The Times also detailed varying accounts Trutanich gave about an incident in which his campaign said he was surrounded by gang members and shot at in a South Los Angeles park while working on a murder case as a young county prosecutor during the 1980s. Trutanich, who has repeatedly cited the incident while running for election, did not mention being shot at or being surrounded during a 2008 deposition in which he was asked what had happened.
The city attorney came in for stinging criticism from several talk radio hosts. He also failed to garner the support of major newspapers that endorsed him in 2009, including The Times, which backed Lacey. The Los Angeles Daily News and its sister newspapers ran an editorial urging voters to remember "ABC: Anybody But Carmen."
Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley, a strong supporter for Trutanich's city attorney bid, was sharply critical of his old friend's decision to run for district attorney and threw his support behind Lacey. "People wanted someone other than Trutanich," he said Wednesday.
With the city attorney's election only nine months away, Trutanich is facing an uphill fight. In the district attorney's race, he failed to win within the city limits, coming in second place with 24.4% of the city's vote compared with Lacey's 32.9%.
John Shallman, Trutanich's campaign consultant in the D.A.'s race, has already spent months working on the city attorney bid of Assemblyman Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles). Feuer has raised more than $345,000 and has locked up his own list of prominent backers.
In the district attorney's race, Lacey's performance on Tuesday makes her the front-runner, said Fernando Guerra, a political science professor at Loyola Marymount University. Lacey, he said, could also benefit from the high election turnout expected in November, when more black and Democratic-leaning voters are expected to cast ballots than did so this week.
"You'd have to favor Lacey," Guerra said. "Having said that, the conventional wisdom of political pundits doesn't always bear out. As Carmen Trutanich will tell you."