Carmen Trutanich Forms Committee To Run For District Attorney

Updated at 7:39 p.m. with Trutanich's campaign manager taking some swings at D.A. rival Alan Jackson.

L.A. City Attorney Carmen Trutanich filed paperwork today to begin his campaign for L.A. District Attorney. According to the L.A. County Registrar-Recorder's office, Trutanich submitted the papers to form a committee this afternoon.

Trutanich has long been expected to run to succeed D.A. Steve Cooley in 2012.

Cooley, meanwhile, still has not announced his retirement. In the past, he has said he would run for a fourth term only if no qualified candidates stepped forward. There has been tension between Cooley and Trutanich ever since January...

.... when campaign consultant John Shallman called Cooley and said he would be running Trutanich's campaign.

Cooley is widely expected to favor his chief deputy, Jackie Lacey, who would be the county's first black and first female D.A.

About a half dozen prosecutors have jumped into the race. Trutanich is widely considered the favorite, based mostly on name recognition.

When he ran for city attorney, Trutanich pledged to serve two full terms and not to seek higher office. That was an effort to box in his opponent, former Councilman Jack Weiss, who was widely expected to use the city attorney's office as a stepping stone.

Trutanich has previously said that he does not feel bound by that pledge, since Weiss did not also sign it. Updated below.

Shallman put out this statement:

"Mr. Trutanich has opened an exploratory committee for District

Attorney after being deluged by leaders in law enforcement, including

Sheriff Lee Baca, urging him to run. He is honored to have their

encouragement, but right now he is singularly focused on his job

fighting and preventing gang violence as City Attorney."

Update: Feel the groundswell. There is a new website that aims to draft Trutanich for D.A. The site is run by an anonymous "coalition of law enforcement officers, public safety advocates and community activists." It's registered to Jim Royer, a lieutenant with the Hawthorne Police Department.

"It's an opportunity to get the information out there and show there's active support," Royer said. "He has a stellar track record.... He has certainly brought an air of respectability back to the city attorney's office. L.A. led the nation in marijuana dispensaries. There were more dispensaries than there were Starbucks. He has distinguished himself as a person to combat that problem."

Royer noted that Trutanich had pledged a two-term commitment to the city. But Royer said, "circumstances, as with anything, changed. No one anticipated Steve Cooley would lose the attorney general's race."

Royer said the "Draft Trutanich" campaign is separate from the Trutanich campaign. He did not say how many members the group has, and said he holds no official title with the group. "I'm a person who was asked to provide a service and I did it," he said.

Other than boosting Trutanich, the site seems intent on shoving Cooley out of the picture:

With the retirement of Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley, the residents of our County must choose a new District Attorney in 2012.

We believe that there is no better choice to succeed Steve Cooley than Carmen Trutanich.

Um, Cooley still hasn't retired...

Update 2: The Alan Jackson for D.A. campaign has put out a video mocking Trutanich for violating his pledge to serve:

Update 3 at 7:39 p.m.: Trutanich campaign manager John Shallman unloads this response:

"Mr. Jackson should show a little more respect for Sheriff Baca and the hundreds of law enforcement officers who have urged Trutanich to run. If Jackson had any strength of character or confidence in his ability to win, he would welcome Trutanich into the race rather than acting like a child having a temper tantrum."

"Carmen Trutanich is by far the most qualified candidate for District Attorney and one of the foremost experts in fighting and preventing gang violence. As such, Sheriff Baca and hundreds of law enforcement officers have asked him to reconsider his commitment and explore the possibility that he could do more good for more people as DA. So, that's precisely what he is doing. Exploring."

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