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Valento pleads not guilty

Police officer faces federal charges of bribery, lying to authorities and wire fraud.

November 13, 2013|By Alene Tchekmedyian, alene.tchekmedyian@latimes.com
  • Burbank Police officer Anthony Valento leaves the Roybal Federal building in Los Angeles on October 16, 2013. He pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges that he solicited money in exchange for attempting to sway prosecutors in a criminal case.
Burbank Police officer Anthony Valento leaves the Roybal… (Roger Wilson/Staff…)

A Burbank police officer pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges that he solicited money in exchange for attempting to sway prosecutors in a criminal case against his girlfriend’s estranged husband and lied to federal officials.

Anthony Valento is charged with one count of federal program bribery, four counts of wire fraud and one count of lying to authorities, court records show.

Federal prosecutors allege that between April and August, Valento solicited more than $100,000 from his girlfriend’s husband, Jeremy Bassett, in exchange for influencing prosecutors to reduce or drop pending domestic violence charges against Bassett, according to court records. The domestic violence charges were dismissed last month.

The money was allegedly intended to be given to the woman, Gayle Bassett, as part of her divorce settlement with Jeremy Bassett, court records state.

Valento is also accused of defrauding the city of Burbank by allegedly falsifying records and disabling his patrol car’s GPS device to make it appear as though he was working when he was not, according to the indictment.

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Valento’s attorney Dale Rubin declined to comment on the case.

Gayle Bassett, who is charged with one count of lying to federal investigators, also pleaded not guilty Tuesday.

Valento and Gayle Bassett reportedly denied having a romantic or financial relationship with each other in interviews with the FBI, but prosecutors claim the pair were dating and lived together.

Valento and Bassett’s trial is slated to begin Dec. 31.

Valento remains on paid administrative leave with the Burbank Police Department as the internal investigation is ongoing, city officials said Tuesday.

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Follow Alene Tchekmedyian on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.

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