Jailhouse interview with FBI informant Anthony Brown: Eyewitness News exclusive

ByMiriam Hernandez and Lisa Bartley KABC logo
Thursday, May 22, 2014
Jailhouse interview with FBI informant
FBI jail informant Anthony Brown told his story exclusively to Eyewitness News. Watch his interview.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- FBI jail informant Anthony Brown is at the center of the scandal involving deputies and top brass at the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

In an exclusive jailhouse interview, Brown says he was kidnapped by deputies, isolated and watched around the clock.

"I'm supposed to be a criminal. These are people that are sworn to uphold the law," said Brown.

Brown was on his way to prison to serve 423 years for a string of violent armed robberies. But Brown says he had stories the FBI wanted to check out about inmate abuse in Men's Central Jail.

"Those cops in L.A. were crooked. (There were) a whole bunch of things going on -- the drug-selling, beating up the inmates, setting up the fights," said Brown.

Brown turned informant and became the central figure in a scandal that shook the nation's largest sheriff's department to the very top. Seven deputies, sergeants and lieutenants are accused of obstructing a federal investigation into L.A. County jails by hiding Brown.

"I was kidnapped, my name was changed," said Brown. "They put me in cars late at night and took me places. I think I had more than a dozen guards on me 24/7."

He was isolated after officials quickly learned that Brown had a cellphone and that it belonged to the FBI.

"What did they ask me to do? A lot of things, just the corruption, watch the corruption -- cops beating us up and doing all kinds of crazy stuff to us," said Brown.

Agent Leah Marx testified that Brown recounted 50 "use of force" incidents and identified a deputy, Gilbert Michel -- now convicted -- who would take a bribe of $1,500 to smuggle the phone into Brown.

"I gave him money and he brought me phones and drugs," said Brown.

Brown's hotline to the FBI set off alarms at the sheriff's department.

"When they found the phone, other contraband and drugs on me, they put me in that Hannibal Lecter cell," said Brown.

Deputies moved him, his name was changed, and his fingerprints were wiped from the department's computer system.

"Then they whisked me middle of the night, take me out and hide me. So who are they hiding me from? The Feds," said Brown.

The sheriff's department claims Brown was hidden for his own protection, to keep him safe from possible retaliation from corrupt deputies who might view him as a snitch.

"I didn't need to be protected," Brown said.

Brown said he is ready to testify against his jailers and their bosses.

"Were they obstructing justice? Well, yeah, I think they were. I believe that the higher up, the brass, gave orders and the deputies followed him," said Brown.

Deputy James Sexton is the first of seven sheriff's department officials to be tried on charges he conspired to hide Brown. Jurors twice told the judge on Wednesday that they are deadlocked.

The judge ordered the panel to resume deliberations twice, eventually sending them home for the evening. Jurors will resume deliberations on Thursday morning.