Virginia Coalition of Police
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Two officers expected to plead guilty in corruption case

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) -- Two veteran officers are expected to plead guilty Monday to charges following an investigation into police corruption, U.S. Attorney John L. Brownlee said Thursday.
    Charles Saunders and Roy Fitzgerald were charged in April of 2005 with accepting money and sexual favors from a nightclub owner in exchange for overlooking illegal activity at the club. They have signed agreements to plead guilty to making a false statement to a federal agent as part of a plea bargain, Brownlee said at a news conference.

     Indictments against them on charges of bribery, conspiracy and witness tampering were dropped as part of the plea bargain.

     Saunders, 47, and Fitzgerald, 46, each had served more than 10 years on the city's police force.
     "These are serious charges and serious crimes," Brownlee said. "Both will either resign or be terminated and they will never be police officers again."

    Charles Phillips, 42, former manager of Maxx's Nightclub, pleaded guilty in April of 2005 to bribing Saunders and Fitzgerald with money and sex with prostitutes. In exchange, they didn't report illegal activity, such as parking violations, drunken driving and other traffic offenses Phillips committed and they tipped him off to investigations into drug use and prostitution.
     Another employee at the nightclub, Jason Madison, 24, pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit perjury after prosecutors said the officers convinced him to lie to a grand jury to cover up their involvement with Phillips.

     Phillips faces up to 20 years in prison, and Madison up to five years.

     Saunders and Fitzgerald each face five years in prison.