Richard Lee Abrams' editorial in CityWatch LA makes for some very compelling reading. Abrams argues that, regardless of City Attorney Trutanich being ethically unfit to be District Attorney, there are significant legal impediments to Trutanich being able to enforce laws as they relate to any misdeeds by his former clients. In plain language there is an inherent conflict of interest that would likely prevent a Trutanich-led District Attorney's Office from prosecuting Los Angeles City Councilmembers and appointed officials.
We reproduce the introduction to Abrams' editorial to hopefully encourage you to click the link and read it in full:
"The objective of this article is not to discuss the current City Attorney and his being a habitual liar and manufacturer of evidence and too unethical to state his job title correctly for the ballot. Nor, shall I opine whether it would take some type of mental disorder for the city attorney, whose main job is to advise the city and its personnel and defend them when charged with criminal wrong, to believe that his minor role in misdemeanor prosecutions would make him Los Angeles Chief Prosecutor. Those character traits are more appropriately discussed when calling for Carmen Trutanich’s resignation as City Attorney.
Skipping over the lies and frauds peculiar to Trutanich, there is a fundamental policy question whether the City Attorney – this City Attorney or any City Attorney – may ethically run for District Attorney."
It's a well-reasoned and well-researched analysis leading to the inevitable conclusion that those who care about stopping political corruption in Los Angeles from sliding even more towards Chicago politics, will not vote for Trutanich, and not just because they hate him.
A case of history repeating itself?
There is considerable support for Abrams' position. Not surprisingly, it comes from Trutanich's own record once he became City Attorney. One of the many promises Trutanich made when he was campaigning for City Attorney, was to establish a 'City Attorney Ethics Division.' It was to be modeled on the DA's Office Public Integrity Division, and would aggressively "prosecute misdemeanor ethics violations!" He used to say that, dramatically, finger pointing, as he waved around his ten-point plan to save the city, full of righteous indignation. It was a promise that resonated with the audiences at Neighborhood Council meetings, who were sick of the lack of enforcement regarding ethics violations.
Like all Trutanich's promises, it was broken. Only it wasn't broken because Trutanich did not want to be able to scare, threaten and prosecute politicians and appointed officials. He wanted those things desperately then, and wants them even more so now. A beefed up Public Integrity Division will be a key feature of his recycled ten-point plan to save the County of Los Angeles. Rumor has it that Trutanich has hinted that Special Assistant City Attorney Jane Usher will 'come over and join me at the DA's Office to oversee the Public Integrity Division; nobody knows more about the City of Los Angeles and where all the skeletons are buried than Jane,' he is understood to have said.
It's another promise that Trutanich believes will resonate with his 2009 city attorney supporters. He probably also hopes they will have long forgotten the 'City Attorney Ethics Division' that never came to be. It's another promise Trutanich cannot keep because the same ethical issues that prevented Trutanich from establishing a 'City Attorney Ethics Division,' will prevent him from doing anything meaningful about prosecuting corruption as DA. This is one of those rare occasions where one can actually say that 'Trutanich knows too much," because all that he and Usher have discovered about the way the City of Los Angeles works, will prevent them from prosecuting their former clients. Trutanich knows that now, but don't hold your breath waiting for him to tell you that; that's the other reason why he is unfit to be DA, as KABC 790AM talk show host Doug McIntyre put it at the height of Wednesday morning's rush hour, Trutanich is "truth challenged."