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D.A. seeks funds to investigate public officials in O.C.

September 10, 2012 | 12:03 pm

Following the arrest of a prominent Orange County civic leader on suspicion of sexual assault, county prosecutors have requested extra staffing to form a public integrity unit that would focus on possible  corruption and wrongdoing by elected leaders.

The county's Board of Supervisors will vote Tuesday whether to provide the funds to create a unit that would pursue such cases as illegal or inappropriate use of public funds, bribery, election and campaign violations, conflict of interest and malfeasance in office, according to the proposal.

The district attorney's office says it is seeking to expand because it has received a growing number of complaints of crime involving public officeholders and allegations of the county and county employees being the victims of crime.

The request comes on the heels of the criminal case involving Santa Ana City Councilman Carlos Bustamante, who faces a dozen felony charges, most of which stemmed from allegations of sexually assaulting subordinates while working in the county's public works department. 

The county would add seven positions, including two senior district attorneys and two investigators, according to the proposal.

The team — which would be part of the district attorney's special prosecutions and special assignments unit — would cost the county about $750,000 through the end of the year and slightly more than $1.1 million for next year.


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— Rick Rojas

Photo: Santa Ana Councilman Carlos Bustamante is taken away in handcuffs. Credit: Orange County district attorney's office.