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Carmen Trutanich's request for probe of D.A.'s office rejected

May 17, 2012 |  1:21 pm

Carmen Trutanich is seeking a probe of the L.A. County district attorney's office

This post has been corrected. See the note below for details.

The California attorney general's office announced Thursday that it plans to take no further action in response to Los Angeles City Atty. Carmen Trutanich's call to investigate what he called "suspicious political activity" in the district attorney's office.

"Our office has reviewed this matter and determined that no further action is warranted at this time," Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris' office said in a statement.

Trutanich's request in a letter to Harris followed a Times report that detailed varying accounts he has given about an incident he was involved in at a South L.A. park while working on a murder case as a young prosecutor in the 1980s. His campaign says Trutanich was shot at by gang members who surrounded him in Green Meadows Park, but Trutanich did not mention being shot at or being surrounded during a 2008 deposition in which he was asked what had happened.

In response to a Times request for records about the incident, the district attorney's office said Trutanich's personnel file was one of many missing from that era and that its disappearance was first noted when Trutanich was running for city attorney.

"This statement is shocking," Trutanich wrote in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Times. "The fact that the district attorney’s office admitted to losing custody and control over my records is bad enough. The possibility that records have been removed, tampered with or stolen in the course of a political campaign merits your office’s immediate review."

District attorney's officials notified Trutanich in a letter they made public Friday that they had been unable to find his personnel records after conducting searches in response to several requests dating back to 2008, when Trutanich was running for city attorney. A D.A.'s spokeswoman said Trutanich's personnel file is one of many missing from that era.

Trutanich's letter to Harris also complained that Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley has used his downtown county office to film a campaign video for his chief deputy, Jackie Lacey.

Trutanich and Lacey are among six candidates vying to replace Cooley in the June 5 election. The others are L.A. County Deputy Dist. Atty. John L. Breault III, Deputy Dist. Atty. Bobby Grace, Deputy Dist. Atty. Alan Jackson and Deputy Dist. Atty. Danette Meyers.

On Friday, a Trutanich campaign strategist did not return messages seeking comment about the letter. On Tuesday, however, the campaign said they were hopeful that the attorney general would address Trutanich's concerns about the personnel file.

Cooley responded last week, insisting his office had done nothing wrong and that he was supporting Trutanich for city attorney in 2008 when the D.A.'s office first discovered that Trutanich's personnel file was missing.

"It's slanderous against the D.A.'s office and against me," he said of Trutanich's allegations of "suspicious political activity. "They're trying to divert attention away from the story."

For the record 1:52 p.m. May 17: An earlier version of this post suggested that the Trutanich campaign declined to comment on this story on Thursday. The campaign was contacted for comment on Friday and responded later.


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-- Jack Leonard and Shelby Grad

Photo: Los Angeles City Atty. Carmen Trutanich. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times