Butler heads to federal prison in CNET scandal

September 26, 2012 7:06:51 AM PDT
Former Concord private investigator Christopher Butler admits to orchestrating a scandal. He is headed to federal prison and he is determined to take others with him.

Butler's attorney told ABC7 News Tuesday afternoon that his client was caught up in trying to become a reality TV star. That obsession made him commit a series of felonies.

As part of a plea deal, an Oakland judge sentenced Butler to eight years in federal prison, though the probation department recommended more than 12. His attorney, William Gagen, says the sentence is a reflection of Butler's cooperation with investigators.

"The extent of his cooperation is extraordinary. The extent to which everything he said to the authorities from day one was completely borne out as factually accurate," said Gagen.

Butler was involved in both the CNET scandal, that included theft and sale of drugs from the Central Contra Costa Narcotics Enforcement Team as well as the so-called "dirty DUI" scheme where he set up men going through nasty divorces for drunk driving arrests.

In May, the 51-year-old Butler pleaded guilty to seven felony counts, including methamphetamine and marijuana distribution, theft, conspiracy, extortion and robbery.

At his sentencing, Butler's told the judge: "I just want to apologize to the community for the anxiety, fear and suffering I caused others. I want to apologize to the law enforcement community for the embarrassment and betrayal I inflicted upon it."

"Mr. Butler has lied and continues to lie," said Attorney Michael Cardoza.

Cardoza represents former CNET commander Norman Wielsch. Wielsch's federal trial is set to begin by the end of the year. The star witness against him is Christopher Butler.

"Considering Mr. Butler hasn't told the truth about anything since he's been arrested, I'm not sure he will have much impact on the case," said Cardoza.

Another former friend of Butler's could also be the target of his testimony.

San Ramon divorce lawyer Mary Nolan pleaded not guilty Tuesday morning to tax evasion and wiretapping charges related to her alleged involvement with butler in the "dirty DUI" scheme.

Anthony: So he'll make a good witness?
Gagen: I think he'll make a good witness.

Butler has been held in protective custody in a federal facility in Dublin since May. On Tuesday, his attorney has been asked that he be kept there to serve the duration of his sentence because as a former cop and as someone who could now be labeled a snitch, he could become a target in prison.


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