Lawyers press for investigation of DA, staff

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Lawyers press for investigation of DA, staff By Mark Abramson – Staff Writer 5/28/04 Lawyers for Solvang attorney Gary Dunlap are pressing federal, state, and county officials to investigate Santa Barbara County District Attorney Tom Sneddon and members of his staff for alleged misconduct. Dunlap’s Burbank attorney, Joe Freeman, sent a scathing 3-page letter to the California Attorney General’s Office, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles, the California State Bar, the Santa Barbara County Counsel and grand jury, and others, that blasted Sneddon’s and some of his subordinates’ conduct. The letter was sent May 24, about two weeks after a federal judge upheld the bulk of Dunlap’s complaint against Sneddon, the county, and several officials in the district attorney’s office. The judge’s action cleared the way for Dunlap to file a lawsuit against the county and Sneddon if a settlement is not reached. U.S. Attorney’s Office officials could not be reached for comment. The request is being reviewed by the California Attorney General’s Office, a spokesperson said. Dunlap filed a complaint against the county seeking $10 million in damages after his acquittal last June on six charges, including perjury, witness intimidation, filing false documents and preparing false documents. The charges were filed in connection to a criminal case in which Dunlap was the defense attorney. Dunlap claims he was set up by the district attorney’s office and that the district attorney’s office illegally taped conversations between him and his client. “In my opinion, the matters to be investigated are the possible criminal violations of several felony and misdemeanor statutes, including conspiracy, illegal taping, deceiving a court and a prosecutor illegally assisting the defense of a case,” Freeman wrote. “I respectfully request that the U.S. Attorney, the California Attorney General, the Santa Barbara County Grand Jury and the State Bar open investigations and seek whatever sanctions are found to be warranted against Sneddon and his staff.” The complaint against the county named Assistant District Attorney Christie Schultz-Stanley; Deputy District Attorneys Kevin Duffy, Jerry McBeth, Gerald Franklin, John T. McKinnon, Josh Webb; and District Attorney Investigators Mary Brizzolara and Tim Rooney. “I don’t think it has any merit,” Jake Stoddard, a county counsel attorney handling the case, said Thursday about the letter. “In (Dunlap’s) criminal trial, he alleged outrageous government misconduct and it was denied.” Stoddard said Sneddon and his employees are immune from legal action on the basis of such allegations because they are prosecutors. :nav Source:

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