Monday, June 13, 2011
Sheriff Baca Endorses Movement to ‘Draft’ Trutanich for D.A.
County’s Top Law Enforcer Credits City Attorney With Takedown of 38th Street Gang
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer
Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca authorized an email sent out last week by a group seeking to “draft” Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich as district attorney, a spokesman for the sheriff said Friday.
That confirmation came after the Los Angeles Dragnet blog, at losangelesdragnet.blogspot.com, reported the email blast, claimed it contained a falsehood, and questioned whether Baca was actually behind it.
The blog, whose editor uses the pseudonym “Windscale” but is widely believed to be Deputy District Attorney David Berger, a former top aide to Trutanich, said of the email:
“Although attributed to Sheriff Baca, some may question whether the Sheriff actually wrote it, or even read it, because it appears to contain a lie.”
The alleged lie is the assertion that:
“Trutanich busted the notorious 38th Street Gang— confiscating an arsenal of 80 firearms and removing 57 long time gang members from the streets.”
The blog cites a Feb. 1 Los Angeles Times story crediting the Los Angeles Police Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives with the pre-dawn raids in which 37 defendants already under federal indictment and 20 more who were charged with state offenses were arrested.
“No mention of Trutanich or the City Attorney’s Office, and that’s because, despite Trutanich’s odd relationship with the truth, the fact remains that he does not have the power to arrest or ’bust’ gang members charged with felonies, federal felonies in this case,” the blog declared.
But Baca’s spokesman, Steve Whitmore, said the statement was accurate because Trutanich served on an anti-gang task force that was responsible for the effort. The City Attorney’s Office website
Whitmore explained that last week’s email was actually a “recasting” of an earlier one that was written before District Attorney Steve Cooley declared he would not run for a fourth term. While the sheriff and the district attorney have long been allies, Whitmore said, the sheriff “did not want Trutanich to be left behind” in the event Cooley elected not to run.
When Cooley made the expected announcement last month that he would not run, the “Draft Trutanich” group decided to send out an updated version of the email blast, and the sheriff did not, and does not, object, Whitmore said.
The spokesman added, however, that Baca’s urging in the email that recipients click on an email link to “sign a petition urging Carmen to run” does not constitute an endorsement of a Trutanich candidacy if one should materialize.
Trutanich has formed an exploratory committee, thus beginning the process of fundraising for what would eventually become a formal campaign for the office. But John Shallman, a campaign consultant working with the exploratory effort, said there is no connection between it and the draft movement.
Shallman said there is no timetable for the city attorney to decide whether to enter the race. The filing deadline is 10 months away, but six candidates, all currently prosecutors in Cooley’s office, are actively campaigning for the post.
Copyright 2011, Metropolitan News Company