Wednesday, March 6, 2002
District Attorney’s Office Lends D’Agostino to City Attorney
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Veteran prosecutor Lea Purwin D’Agostino will take a six-month leave from the District Attorney’s Office to work for City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo, who defeated her for his post last year, under a move approved yesterday by the Board of Supervisors.
Delgadillo is seeking the help of his former opponent to help the City of Los Angeles make its way through consent decree compliance reporting and antiterrorism measures.
A veteran prosecutor of high-profile cases, D’Agostino would also be responsible for acting as a liaison between the City Attorney’s Office and law enforcement, dealing with San Fernando Valley issues and any special projects, according to a letter written to the board by District Attorney Steve Cooley yesterday.
D’Agostino finished third in last year’s April primary election for city attorney, behind then-Deputy Mayor Delgadillo and then-Councilman Mike Feuer.
After being edged out of the runoff, D’Agostino backed Delgadillo in the general election, continuing to criticize the City Council and Feuer for being slow to implement police reforms, especially a tracking system of problem officers that she said could have nipped corruption within the department in the bud.
D’Agostino was also critical of the five-year consent decree the city entered with the U.S. Department of Justice to oversee LAPD reforms and of the City Council’s willingness to quickly settle suits against the police.
Bringing D’Agostino on as a “special assistant” to Delgadillo will cost the city of Los Angeles a total of $78,519 for the six-month term, plus any business expenses D’Agostino accrues during that time.
Spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said the District Attorney’s Office has loaned out deputy district attorneys to different cities in the past, but that has mostly been in connection with anti-gang programs.
Bob Heflin, currently the head deputy in the district attorney’s Norwalk Office, and James Bascue, now the presiding judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court, were both loaned as prosecutors to the State Bar of California to prosecute attorney discipline matters, Gibbons said.
Nicknamed the Dragon Lady, D’Agostino has been a controversial presence in the office. She ran against then-District Attorney Ira Reiner in 1988, finishing a very-distant second as the incumbent racked up 68 percent of the vote, and was the lead prosecutor in the case of director John Landis and others, acquitted on manslaughter charges in the death of actor Vic Morrow and two children on the set of the movie “The Twilight Zone.”
D’Agostino accused then-District Attorney Gil Garcetti of removing her from the case of suspected serial killer Glen Rogers as “pay-back” for her efforts to persuade then-City Attorney James Hahn to run against Garcetti.
The City Council must approve the temporary hire of D’Agostino by the City Attorney’s Office.
Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company