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Naval officer pleads guilty in `Fat Leonard' bribery case

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Posted at 11:23 AM, Jan 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-26 14:23:58-05

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A naval officer pleaded guilty Wednesday to federal bribery and conspiracy charges for accepting lavish gifts in exchange for providing assistance to foreign defense contractor Leonard Glenn "Fat Leonard" Francis and his ship husbanding company.

Stephen Shedd, who served as the Seventh Fleet South Asia Policy and Planning Officer and later as commanding officer of the USS Milius guided missile destroyer, admitted in San Diego federal court to accepting bribes in exchange for assisting Francis' Singapore-based company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia.

According to prosecutors, Leonard -- who has pleaded guilty and awaits sentencing -- provided expensive meals, fancy hotel accommodations, prostitutes and other gifts to Navy members in exchange for information regarding ship schedules and influence over ship movements.

Shedd's role as South Asia Policy and Planning Officer meant he was "responsible for identifying ports that U.S. Navy ships would visit consistent with U.S. Navy engagement priorities," according to a 2017 indictment filed against him and several other officers.

Shedd admitted in his plea agreement to accepting, among other things, watches for him and his wife, which the indictment identified as Ulysse Nardin watches worth $25,000, though Shedd has denied that the watches were of that brand.

More than two dozen other people have also pleaded guilty in the case, while several Seventh Fleet members are slated to go to trial, currently scheduled to begin next month in San Diego.

Shedd's sentencing was set for July after the trial is expected to be completed.

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