Soros-backed DA withheld info about sheriff’s innocence to block his re-election bid: Whistleblower retaliation lawsuit
Soros-funded Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon is accused of intentionally withholding information about a sheriff’s innocence to interfere with his re-election bid, according to a recent whistleblower retaliation lawsuit, Fox News Digital reported Tuesday.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who was up for re-election last year, was previously under investigation for an incident in June 2022 where he was captured on video kneeling on an inmate’s neck, the lawsuit stated.
According to the complaint, the video “was illegally released to the public, and was used by Villanueva’s detractors to spread the false narrative that the use of force was illegal and that Villanueva attempted to cover it up.”
While all deputies involved in the incident were ultimately cleared of wrongdoing, the DA office’s decision not to file charges against the officers was withheld from the public until after Villanueva, an outspoken critic of Gascon, lost his re-election bid.
Villanueva previously accused Gascon of “empowering and encouraging criminal behavior” in a post on X.
The lawsuit argued that in typical cases, the relevant law enforcement agency is immediately notified once the DA’s office has concluded it will not move forward with filing charges. Instead, in this instance, “the Declination was not provided to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department or any other law enforcement agency,” the complaint noted.
The lawsuit, which names Los Angeles County and dozens of officials, was filed Friday by Deputy District Attorney Amy Pellman Pentz, a former assistant head deputy in the justice system integrity division of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office under Gascon. The division is responsible for reviewing allegations of corruption and improper use of force by law enforcement officers.
Pentz accused Gascon’s office of retaliating against her for taking issue with the results of Villanueva’s investigation being withheld. According to Pentz, after speaking out, she was consequently reassigned and demoted from her watchdog position.
The lawsuit noted that one of Pentz’s supervisors also disagreed with how Gascon’s office handled the situation, calling the withheld announcement “total BS” and an attempt to prevent Villanueva from having “any good news this close to the election.”
After investigating the case, Pentz’s former supervisor found that the use of force appeared to be proper and justified, according to the suit. Once Villanueva became aware that the investigation results had been kept in the dark, county officials pointed the blame at Pentz, the lawsuit noted.
“Gascon and other high-ranking officials in the District Attorney’s Office believed that plaintiff was the person that disclosed to Sheriff Villanueva that the declination had been withheld,” the suit said.
The complaint also claimed that Gascon’s office hired former public defenders who were unqualified to fill two open positions in the office’s watchdog division.
Neama Rahmani, an attorney and former federal prosecutor, told Fox News Digital, “There is no legal requirement that [Gascon] announce the results of an investigation by a specific time or at all, even though it is typically done right away.”
“If Gascon did delay the announcement until after the election to hurt Villanueva’s chances, that’s dirty politics, but it’s not actionable,” Rahmani added.
“If Pentz was retaliated against for speaking out, that’s a different question,” he continued. “Her employment lawyers need to tie her removal from her position or commission to a protected right, such as free speech, to prevail.”
Gascon’s office did not respond to a request for comment from MyNewsLA.com.
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