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Police Union Stands by Davis Endorsement

October 30, 1998|LESLEY WRIGHT

After investigating old charges that resurfaced recently, police union officials have decided to stand by their man in the city attorney's race.

"Our endorsement of Ron Davis will stand," said Kreg Muller, a director of the Huntington Beach Police Officers' Assn.

The union officers were caught off guard last week when they learned that Davis, a civil and criminal defense attorney who had won their endorsement, had been arrested on bribery charges in 1983.

The case against Davis had been dismissed, however, and he was exonerated by the California State Bar. But the union decided to conduct its own investigation of the case.

Muller said union members interviewed people involved in the case, "looked at the facts" surrounding the allegations and decided to reaffirm their endorsement.

Davis, meanwhile, filed a defamation lawsuit against veteran City Atty. Gail Hutton, whom he is challenging in the election, for exposing the allegations without describing the outcome of the case. His lawsuit contends that Hutton invaded his privacy and cast the matter in a false light.

"It's wonderful," Davis said of the union's renewed endorsement. "I'm proud of the endorsement. But that won't change the smear. . . . If this had come out two months ago, the public could have listened to the arguments against it. By sending out a last-minute smear piece, I can't respond. That's why I sued her."

Hutton, who has held the city attorney's post for 20 years, said the suit was designed to divert attention from the facts.

The charges were dismissed on a technicality, she said, and the evidence gathered was enough to discredit Davis.

"I believe this is just another example of how a criminal defense lawyer like Mr. Davis deals with troublesome evidence," she said.

Davis also has objected to being labeled as a criminal defense lawyer, saying he has handled civil cases throughout his career.

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