A lawsuit against City Councilman Jose Huizar by a former staffer who claims she was forced out of her job for reporting alleged misconduct by the councilman can move forward, but Huizar will not have to sit for a deposition while an FBI probe involving him is pending.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ruth Kwan ruled that an extended delay could prejudice Pauline Medina’s case, so she rejected a request by Huizar to have the case put on hold.
“However, based on the overlapping facts of this case and the criminal investigation, it appears that Defendant Huizar may be forced to choose between possible self-incrimination and exercising his Fifth Amendment right,” Kwan wrote. “In balancing these competing interests and the court’s desire to preserve evidence in this action, the court will not stay the entire proceeding. However, Huizar should not be forced to make the difficult choice of exercising his Fifth Amendment right and possibly incriminating himself by responding to discovery.”
Medina sued Huizar in 2018, claiming he began a campaign to push her out in 2017 after she told the councilman’s chief of staff that her married boss was in a relationship with someone else in the office. Medina also alleges that Huizar secretly used city funds to pay for his personal expenses.
Huizar has denied any wrongdoing.
Federal investigators searched Huizar’s City Hall office and home last year as part of an ongoing corruption probe.
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