The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is disputing the California Attorney General’s Office request to destroy evidence related to the investigation of Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl.
The Attorney General and Department of Justice took over the public corruption investigation connected to Kuehl after the Sheriff’s Dept. raided her home on Sept. 14.
The Dept. of Justice then ordered the Sheriff’s Dept. to hand over all evidence they had seized, and later asked for it all to be deleted.
Court documents contradict Office of Attorney General. This is an excerpt from the original email used as an attachment to the court documents. pic.twitter.com/KnwG9Q9Sul
— LA County Sheriffs (@LASDHQ) October 28, 2022
Sheriff Alex Villanueva argued that it would be illegal to destroy the evidence and would also be detrimental to them should the evidence be needed in related lawsuits.
“I hope and pray the attorney general does his job, but this does not instill confidence in the objectivity of the attorney general’s office,” Villanueva said in an October 26 press briefing. “Imagine if the Attorney General’s Office was compromised and the whole effort is to whitewash the Board of Supervisors’ corruption. And then our only recourse is to present our case to the federal government and we would have no evidence to present to the federal government.”
Part of the destroyed evidence would be body-worn camera footage from the day of the raids, to which Villanueva said the department cannot delete body camera footage as part of its agreement with the vendor.
“To have the Attorney General’s Office request that we delete our body-worn camera footage is of concern to us,” Villanueva said.
The Sheriff’s Dept. have submitted a declaration to the Superior Court of California, in hopes that it does not need to comply with the attorney general’s request to destroy evidence.
On October 27, Kuehl said she was able to retrieve work items that work confiscated during the raid of her home.
“In court today, the State Attorney General presented an order that will, at long last, return my cell phones and laptops,” Kuehl said. “I am glad that the equipment I need to conduct public business will once again be in my hands.”
In court today, the State Attorney General presented an order that will, at long last, return my cell phones and laptops. I am glad that the equipment I need to conduct public business will once again be in my hands. 🧵
— Sheila Kuehl (@SheilaKuehl) October 28, 2022
Kuehl then alluded to Villanueva losing his coming bid for re-election, saying, “I hope that soon, under new Sheriff’s Department leadership, such retaliation against brave and honest individuals who seek to restore the trust between the department and our communities will be unthinkable.”
In addition to the Department of Justice‘s investigation over alleged public corruption, it said it is conducting an investigation over whether a crime was committed when Kuehl was given advance notice of the search warrant against herself, Los Angeles County Civilian Oversight Commissioner Patricia ‘Patti’ Giggans, the Peace Over Violence organization, and L.A. Metro headquarters.
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