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FBI clears former Assemblyman Duvall

Mike Duvall, a Yorba Linda Republican, will not face federal charges after he made comments about having a sexual relationship with a woman believed to be a Sempra Energy lobbyist, officials said.

November 03, 2009|Patrick McGreevy

SACRAMENTO — Former Assemblyman Michael Duvall of Yorba Linda will not face any federal charges after an FBI investigation into his comments, made over an open microphone, that he had a sexual relationship with a woman who was believed to be a Sempra Energy lobbyist, officials announced Monday.

In response, Sempra Energy said it has reinstated the lobbyist to active status as an employee.

Lobbyist Heidi Barsuglia issued a statement saying, "This experience has been a professional and personal nightmare. I did nothing whatsoever illegal or unethical with former Assemblyman Duvall or anyone else."

Duvall, a Republican, was vice chairman of the Assembly's Committee on Utilities and Commerce when he made the remarks.

He resigned Sept. 9 after his comments, videotaped during a lull in legislative proceedings, were broadcast over the Internet.

The FBI interviewed some of his former employees after he resigned.

In a statement released today, U.S. Atty. Lawrence G. Brown and FBI Special Agent in Charge Drew Parenti announced: "The FBI has concluded its preliminary investigation concerning comments made by former California Assemblyman Mike Duvall, and no prosecutive action by the United States attorney's office is warranted."

Duvall said after he quit that his comments were not an admission of an affair but rather amounted to "inappropriate storytelling."

Sempra said in a statement Monday that the lobbyist also denied Duvall's allegations: "Consistent with the outcome of the government investigations and Sempra Energy's own investigation, we have closed our review of this personnel matter and reinstated our employee to active status."

Malcolm Segal, Barsuglia's personal attorney, said Barsuglia "has been defamed in monumental proportions."

"Her reputation, her job and her exemplary career have all been placed in jeopardy by Duvall's disgusting remarks," he said.

Segal said he would not rule out legal action against Duvall.

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patrick.mcgreevy@latimes.com

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