VIDEO: Jasmine Abuslin pleads no contest to battery charge in Florida court

Jasmine Abuslin and her attorney Pamela Price
Jasmine Abuslin and her attorney Pamela Price

 

OAKLAND (KRON) — Jasmine Abuslin, the woman at the center of the sex scandal plaguing several Bay Area law enforcement agencies, was released from jail after pleaded no contest to a battery charge in a Florida court Wednesday, KRON4’s Haaziq Madyun has learned.

The woman was formerly known as Celeste Guap.

The 19-year-old was arrested in Martin County, Florida on August 29 for aggravated battery. She flew to Florida to participate in a drug rehabilitation program. Guap was facing a misdemeanor charge after she allegedly bit a security guard at the rehab center.

Celeste Guap being released from jail in Florida taken by her attorney. (Photo: Pamela Price)
Celeste Guap being released from jail in Florida taken by her attorney. (Photo: Pamela Price)

Civil Rights attorney Pamela Price held a press conference after her release. She says she went to Florida to rescue Abuslin and bring her back to the Bay Area to help bring justice to her case.

“We intend to hold everyone accountable,” Price said. “She is a child, victim of sexual trafficking.”

Price says she wants to restore Abuslin’s privacy. They are also seeking compensation from each jurisdiction.

“Justice for her…restitution of her privacy, her identity…compensation from each jurisdiction for violating her civil rights…as a citizen of the Bay Area… we want to see our public officials provide transparent leadership…stop trying to cover up the truth. It is unacceptable for law enforce or public officials to engage in this type of action.”

When Abuslin’s attorney was asked about her past life, she said that the 19-year-old has put that part of her life behind her.

EXCLUSIVE:Interview with Celeste Guap after her arrest

“Jasmine Abuslin is her name. Celeste Guap is dead,” Price said. “We are happy to say Celeste Guap is dead.”

“Take a look around, you don’t know who’s being sex trafficked,” Price said. “We have provided for her security…her life is under threat….we will protect this woman and make sure she gets the help she needs… we will address this issue with full force.”

“Celeste Guap” is a woman whose name and picture has been blasted over the news with “Kardashian-like celebrity status” but “Jasmine is a young woman who is going to find herself” and has dreams of becoming a veterinarian, Price said.

“Jasmine is glad to be free and wants to go home,” Price said.

She said they have arranged for her to get medical treatment at Stanford University when they return.

Price said that Abuslin is not a drug addict and accused the Richmond Police Department of sending her to the Florida facility under false pretenses, potentially tampering with a witness.

On Tuesday, the Richmond Police Department announced that they found no criminal violations after an investigation into 11 current and former officers who were allegedly involved with Guap.

Seven other officers are being charged in the sexual misconduct scandal, according to the Alameda County District Attorney.

Richmond police interim Chief Allwyn Brown said in a report issued earlier this week that allegations that the department “sent” her there “distort reality.”

Abuslin is eventually expected to head back to the Bay Area to serve as a key witness against seven current and former Bay Area police officers.

“When we return to the Bay Area, we plan to hold everyone accountable,” Price said.

Instead, Brown said the department helped her get funds from the state’s Victim Compensation Program so she could receive treatment.

But Price said the facility was incapable of providing the kind of care that Abuslin needs.

“We have many lovely facilities in the Bay Area and throughout California. The kind of treatment she needs is not from a drug rehab facility,” Price said.

“As a lawyer, I don’t tamper with witnesses,” she said. “She is a witness to criminal activity, to criminal conspiracy in the Bay Area. There is no reason at all for why she is in Florida.”

Abuslin is expected to testify against seven current and former law enforcement officers, including five from the Oakland Police Department, who Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley announced last week would be facing criminal charges.

The most serious charges are for two officers accused of felony oral copulation with a minor.

Price said Abuslin has been a victim of sex trafficking since she was 12 years old. She came under investigation by the Oakland Police Department last year for a relationship she had with Officer Brendan O’Brien,who killed himself in September 2015 and implicated himself and other officers in a suicide note.

Her attorneys have continued to suggest that there may be more such victims of exploitation who have not come forward.

Bay Area police officers “engaged in a conspiracy to sexually traffic children. She is not the only one,” Price said. “It’s happening every day. It happened in a lot of different places under a lot of different circumstances.”

“Payment can be money, it can be intimidation, it can be ‘I will let you live today. I will kill you in this room.'” she said. “This child has been kidnapped, she has been held against her will. The fact that she is alive today is a miracle.”

Despite the Oakland police internal investigation being opened last year, details of the scandal did not emerge publicly until May. Other departments, such as in Richmond and Livermore, did not learn of their officers’ involvement until after the case was reported in the media.

Since then, dozens of officers in at least eight different law enforcement agencies have been implicated.

Last week, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf announced that 12 Oakland police officers would be disciplined, including four who would be fired. Days later, O’Malley announced criminal charges against five Oakland police officers, a Livermore officer and a Contra Costa County sheriff’s deputy.

A total of 11 Richmond police officers were investigated in connection with the scandal. Brown said this week that some of them would be fired or disciplined but refused to provide further details.

Former Contra Costa County sheriff’s Deputy Ricardo Perez and Oakland police Officer Giovanni LoVerde are each facing charges of felony oral copulation with a minor. If convicted, they could face 16 months to three years in state prison.

Perez will also be charged with two counts of engaging in a lewd act in a public place.

Former Livermore police Officer Dan Black will be charged with two counts of engaging in an act of prostitution and two counts of lewd acts in public.

Oakland police Officer Brian Bunton faces one count of felony conspiracy to obstruct justice, which carries a possible sentence of a year in prison, and one misdemeanor charge of engaging in an act of prostitution.

Retired Oakland police Officer Leroy Johnson will be charged with one count of failing to report sexual misconduct concerning a minor.

Oakland police Officer Warit Utappa will be accused of searching official criminal justice data and computer systems for an unauthorized purpose.

Former Oakland police Officer Tyrell Smith, who resigned in May, faces four counts of the same crime.

Price called for possible federal intervention because of the widespread regional allegations. A federal judge overseeing court-mandated reforms to the Oakland Police Department as part of a 2003 settlement agreement already stepped in once in March, questioning the integrity of the department’s internal affairs investigation.

In his latest report issued Monday, court-appointed monitor Robert Warshaw said that while he was satisfied with the conclusion of the investigation, he was concerned about how it was initially handled. He reiterated that the fallout from the scandal has led to “perhaps the most trying time in OPD’s history.”

Judge Thelton Henderson wrote in his March 23 order, “This case raises most serious concerns that may well impact Defendants’ ability to demonstrate their commitment to accountability and sustainability – both of
which are key to ending court oversight.”

In his report Monday, Warshaw wrote, “While there still remain some issues to be resolved regarding the sufficiency of resources devoted to the investigation until the matter was brought to the attention of the Court, we recognize the efforts of the City, OPD, and its leadership on this extensive investigation.”

Abuslin will return to the Bay Area Wednesday night and a news conference is scheduled Thursday morning in Oakland.

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