A judge has ordered the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to “stop searching all seized computers” from the Metro Inspector General’s Office.
On Wednesday, delegates searched the Inspector General’s Office as part of a public corruption probe involving LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuhl.
Loyola law professor Jessica Levinson said: “I think what he’s saying is that the Sheriff’s Department needs to suspend part of the investigation.
Judge William Ryan’s order applies only to computers removed from the Inspector General’s office by Sheriff’s agents. Materials seized from the homes and offices of Mr. Kuhl and Peace Over Violence Executive Director Patti Gigans are not included. Gigans is also a member of the Sheriff’s Citizens Oversight Committee and a close friend of Cule.
Related: LA County Sheriff’s Deputy Searches Supervisor Sheila Cule’s Home
“I am pleased with Judge Ryan’s prompt halt to the search for the computer seized in Metro’s offices, and if the warrant for my home is reviewed, I am sure the Judge will find out how unsubstantiated it is. I hope that you will recognize the
Ryan has a hearing scheduled for next week and wants answers from the department. The sheriff and agent must justify how and why the warrant was secured, and why important details were not kept from Judge Craig Richman, who signed the warrant.
“There are two things that could be true for Sheila Cule,” Levinson said. “She could have been targeted politically. It could also be based on her affidavit. At least we have a possible reason to search her house.”
Kuehl said the investigation focused on the contract Metro gave the Peace Over Violence organization to operate a sexual harassment hotline. As a member of the Supervisory Board, Kuehl participates on Metro’s Board of Directors.
Kuhl repeatedly clashed with Sheriff Alex Villanueva, criticizing the department for “wrongful death and excessive force lawsuits that must be paid for with taxpayer money.”
“Today’s early morning raid is intended to intimidate and silence not only me, but many other public officials who work hard to rebuild trust between law enforcement and the community. It was a heinous attempt,” Kuhl said. statement released Wednesday afternoon.
The Sheriff’s Department said it could not comment during the ongoing investigation. Lawyers for both Kuehl and Giggans have not disclosed whether they will take legal action.