Ex-Bridgeport cop gets 14 months for machine gun possession
HARTFORD — From his first days as a Marine serving in Vietnam, George Jaiman always wanted to own an AK-47.
So when the former corrections officer and Bridgeport cop — who once headed the police department’s Crime Prevention Unit — was offered one of the illegal machine guns by an acquaintance, “he instantly pounced at the opportunity,” his lawyer wrote in a federal sentencing memo.
The episode, described in court documents in advance of the 70-year-old’s sentencing Tuesday on a gun possession charge, exemplifies the confounding contradictions of Jaiman’s life.
On the one hand, Jaiman served as an exemplary public servant for nearly three decades, protecting and serving the community in which he lived.
On the other, he “poisoned the very community which he had served” by “selling machine guns illegally and without any concern for where they ended up,” a federal prosecutor wrote in a sentencing memo.
In U.S. District Court on Tuesday, Judge Alvin W. Thompson sentenced Jaiman to 14 months prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release and a $1,000 fine.
According to the feds, Jaiman made a deal with Torrington resident Sean Dey “to sell machine guns, suppressors and firearms to third parties for profit” in 2017 and 2018, despite the fact that neither had a license to do so.
He pleaded guilty in October to unlawful possession of a machine gun before Judge Robert A. Richardson at U.S. District Court in Hartford.
The charge carried a maximum punishment of 10 years behind bars. Federal sentencing guidelines called for a prison sentence of 37 to 46 months.
However, his lawyer, Steven B. Rasile, asked the judge to sentence Jaiman to probation, citing his age, past community service and rough upbringing, which the attorney said included physical abuse from his parents and sexual abuse from another relative.
Jaiman’s “law-abiding and community-oriented life is deserving of a non-guideline sentence of probation,” Rasile wrote.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Rahul Kale agreed Jaiman should get a break for his past good works — but that he should also be imprisoned for 12 to 18 months to serve as an example to others.
“George Jaiman stands before this Court having violated not only the law, but also his reputation as a stellar public servant,” Kale wrote in a sentencing memo. “Although his past service to our country, and his age merit a below-Guidelines sentence, the extreme reduction Mr. Jaiman requests for such serious conduct is unwarranted.”
Rasile emphasized Jaiman didn’t make any money on any of the gun sales. He said Jaiman “was not interested in the monetary side. The main reason he became involved was because of his affinity for these types of weapons.”
He believed the guns were being sold to “responsible individuals.”
The feds disagreed.
Kale said the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives hasn’t been able to recover all the guns Dey built and Jaiman sold, and that “only time will tell if Mr. Jaiman’s unrecovered sale is maintained as a trophy or used to cause serious harm to the community.”
“As the former Director of the Crime Prevention Unit at the Bridgeport Police Department, Mr. Jaiman knows better than most about the gun problem that is plaguing the City,” Kale wrote. “Guns are obtained and sold illegally like candy and whether he intended it or not, he knew the harm his actions could cause.”
Dey was sentenced to serve two years in prison in February.
Jaiman’s son Phillip was also charged in the case and pleaded guilty April 9 to illegal possession of a machine gun. He faces up to 10 years in prison at his sentencing, which is scheduled for July 2, though sentencing guidelines in his case call for a jail term of between 46 and 57 months.
The case was investigated by the ATF and Bridgeport Police Department.