Los Angeles County continues to thwart failed DA recall probe, attorneys say

Los Angeles District Attorney
Supporters of a campaign to recall Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon gather. Ashley Landis/AP

Los Angeles County continues to thwart failed DA recall probe, attorneys say

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The Los Angeles County Registrar of Voters has continued to create roadblocks to an inspection by the district attorney recall campaign, which is determined to discover whether petitions were erroneously tossed out, dooming its effort, attorneys say.

In an Oct. 25 hearing, Superior Court Judge James Chalfant ordered attorneys for the county and recall campaign to meet face to face with the goal to have “pared down the issues for the court to decide,” a minute order said.

The campaign to recall Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon sued for access to voter registration records and signed recall petitions, saying the county was breaking state law by not allowing public scrutiny of an election in numerous areas.

Gascon survived an attempt in August to remove him from office, despite a bipartisan grassroots effort that included victims’ rights groups, prosecutors, and law enforcement.

“They are not going to be cooperative; they are not going to be as productive as court hoped,” said former District Attorney Steve Cooley, one of the campaign organizers. “The court is going to have to grab them by the scruff of the neck and shake them. Otherwise, they are going to string this thing out.”

LOS ANGELES COUNTY VOTER ERRORS COULD OVERTURN FAILED GASCON RECALL: LAWSUIT

Volunteers are stymied by draconian county rules that will drag the inspection out 18 more months, Cooley said. County Registrar Dean Logan has made minute concessions to speed up the process, even though campaign volunteers said they found a 39% error rate among the thousands of invalidated petitions they have accessed.

“Originally, on Aug. 29, they said we could have five computers and 10 [volunteers]. Then it was seven computers and 14 people,” said recall campaign attorney Marian Thompson. “Now it’s 10 computer stations and 20 people, but everyone needs their own computer.”

Other access problems exist, including not letting the campaign view original signatures or addresses on file for voters whose signatures were thrown out for invalid signatures or addresses. Organizers are not allowed to take photos and must make handwritten notes regarding the 195,758 invalidated petitions.

The two sides will be back in court next week to hammer out more details.

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“We are not given adequate resources or access to information we need in order to properly and legally challenge wrongly disqualified signatures,” Thompson said.

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