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Former East Washington chief pleads guilty in corruption case

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Friday, Jan. 4, 2013, 3:58 p.m.
 

A former East Washington police chief pleaded guilty on Friday to providing protection and Tasers to undercover agents he thought were drug runners and could spend up to 20 years in prison.

Donald Solomon, 56, also admitted that when a confidential source asked him to run a criminal background check on one of the purported drug traffickers, he asked, “Does he want to hire me? I've got nothing to do on the weekends.”

Later that day, when he handed over the report, he told the confidential source, “Tell him I'm the best cop money can buy,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Cessar said as he summarized the government's case.

Solomon pleaded guilty to three counts of violating the Hobbs Act, which makes it illegal for public officials to perform official actions for personal gain.

He faces up to 20 years in prison, three years of probation and a $250,000 fine for each count.

U.S. District Judge Joy Flowers Conti allowed Solomon to remain free on bond with an 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew so he can work until his sentencing on May 3.

Solomon and his attorney, Assistant Federal Public Defender Marketa Sims, declined to comment after the hearing.

Dennis Markel, East Washington's solicitor, said Solomon was suspended without pay when he was charged with the crimes, but it was unclear whether the borough fired him. The borough council will formally do that at its next meeting to make his status clear and allow the borough to search for a new chief.

U.S. Attorney David Hickton said Solomon engaged in “stark and brazen criminal conduct,” and he believes Solomon should spend time in prison.

“When a person says, ‘I will be the best cop money can buy,' that is official public corruption of the worst kind,” Hickton said.

Brian Bowling is a staff writer forTrib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-325-4301 or bbowling@tribweb.com.

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