Friday, July 22, 2011
Foulup in Loo Race Was ‘My Mistake,’ Consultant Alexander Admits
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Harvey Silberman’s lead campaign consultant admitted yesterday that she was responsible for the use of slate mail language that caused serious problems for another client.
Evelyn Jerome Alexander was the consultant for Superior Court Referee Cynthia Loo, who lost a runoff election to then-Deputy District Attorney Tom Rubinson in 2008. That was the same year Alexander and then-partner Randy Steinberg handled Silberman’s successful campaign.
Alexander, recalled yesterday as a prosecution witness at Silberman’s trial for felony violation of the Elections Code, confirmed details of an internal Superior Court probe that was not made public at the time.
The investigation resulted from language on a slate mailer, referring to Loo as a “Tough but Fair Juvenile Court Judge.” This led to a complaint—the complainant was not identified by Alexander—that Loo had violated ethical standards by misrepresenting herself.
Alexander said she used the language on a small number of slates, and that it was “my mistake,” not the candidate’s.
Alexander said she and Loo both testified before a retired judge conducting the probe. No sanctions resulted, she said.
Silberman’s defense counsel were allowed to probe the area over the prosecution’s objection that it was irrelevant to the charge that Silberman offered an inducement to Deputy District Attorney Serena Murillo not to run against him.
Orange Superior Court Judge Richard M. King, sitting on assignment, said the evidence goes “to the heart of the defense case”—its contention that Alexander followed a practice of acting on behalf of clients without their knowledge or authorization.
Alexander insisted on Wednesday that Silberman specifically approved her recommendation that the campaign offer to pay Murillo’s filing fee if she would run for a seat other than the one she and Silberman were both eyeing.
Silberman and his lawyers have maintained that the consultants acted entirely on their own, and that it was they, not Silberman, who feared that the then-commissioner could not beat Murillo.
Alexander acknowledged in her testimony Wednesday that she was worried that Silberman would repeat the experience of her earlier client, Alan Friedenthal—like Silberman a white, male, Jewish court commissioner—who ran in 2006 but lost to a Latina prosecutor, Deborah Sanchez.
Defense co-counsel Shepard Kopp also told the judge yesterday that the defense intends to call Superior Court Judge Bobbi Tillmon as a witness. Alexander testified Wednesday that she had Tillmon’s authorization to pay the filing fee for a potential opponent, on the last day of filing in 2006.
Alexander said no actual payment was necessary in that instance because no one appeared to run against the then-commissioner, who pulled off the rare feat of running unopposed for an open seat. Kopp suggested Tillmon will testify that Alexander acted entirely on her own in that instance as well.
Alexander and Steinberg are both awaiting sentencing after pleading no contest to misdemeanor conspiracy charges, as part of recent plea agreements with prosecutors. They were indicted with Silberman two years ago under Elections Code Sec. 18205, which reads:
“A person shall not directly or through any other person advance, pay, solicit, or receive or cause to be advanced, paid, solicited, or received, any money or other valuable consideration to or for the use of any person in order to induce a person not to become or to withdraw as a candidate for public office. Violation of this section shall be punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for 16 months or two or three years.”
The prosecution is expected to rest its case against Silberman Monday.
Copyright 2011, Metropolitan News Company