L.A. prosecutor put on leave over questionable case sparked by election conspiracy theories
A Los Angeles prosecutor who has been on leave for several months for allegedly withholding evidence and interfering with witnesses has become a target of a political furor over election conspiracy theories and allegations of ethical misconduct that have swept through Republican ranks in recent days.
Derek Turner, the top prosecutor in California’s Central Bureau of Investigation, did not respond to a request for comment.
Prosecutors in the case were investigating the political activities of an actor who appeared in a now-infamous YouTube video, detailing a conspiracy involving a fake voter registration website that was launched in the California primary election in 2016 in an effort to help Donald Trump and undermine Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
The actor, James O’Keefe, used the video to claim that the site had been created in conjunction with the Republican Party to help boost Trump’s chances in the state. He sought donations to support the site and even sent out email alerts, warning that a fake registration on Hillary Clinton’s name appeared on the site.
The actor claimed in a recent television interview that he was investigating whether the party had been involved in the operation.
A California appellate court ruled on Tuesday that O’Keefe had no case against a prosecutor who had ordered the subpoena of him and his co-defendants and had ordered them to turn over emails, documents and other evidence related to the case.
“The state’s Attorney General should drop the criminal charges,” the court ruled, calling the case “baseless.”
State Sen. Tony Mendoza, D-Rialto, said in an interview on Tuesday that he will ask a judge to bar Turner from practicing before the state’s attorney general’s office for two to three years.
“The conduct has been so egregious and reckless and so bad that I don’t believe they can get away with it,