June 15, 2006
Two former Charlottesville Police officers are facing possible jailtime after entering into a plea agreement for a corruption case. Roy Fitzgerald and Charles Saunders, both former veteran Charlottesville Police officers, agreed to plead guilty to lying to federal agents about their involvement in a corruption case.
Authorities say 47-year-old Saunders and 46-year-old Fitxgerald were indicted on charges of bribery and conspiracy last year. In a news conference, a U.S. Attorney said bribery and conspiracy took place at Maxx's Nightclub 2001. Authorities said the two former officers received money, sex, and other adult entertainment in exchange for overlooking illegal activity at Maxx's.
"This case proves that no one is above the law," said John Brownlee, a United States attorney.
Chief Tim Longo started the internal investigation shortly after he came in to the department. Once the officers found out they were being investigated, they allegedly tipped off the nightclub that there was an undercover officer investigating them. Police said that could have put that officers life in danger.
"That's one of those facts in this indictment that many in our department found to be very troubling," said Chief Tim Longo, of the Charlottesville Police Department.
Chief Longo said now that the officers involved may be going behind bars, there will be no more corruption in the department.
"Every man or woman who is priveleged to wear this uniform today understands what those values are...I'm certain that we've identified those who have fallen short and have taken the appropriate action," he explained.
The two former officers could face a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison with a $250,000 fine. Chief Longo said they will have the opportunity to resign or they will be terminated. Right now they are suspended without pay.
The owner of Maxx's Nightclub and another employee plead guilty to conspiracy in April of last year. Roy Fitzgerald and Charles Saunders are expected to enter their plea on Monday. Once all 4 men have entered their plea, a sentencing date will be scheduled.