Man gets 5 months in prison for transporting fireworks that LAPD detonated in botched disposal attempt
A man pleaded guilty Wednesday to intentionally setting off fireworks that a Santa Monica police officer tried to destroy to avoid a civil lawsuit with the department.
The plea was approved by U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer and accepted by U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers on the condition that the man, 44-year-old Christopher Korte of Santa Monica, serve five months in prison, followed by five months for supervised release.
The plea agreement, for which Korte agreed to forfeit $1,050 in cash and other unspecified property, is unusual in that the man admitted to detonating his own fireworks in a deliberate attempt to avoid a civil lawsuit in which he could have been liable.
The officer, Johnnie L. Moore, had been investigating Korte about a month earlier for allegedly violating a Santa Monica City ordinance that prohibits setting off fireworks within 1,000 feet of a fire hydrant.
At the man’s request, the officer followed Korte, who had left fireworks in the street, to his home in Santa Monica Hills, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric J. Brown.
When Korte walked his dog, the officer ordered him to leave, Brown said. At that point, Moore, who was off-duty at the time, went to the front door.
Korte’s fireworks were burning, so Moore went inside the house and tried to destroy them by detonating a stick of dynamite or a large propane tank bomb. That failed.
Moore then left the home with the remains of his fireworks and turned on his cell phone to call the Santa Monica Police Department, where Korte was working as a police officer.
The dispatcher told Moore that Korte was on duty and should be there within an hour.
But Korte was gone.
Deputy Chief John Corina told The Times that Moore tried to destroy the man’s