Los Angeles County is renewing its effort to require Sheriff Alex Villanueva to appear before the Office of Inspector General and answer questions about deputy gangs while under oath and with his testimony transcribed by a court reporter.
Harvinder S. Anand, an attorney for the county, filed a petition Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, asking that a judge order Villanueva to accept those conditions and respond to inquiries from Inspector General Max Huntsman.
Villanueva’s attorney, Linda C. Miller Savitt, could not be immediately reached.
In a sworn declaration, Huntsman said Villanueva appeared virtually before him on Sept. 7, but that the sheriff said he was voluntarily appearing and refused to be sworn. An attorney for Villanueva also said Huntsman could tape-record the session, but that the sheriff would not consent to his testimony being transcribed by a court reporter, according to Huntsman.
Huntsman said he subsequently suspended the proceeding so that the county could seek the relief sought in the current petition.
In his court papers, Anand said the OIG issued a subpoena to Villanueva Feb. 25 to testify regarding the “important topic of deputy secret societies” in the Sheriff”s Department.
“Instead of complying with his obligation to submit to this valid exercise of the OIG’s subpoena authority, Sheriff Villanueva delayed for months with a baseless writ to quash the subpoena,” Anand wrote in his court papers.
After Judge James C. Chalfant dismissed Villanueva’s legal action on Aug. 12, the OIG demanded he appear and abide by the subpoena on the mutually agreed-upon Sept. 7 date, but the sheriff “insisted that he would appear only informally and voluntarily — not pursuant to the subpoena — and that he would not agree to be sworn by a certified reporter or to have his testimony transcribed,” Anand wrote in his court papers.
“By unjustifiably declining to provide under-oath transcribed testimony, even after his initial challenges to the subpoena were rejected, the sheriff continued to flout his legal obligation to submit to OIG oversight,” Anand wrote in his court papers.
Anand maintains Villanueva should have to comply with the full subpoena terms within two weeks of a court order directing him to do so.
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