Disgraced, former FBI agent Babak Broumand shuffled into federal court on Monday shackled at his wrists and ankles and wearing a cream-colored jail jumpsuit. It was now up to Judge Gary Klausner to decide how many years Broumand should serve in prison for taking bribes from an Armenian mobster.
"I love this country," Broumand told the judge through tears. "I fell in love with this country and its freedom, I adopted it, and it adopted me."
"I'm ashamed to be here today in front of you and my family in cuffs," Broumand said.
Judge Klausner had to weigh what he called Broumand's "horrendous crime" on one side - a "breach of trust" by selling access to the FBI's confidential information - with "someone who served this country in dangerous situations."
"Where do you go?" Judge Klausner asked before handing down a six-year prison term, four years less than prosecutors had requested.
Former FBI agent found guilty of accepting bribes paid by corrupt 'lawyer'
Broumand, 56, was convicted in October of conspiracy, bribery and money laundering after a two-week trial that centered on his relationship with Edgar Sargsyan - a prolific criminal who has pleaded guilty to bank fraud, lying to federal authorities and bribing Broumand and another federal agent, Felix Cisneros. Sargsyan testified against Broumand as part of a deal that will likely get him a reduced sentence when he's sentenced next month.
"I said, 'I'll take care of you on the side, just take care of me,'" Sargsyan testified of his arrangement with Broumand. "It was secret, illegal, corrupt relationship."
Sargsyan told jurors that he paid Broumand 10-thousand dollars in cash a month for "protection," along with a 36-thousand-dollar Ducati motorcycle, flights on private jets, stays in luxury hotels, lavish trips to Las Vegas and prostitutes. In return, Sargsyan testified, Broumand would use his access to a secret FBI database to see if Sargsyan or his associates were under investigation by law enforcement.
Broumand told the jury that Sargsyan was an "unofficial source" - providing information on Armenian mob boss Levon Termendzhyan and what Broumand claimed were his possible ties to the terrorist group ISIS in Turkey. Termendzhyan is now awaiting sentencing in Utah after being convicted of fleecing taxpayers in a half-billion-dollar biofuel scam he ran with members of a polygamous sect called "The Order."
At his sentencing Monday, Broumand continued to insist that the bribes were "gifts" from a friend - and that he did not know Sargsyan was involved in criminal activity at the time.
Prosecutor Michael Morse shot back that Broumand knew Sargsyan was involved in credit card fraud from the very start after running his name through the FBI database. Morse went on to describe Broumand's "fanciful, fantastical" claims like something "from a spy novel."
Broumand and his defense attorney, Steven Gruel, urged the judge to consider the former FBI agent's 20-year career with the San Francisco field office, noting that he received numerous commendations and risked his life at times on the job. The judge had access to classified information about Broumand's FBI operations.
"I was able to save countless lives and I basically changed the course of history to the benefit of the United States," Broumand told the court.
In an interview with Eyewitness News, defense attorney Gruel compared Broumand to the movie character "Donnie Brasco," and said Broumand's years of working undercover led to a blurring of the lines.
"Good people sometimes do bad things," Gruel told Eyewitness News. "When you think about it - he was living a life of international intrigue so to speak on behalf of the U.S. I guess it's not too far-fetched to think you might lose yourself along the way."
Got a tip? Email ABC7 Investigative Producer Lisa.Bartley@abc.com