The federal criminal trial for former Los Angeles County Supervisor and LA City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas on bribery and conspiracy charges has been delayed until November.
Ridley-Thomas faces trial along with former dean of the USC School of Social Work Marilyn Flynn.
The pair was initially scheduled for trial on Aug. 9, but U.S. District Judge Dale Fischer this week issued an order setting a Nov. 15 trial date.
The defendants are charged in a 20-count indictment involving a secret deal whereby Ridley-Thomas–when he was a member of the county Board of Supervisors–allegedly agreed to steer county money to the university in return for admitting his son Sebastian Ridley-Thomas into graduate school with a full- tuition scholarship and a paid professorship.
Flynn allegedly arranged to funnel a $100,000 donation from Ridley-Thomas’ campaign funds through the university to a nonprofit to be operated by his son, a former member of the state Assembly. The donation prompted an investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles that remains open, prosecutors said.
In exchange, the indictment contends, Ridley-Thomas supported county contracts involving the School of Social Work, including lucrative deals to provide services to the county Department of Children and Family Services and Probation Department, as well as an amendment to a contract with the Department of Mental Health that would bring the school millions of dollars in new revenue.
Both defendants have strongly denied any wrongdoing and promise that evidence will clear their names. Ridley-Thomas has held elected office for more than three decades. He served as a member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors from from 2008 to 2020. He then served on the Los Angeles City Council from 2020 until his expulsion from the council in 2022.
Judge Fisher indicated this week that she would likely deny a defense request to order separate trials for Ridley-Thomas and Flynn.