Court papers accuse Carmen Trutanich, aka 'Carmen the Clown,' LA's city attorney, of using 'extortion' to force litigants to pay up million dollar settlements in civil lawsuits prosecuted by him, rather than go to jail in criminal cases also prosecuted by him.
The Los Angeles Dragnet reported on the story that first appeared in the Met News - Century City law firm Salerno & Associates have accused Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Truttanich of 'extortion.'
In a 17-page motion, Salerno & Associates attorney Stephen Morgan (no relation) describes how Trutanich used the threat of jail to 'extort' multi million dollar settlements in violation of the 'Rules of Professional Conduct' and standards set by the Supreme Court.
The Los Angeles Dragnet described Trutanich's well documented history of using threats of jail in other cases, notably when Trutanich accused AEG of 'criminal aspects' to their handling of the Michael Jackson memorial at Staples Center, and when Trutanich threatened to arrest Councilmember Jan Perry over her decision to allow AEG to have billboards at their Regency Cinema complex at LA Live.
Trutanich recently received the Innovations in Criminal Justice award in Chicago, that bastion of ethical standards, raising the question whether they knew and/or would have approved of the 'innovative' way Trutanich appears to settle cases.
A full evidentiary hearing has been requested by Morgan on behalf of his client. According the the Dragnet, Trutanich has not implemented any protocols, procedures or policies to avoid the obvious conflict of interest where one agency pursues civil and criminal cases simultaneously. A finding that Trutanich has breached ethical standards by not separating civil cases and criminal prosecutions could result in the City Attorney's office being disqualified from those cases.
Morgan's motion to disqualify Trutanich for 'extortion' is set for hearing at 8:30AM on Thursday, October 20, 2011 in Department 72 of the Los Angeles Superior Court at 1945 South Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007. It is likely to be a crowded courtroom with many other groups complaining of Trutanich's 'innovative' tactics.
Full story at the Los Angeles Dragnet.