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Former banker's lawsuit against LAPD goes to trial

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A trial began Tuesday for a former bank executive who sued the city of Los Angeles and two police officers, claiming they beat him during a bizarre incident two years ago.

Brian Mulligan is seeking $20 million in damages in a lawsuit filed in federal court, where an eight-member jury was seated and opening statements were expected to begin in the afternoon.

Mulligan claims he was beaten in May 2012 by two officers who had pulled him over and gave him a field sobriety test, which he passed.

But officers said Mulligan, a former Deutsche Bank executive, told them he had ingested a type of bath salts known as White Lightning. Officers found about $3,000 in cash in Mulligan's car and they decided to drive him to a nearby motel where he was told to stay until morning, the lawsuit said.

Mulligan claims that when he tried to leave the room, officers found him and severely beat him. His injuries included a broken nose and shoulder.

He was arrested on suspicion of resisting arrest, but prosecutors declined to file charges. Prosecutors said Mulligan had been acting crazy and was injured after he swung and lunged at officers who restrained him.

A civilian oversight board found the officers' use of force to be appropriate. U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner dismissed Mulligan's retaliation claim against the city for losing his bank job. He also dismissed a separate retaliation claim against the police union last month.

Messages left for attorneys on both sides weren't immediately returned.

Bath salts are marketed as benign products but when ingested can give users a high similar to those of cocaine or methamphetamine.

Mulligan, who has no prior criminal record, once served as co-chairman of Universal Studios and chief financial officer of Seagram Co.

One officer named in Mulligan's suit is on leave pending a disciplinary hearing for unrelated allegations that he coerced women to have sex or face arrest. A lawsuit with such allegations by a former drug informant was settled for $575,000.

The trial on Mulligan's lawsuit is expected to last two to three days.

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