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California attorney general to take no further action in Trutanich case

The L.A. city attorney asked for an investigation last week after an L.A. Times article noted that his personnel file from his days as a county prosecutor during the 1980s was missing.

May 18, 2012|By Jack Leonard, Los Angeles Times
  • L.A. City Attorney Carmen A. Trutanich, holds a confiscated weapon at the Harbor Station in San Pedro in October 2010.
L.A. City Attorney Carmen A. Trutanich, holds a confiscated weapon at the… (Genaro Molina, Los Angeles…)

The California attorney general's office announced Thursday that it would take no further action in response to a request by Los Angeles City Atty. Carmen Trutanich to investigate what he called "suspicious political activity" in the district attorney's office.

Trutanich asked for an investigation last week after a Times story noted that his district attorney's personnel file from his days as a young county prosecutor during the 1980s was missing.

"Our office has reviewed this matter and determined that no further action is warranted at this time," Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris' office said in its statement. An office spokesman declined to say why the office had decided not to investigate.

The Times story that prompted Trutanich's request for an investigation detailed varying accounts he has given about an incident in which his campaign says he was shot at by gang members who surrounded him in Green Meadows Park in South L.A. while he was working on a murder case in 1985. Trutanich did not mention coming under gunfire or being surrounded during a 2008 deposition in which he was asked what had happened at the park.

In response to a Times request for records about the incident, the district attorney's office said Trutanich's personnel file was one of many missing from that era and that its disappearance was first noted when Trutanich was running for city attorney.

"This statement is shocking," Trutanich wrote in a letter sent Friday to Harris. Trutanich noted in the letter that Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley had endorsed a rival candidate, one of five county prosecutors running against Trutanich.

"The fact that the district attorney's office admitted to losing custody and control over my records is bad enough," he wrote. "The possibility that records have been removed, tampered with or stolen in the course of a political campaign merits your office's immediate review."

The letter also claimed that Trutanich had never requested his personnel file. But it turned out that his successful 2009 city attorney campaign was notified more than three years ago that the district attorney's office did not have the file.

A research company hired by the campaign noted in a 2008 report that it had requested Trutanich's personnel file and was told that the district attorney's office "no longer maintained" the file. Trutanich's current campaign notified the attorney general's office about the previous request on Tuesday, after the LA Weekly asked about the research firm's report.

jack.leonard@latimes.com

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