Legal bombshells were expected Monday in the case of a convicted pimp and kidnapper serving a life sentence.
Ocean Fleming has been behind bars since 2011, serving what could have been a life sentence. But after Fleming filed an appeal, based on allegations of police corruption, he was offered a deal to drop nearly all the charges against him.
Monday was finally the day.
Fleming’s lawyers have fought for months for a chance to question, under oath, a number of police officers, a prosecutor, and some of the prostitutes who once worked for Fleming.
By offering a deal to Fleming, the state was able to avoid three days of embarrassing — and possibly — incriminating testimony, but this is not the end of it.
This story has been followed exclusively by the I-Team.
Fleming was so prominent on the streets of Las Vegas that he was widely known by an initial, “O”. Now, nearly seven years after his arrest, Fleming has agreed to drop his attempts to get a new trial.
The plea deal was accepted on the very same date set for an evidentiary hearing, when defense attorney Janiece Marshall would finally get her chance to question a parade of key witnesses about alleged corruption.
“Obviously it is Mr. Fleming’s choice whether to accept this plea agreement or not. Certainly we worked very hard to contact all of the witnesses, to develop the information set forth in our pleadings,” Marshall said.
“The truth is that you are guilty of counts 1, 2 and 3?” District Court Judge Michael Villani said.
“Yes, your honor,” Fleming replied.
In 2011, Fleming’s lucrative prostitution was targeted by star vice detective Chris Baughman and his pimp enforcement squad. Fleming suspected that Baughman was secretly working for a rival escort service owner named Jamal Rashid, better known as Mally Mall, who allegedly supplied officers with women and cash in exchange for police help in eliminating Rashid’s competition.
In 2014, FBI agents raided Rashid’s Las Vegas home, the first public hint that a corruption investigation was underway. By that point, Fleming was already in prison. In court motions, his attorneys argued that Baughman and others had crossed the line by coaching the witnesses to exaggerate what were already serious crimes.
Fleming was hit with 23 felony counts. Judge Villani sentenced him to what could have been life behind bars.
Under the plea deal, Fleming agreed to drop his appeal, admit his guilt to three of the most serious charges, but 20 other charges will be dropped. Janiece Marshall will not get to question witnesses, but the affidavits she obtained from key witnesses have been entered into the official record, including statements from prostitutes who worked for Fleming.
“It’s all part of the record. I was permitted to depose former detective Baughman who elected to plead the fifth to all my questions regarding Ocean Fleming’s investigation and the prosecution of Ocean Fleming,” Marshall said.
And while this inquiry into alleged corruption may have ended, two others are still active. The affidavits filed in the Fleming case could resurface in the appeal of Raymond Sharpe, serving 13 life sentences for crimes investigated by the same vice cops.
Sharpe will be back in court later this week. He’s looking for new counsel.
In the meantime, we do not know the status of the FBI investigation. It’s been underway for four years, but no charges have been filed, nor do we know if or when any indictments might be handed down.