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Brown's communications chief quits

Scott Gerber takes responsibility for taping the attorney general's phone interviews with reporters.

November 03, 2009|Maura Dolan

Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown's communications' chief resigned Monday after admitting he had tape-recorded interviews with news reporters without their knowledge or consent.

Scott Gerber, Brown's spokesman, delivered his resignation letter by hand. He said the taping was not intended as a "gotcha" but rather as a way to ensure on-the-record comments were reported accurately.

A state law prohibits the taping of telephone conversations without consent if one or more of the parties reasonably expected the conversation to be private.

Gerber said he made "serious errors in judgment" and apologized to Brown and to the "few" reporters whose interviews he surreptitiously recorded.

"The errors were mine alone -- neither the attorney general nor any other attorneys from our office were aware that I was recording interviews without permission," Gerber wrote.

The attorney general's office on Friday began notifying reporters who were taped. Among them was Los Angeles Times staff writer David Sarno. A spokeswoman for Brown told Sarno that Gerber may have tape-recorded an interview Sarno had with Brown in May. Sarno said Gerber had not informed him the call was recorded.

The taping was discovered after Gerber gave an editor at the San Francisco Chronicle a transcript of an interview that a Chronicle reporter conducted over the telephone.

The reporter said she did not know Gerber was taping at the time.

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maura.dolan@latimes.com

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