Legal wrangling has delayed attempts by Orange County Democrats to question Laurie Campbell, a candidate for Assemblywoman Doris Allen's seat who was thrown off the Nov. 28 ballot last month after a judge determined that her nominating petitions were falsified.
In a politically charged battle, Democrats were attempting to force Campbell to testify under oath today as part of a lawsuit they have filed. They hope to prove that Campbell's Democratic candidacy was engineered by one or more Republican legislators in an effort to dilute the vote for another Democratic contestant.
Four Republicans and one Democrat are still competing for the right to succeed Allen (R-Cypress) if she is recalled in a simultaneous special election.
On Monday, Campbell's attorneys filed legal papers in Sacramento Superior Court contending that she was not given the proper 15-day notice for the legal deposition and that the questioning should be delayed until the statute of limitations has expired on any criminal charges against her. The Orange County district attorney's office is investigating to determine whether Campbell violated the state Election Code.
Attorneys for the Democrats, meanwhile, said they had been notified that Campbell would not show up for the deposition. If Campbell does not appear, "we'll figure out what our game plan is from there," said George Waters, a Sacramento attorney representing the Orange County Democratic Party.
The Democrats also have served legal notice on Assemblyman Curt Pringle (R-Garden Grove) and Jeff Flint, his chief of staff, that they want to depose them Thursday. Pringle and Flint, who have pushed hard for Allen's recall, both said Monday that they will not appear and that their attorneys will argue in court that the Democrats have no basis for questioning them.
"They just can't go out fishing and use the court system to try to play political games," Pringle said.
Campbell has described herself as a conservative and said in an interview that she was running to keep a liberal from winning. But she has not commented on the charge that her candidacy was fostered by the Republican Party.