After three terms as District Attorney, Steve Cooley is retiring next year. Though he won't be on the ballot, he sure is taking an active interest in who will be. He's been touting Jackie Lacey, and trashing Carmen Trutanich, for nearly a year.
Now he's taking aim at another candidate: Deputy District Attorney Mario Trujillo. In a fundraising e-mail sent Wednesday, Trujillo had some pointed things to say about the current administration:
"I have seen how archaic and inefficient policies of the D.A.'s office have delayed justice for victims, wasted taxpayer money, and put our community at risk," Trujillo wrote.
Cooley, who apparently has time to read these things, was not amused.
At an L.A. County Bar Association event last night, Cooley pulled Trujillo aside and gave him an earful.
"Mr. Cooley and I had an intellectual discussion about our differences in philosophy," Trujillo said. "There was a concern that some colleagues may feel I am putting down their work... That was not my intent at all."
Cooley declined to comment, but his spokeswoman confirmed that he had some problems with Trujillo's rhetoric.
"The unspecified criticism of the office contained in his mass solicitation e-mail was unwarranted and disappointing," said spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons. "Mr. Trujillo knows better."
Trujillo is one of the most liberal candidates in the race. He has talked about easing up on prosecutions of unlicensed drivers (who tend to be undocumented), and expressed some reservations about the death penalty.
"You're not going to get the status quo from me," Trujillo said. "We're going to have to change some of these policies."
Trujillo was also quick to say that he and Cooley have a good relationship, and that he intends to uphold Cooley's policies as long as they're in place.
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"He's been great to me," Trujillo said. "My e-mail is in some respects in line with what he taught us."
Update: The Met News rounds up reaction from other candidates, plus this beaut from former D.A. Robert Philibosian:
"If Mr. Trujillo truly thinks there's something wrong with the district attorney's policies, he's free to resign from the office and run his candidacy any way he chooses."
Is that what Cooley did when he ran against Gil Garcetti? Uh, no.