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LA Times seeks to make public statements in sexual harassment case involving former Garcetti assistant

The Los Angeles Times has asked a judge to testify publicly in a trial in which an LAPD officer alleges he was sexually harassed by former Mayor Eric Garcetti’s adviser.

In a motion filed Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court, Times attorney Dan Laidman argued that there was “an overriding public interest” in the litigation involving LAPD officer Matthew Garza, who has worked on Garcetti’s security details.

The Times motion asks Judge Curtis A. Kin to vary an order approved by a previous judge in January that gave Garza and town lawyers broad authority to keep the case files confidential. The Times called for a more restrictive order under which only sensitive personal information would be redacted on documents.

“Despite the obvious public interest in this litigation – brought against the city by a police officer at the mayor’s security station, where all of the alleged behavior occurred at city hall and other official venues – the parties have stipulated a general protection order which allows their virtually unlimited discretion to designate any document or statement confidential, without valid justification, ”the motion reads.

Atty of the city. Mike Feuer’s spokesman Rob Wilcox said city prosecutors are considering the motion. He declined to comment further.

Greg Smith, Garza’s attorney, said in an email that his client supported the request.

LAPD officer Garza sued the town last summer, alleging that Jacobs made crass sexual comments and touched him for several years. Garza’s lawsuit indicates that Garcetti witnessed the inappropriate behavior and on some occasions the mayor mocked Jacobs’ rude comments.

Jacobs called Garza’s trial “pure fiction.” Garcetti said in his testimony taken earlier this year that he had not witnessed any inappropriate behavior from Jacobs.

Some of the testimony in the case, such as that of Garcetti and his chief of staff, Ana Guerrero, was not marked confidential, according to the Times motion. But the parties appear to have kept at least four other depositions secret since March, the motion says.

The Times motion argues that the general protection order “includes no rationale for confidentiality” and that without the order, the depositions in the case would be public records subject to disclosure under the California Public Records Act. .

The motion also argues that “the parties do not have competing interests that could override the extremely strong public interest in disclosure here.”

“The Times brought this motion forward because cases like this demand maximum transparency,” Laidman said in a statement to The Times. “There is a strong public interest in knowing the basis of these high-level misconduct allegations and in taking a close look at how the courts handle cases involving powerful public bodies and officials.

The Times covered some of the deposition testimony, including that of the mayor, Garza, and a former aide to Garcetti who said he was subjected to unwanted touching by Jacobs.

Other Garcetti associates testified that they did not see Jacobs act inappropriately.

The Times reported on Wednesday that the former chairman of the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles, a nonprofit organization, testified in his testimony that he heard Garcetti say words like “I can’t believe Rick is. was driven to town hall and we got away with no trial.

Garcetti, in his February deposition, asked him if he had made such a statement and denied having made it. The mayor said on Wednesday he was standing by his testimony.

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