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Mission Viejo Defense Attorney Sentenced for Bribery

After a jury convicted him in May of bribery, a Mission Viejo defense attorney is now headed to prison.

U.S. District Court Judge Andrew J. Guilford handed down a 1-year prison term to Lawrence A. Witsoe, 70.

Witsoe was found guilty of conspiring with Drug Enforcement Administration Agent Aaron Scott Vigil to get Arizona businessman Wayne Gillis off the hook on charges of head-butting a car rental employee at John Wayne Airport.

Witsoe told Gillis to give Vigil $2,500. In return, Vigil called the Orange County District Attorney's office, telling them Gillis was a drug informant and asking them to drop the charges. They did.

Witsoe also told Gillis not to tell anyone else about the bribery. Witsoe didn't know he was being recorded at the time, though.

Witsoe told the court he instructed Gillis to keep quiet about the transaction because Gillis was his client, and he commonly advises clients not to speak about the details of their defense.

Witsoe faced up to 35 years in prison for his crime.

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