Pages

Saturday, June 1, 2013

FBI Probes Trutanich, Baca over Fundraising, Wiretaps Used

The LA Times has confirmed rumors that were received by the Dragnet that Carmen 'Nuch' Trutanich and 'longtime supporter' Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca are being investigated by the FBI over potentially illegal fundraising activities during which deputy sheriffs were 'ordered' to collect campaign contributions for Trutanich's Hindenburg-like campaign for District Attorney.

The LA Times broke the fundraising scandal entangling Trutanich and 'longtime supporter'
Sheriff Lee Baca. (LA Times article enhanced with a photo of Trutanich and Baca from Nuch.13.com)

In our recent review of 'winners and losers' in the 2013 City Elections, we listed Sheriff Baca as a 'loser' for his support for the failed incumbent City Attorney Trutanich, noting that "to this day nobody fully understands why Baca is so entrenched in his support for Trutanich. He spearheaded the pathetically false 'Draft Trutanich for DA' movement, got himself in trouble for breaking the law by endorsing Trutanich in his uniform, and raised a ton of cash for Trutanich - which might also get him in trouble if rumors are correct..."

May 26, 2013: The Dragnet hinted that Trutanich and Baca were under investigation for 'raising a ton of cash.'
The rumors were correct, and the Dragnet can now reveal that the FBI investigation into Trutanich and Baca was ongoing long before the May 21, 2013 election where Trutanich was rejected by voters in an historic defeat.

The FBI had received information from Deputy Tamayo, assigned the Lost Hills Sheriff's Station (Malibu area), that he had been ordered to obtain donations for Trutanich from local businessmen and wealthy residents. It is understood that Tamayo was not the only deputy sheriff involved in the fundraising scandal. The Malibu Times reported that as many as twelve other deputies were 'ordered' to shake down the wealthy for donations in the form of 'tickets' to a fundraiser attended by Trutanich. Each deputy was expected to sell 10 tickets, Tamayo told the Times, stating that the order "came down through the chain of command from Sheriff Lee Baca — an allegation his spokesman denied." The Times reported.
 
One thing the Times makes clear is that Trutanich was "targeted" by the FBI in their investigation.

The FBI instructed Deputy Tamayo to specifically mention Trutanich.
Tamayo stated that in the course of the FBI investigation he wore a wiretap and was monitored by FBI Agents who communicated with him by text messages. Tamayo provided the Times with the text messages where his handlers 'coached' him to "mention Trutanich and to bring up the difference between the truth and staying loyal." Seemingly, Tamayo followed his prompts from the FBI handler and obtained the necessary information. "You're doing fine," one message from the FBI handler says, another says "OK when you have a chance turn everything off, we'll meet you at iHop," indicating that Tamayo had recorded the conversations necessary for the investigation.

Intriguingly, it seems the FBI had realized that an issue central to Trutanich's candidacy for District Attorney was the apparent conflict between "the truth" and "staying loyal." The implication being that "the truth" about Trutanich (presumably his being utterly unfit for District Attorney) was irrelevant, and that "loyalty" was more important. Presumably the reference to loyalty refers to Sheriff Baca's support for Trutanich.

As mentioned in both the LA Times and Malibu Times articles, Sheriff Baca previously broke state law in connection with Trutanich when he appeared "in uniform" offering his endorsement of Trutanich during the 2012 campaign for District Attorney.



Trutanich quickly edited out the endorsement from his much hailed 'viral' YouTube campaign video which was subsequently removed from YouTube for violating their deceptive content policy. Trutanich also removed the endorsement from his DA campaign website, which was also promptly shut down following his humiliating defeat. 

While Trutanich has pretty much sealed his own fate in terms of his political future, Sheriff Baca is understood to be campaigning for reelection as Los Angeles County Sheriff in 2014. Those who have announced an interest in opposing Baca will likely exploit the scandal over the fundraising issue, and should the FBI investigation yield criminal charges, Baca may well find himself in the same situation as Trutanich.

The latest scandal concerning Trutanich may cause his successor, City Attorney elect Mike Feuer to reconsider Trutanich's offer to help with the transition of administration. The LA Times had reported that after conceding defeat, 'Trutanich telephoned Feuer after conceding and offered to help with the transition to a new administration. Feuer said Wednesday he was "very grateful" for the offer. "He'll play an integral role in the transition," Feuer said.' Trutanich, of course, may have his own reasons for wanting to 'help' with the transition and given the shocking revelations in the Times, Feuer might do better without 'help' from Trutanich. As Sheriff Baca now must realize, association with Trutanich comes at a very heavy price.

.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Was Trutanich interviewed by the Times about this? I couldn't find anything in the article that mentions him being asked whether he was even aware that deputies were getting donations for him. This is exactly the kind of smear campaign that you accused him of doing. I guess when it suits you that's ok. Hypocrite.

Anonymous said...

This story is more about Baca than Trutanich. It looks like you've decided to carry on the Dragnet and drag Baca down the same path as Trutanich. Good!

Panagiotis Theodoropoulos said...

No surprise at all about the FBI probe. They are probably shredding documents as we speak....

Anonymous said...

Breaking News Dragnet. Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell will announce that he IS running to be LA County's next Sheriff. Wonder if he reads the Dragnet?

crusader rabbit said...

@11.11am So Dragnet means dragging politicians down? I thought so. Jack Webb would be disgusted at the way you have abused the fine name and reputation of Joe Friday. I have written to Mark VI productions suggesting that they shut you down.

Anonymous said...

Go Dragnet, go!! I love you!