charges.

Gourdikian pleaded not guilty Friday to federal charges and is accused of using his job to get around the state’s strict gun laws in order to resell dozens of guns without a license.

Prosecutors say Gourdikian illegally sold more than 100 firearms between March 2014 and February 2017.

Geragos says statements from prosecutors about his client are “better suited for a political rally.”

He says Gourdikian has a long, unblemished and distinguished career in law enforcement.

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3:45 p.m.

A Southern California police lieutenant has pleaded not guilty to federal criminal charges alleging he illegally sold dozens of guns.

Prosecutors say Pasadena Police Lt. Vasken Gourdikian was released after posting a $100,000 bond Friday. He’s due back in court next month.

Authorities say Gourdikian used his job to get around the state’s strict gun laws in order to resell dozens of guns without a license. He’s been charged with selling more than 100 firearms between March 2014 and February 2017.

Gourdikian is also accused of possessing an unregistered gun and making false statements on federal firearms forms.

His attorney, Mark Geragos, did not immediately comment on the case.

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2:10 p.m.

A Southern California police lieutenant used his job to get around the state’s strict gun laws in order to resell dozens of guns without a license, federal prosecutors said Friday.

Pasadena Police Lt. Vasken Gourdikian was arrested Friday morning and is charges with illegally selling more than 100 firearms between March 2014 and February 2017.

Gourdikian, 48, of Sierra Madre, was due to appear in federal court in Los Angeles later Friday. His attorney, Mark Geragos, was expected to comment on the case after the court proceeding.

Gourdikian, who worked as the police department’s spokesman until he was placed on leave last year, used his status as a police officer to buy guns that weren’t available to the general public and then re-sold the guns, prosecutors said.

As a police officer, he was able to purchase so-called “off-roster” handguns, which aren’t available to the public and aren’t listed in a catalog of certified handguns maintained by the state, authorities said.

Gourdikian posted on online gun message boards that he had weapons that were brand new and in the box, court documents said.

The investigation against Gourdikian began during a routine analysis of sales and trace reports by agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, according to Bill McMullan, the special agent in charge of the ATF field office in Los Angeles.

“As alleged in the indictment, Mr. Gourdikian used his position as a law enforcement officer to buy firearms from gun dealers that the general public could not. He then repeatedly sold those firearms at a profit,” McMullan said.

ATF agents raided Gourdikian’s home last year and seized 62 firearms, including an unregistered short-barreled rifle, officials said.

He was also charged with possessing an unregistered gun and falsely claiming on federal firearms forms that he was buying a gun for himself, even though he had already agreed to sell the weapon to someone else, prosecutors said.

A spokeswoman for the City of Pasadena did not immediately comment on the arrest.

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Follow Michael Balsamo on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MikeBalsamo1 .

Categories: California News

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