FBI agents arrested Michael Kimbrew on federal extortion and bribery for allegedly taking $5,000 with promises of helping to prevent the closure of a Compton marijuana shop.
The arrest took place without incident on August 2. Kimbrew is charged with one count of attempted extortion and one count of receiving a bribe.
At his arraignment last week, Kimbrew pleaded not guilty and was freed on a $15,000 bond. His trial date is set for September 26.
Expressing support for his son, his father, Chef Basil Kimbrew, told the Sentinel, “I’m a U.S. Army military veteran and I will stand with my son until the bitter end, regardless of how it turns out.”
According to the indictment, the 44-year-old Carson resident approached an employee of the marijuana shop in March 2015, told him the store was violating the law, and said the shop would be shut down – unless the owners reached an agreement with him.
Kimbrew subsequently met with the owners of the marijuana shop inside Compton City Hall. The indictment alleges that Kimbrew claimed to be working with the FBI, and he could “make things happen” by ensuring the store had the appropriate permits in exchange for $5,000.
The indictment stated that an undercover FBI agent posing as a business partner met with Kimbrew, who reiterated his claims that he could prevent the shutdown of the shop in exchange for $5,000. In a second meeting between Kimbrew and the undercover agent, Kimbrew allegedly accepted the $5,000 bribe.
At the time of the incident, Kimbrew was working as a field representative in the Compton City Hall office of then-U.S. Representative Janice Hahn. Hahn’s spokeswoman told the Los Angeles Times that he worked for the former congresswoman for about a year before he was let go in early 2016.
If convicted of the two counts in the indictment, Kimbrew would face a statutory maximum sentence of 18 years in federal prison.
(City News Service contributed to this article).