NEW YORK -- A former New York police official was sentenced Thursday to 18 months in prison for failing to stop a bribery scam that he claimed let President Donald Trump and other well-connected New Yorkers get gun permits fast.
U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos sentenced Paul Dean after the former lieutenant and onetime second-in-command of the licensing division told him rules were "thrown out the window" in return for bribes.
"It was a free-for-all," said Dean, 46, of Wantagh. He said gifts including meals from those who needed speedy gun licenses were commonplace at the licensing division.
"Eventually, things began to spin out of control," Dean added.
Ramos rejected a request by Dean's lawyer that his client not go to prison.
The judge said he didn't think Dean had fully accepted responsibility for his crime even after pleading guilty in April 2017.
"The public has to have faith police officers are doing their jobs fairly and with integrity," Ramos said.
He noted that some of those who bribed their way to gun permits had criminal backgrounds, including for domestic violence and should not have been permitted to get weapons.
Besides the prison term, Ramos ordered Dean to pay a $7,500 fine and $1,000 in restitution.
In pleading guilty to a conspiracy charge, Dean admitted he had planned to retire and create a business to charge customers money to obtain gun permits quickly through bribery.
He told Ramos, though, that he never followed through on the plan.
"I realized I could not bring myself to bribe cops," Dean said.
Among bribes Dean accepted were a $1,000 cash gift, catered meals and alcohol, restaurant meals, car repairs and free entertainment, prosecutors said.
Dean's lawyer, Abe George, said the corruption was already occurring when Dean was assigned to the licensing bureau in 2008, 14 years into his 22-year police career.
Dean was promoted to second in command of the division in 2014.
Dean alleged in pre-sentence papers that those who received special treatment included Trump, his former lawyer Michael Cohen and Donald Trump Jr. Others included comedian Tracy Morgan, actor Tom Selleck and the owner of a Manhattan nightclub where police officers received free lap dances, he claimed.
Dean did not suggest through his lawyer that Trump or others did anything wrong or were aware of any bribes.
Besides Dean, five of six other men who have pleaded guilty in the bribery scheme are awaiting sentencing. One has been sentenced to two years and eight months in prison.
The gun license division, with a staff of roughly 40 officers, processed about 5,000 gun permits annually as the scheme unfolded from 2013 to 2016, prosecutors said.