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‘Game of Thrones’ actor sues LAPD over false pedophile case

Actor Joseph Gatt has appeared in numerous films and television shows, including “Game of Thrones” and Disney’s live-action film “Dumbo.” But in the early hours of April 6, 2022, police officers and detectives invaded his home and arrested him.

In the days that followed, his face was attached to a Los Angeles Police Department press release asking the public for help in finding “other victims,” ​​announcing that Gatt had been arrested because he was suspected of communicating with a minor in a sexually explicit manner.

But over the next year, the case against him collapsed.

On Thursday, Gatt sued Los Angeles County, Dist. Atty. George Gascón, the city of Los Angeles, and the investigators who built the flawed case against him.

Prosecutors dropped all charges against the 52-year-old British actor in February.

When his case was dismissed, Gatt said on Instagram that he and his team were prepared to present “overwhelming evidence” to the court showing that the accuser had fabricated evidence, that the search of his home was “unlawful” and that the case was tainted by prosecutorial misconduct.

He wrote to Gascón: “I hope you will read this. »

“This is happening on your watch, right now,” Gatt said. “I voted for you and I still believe you are the best candidate, but this is exactly the kind of corruption you promised to eradicate.”

Venusse Dunn, a spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office, said the case was dismissed because of “valid concerns about the sufficiency of the evidence.” She did not respond to additional questions about the Gatt investigation. The case was dismissed “in the interests of justice” on Feb. 9, according to court records, the same day a preliminary hearing was scheduled at which Gatt could have presented his allegations in open court.

Gatt’s lawsuit alleges that prosecutors and police failed to thoroughly investigate the allegations against him, including failing to conduct a forensic analysis of the victim’s phone or even interview him until that the actor was arrested and subjected to public scrutiny on the charges.

The lead prosecutor on the case, Angela Brunson, “resigned” from the DA’s office shortly before the case was dismissed, according to the lawsuit. Court records now show she works for the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office. She did not respond to an email request for comment.

A senior source in Gascón’s office, who requested anonymity because she was not authorized to discuss the matter with the media, said the trial had triggered an internal review of how the matter had been handled. The source said she “wouldn’t be surprised” if Gatt’s allegations were true.

Prosecutors based their case on allegations made by a young girl from Kent, Washington, who Gatt called an obsessed fan. The girl’s older sister found fake Snapchat conversations on the girl’s phone about a year before Gatt’s arrest and took photos of the conversations with her phone, according to Gatt’s 38-page federal lawsuit. in the Central District of California.

The older sister uploaded the photos to Google Drive and sent a link to the Kent Police Department. The older sister also uploaded two images of men who were not wearing clothes, but their genitals and faces were not shown, Gatt said.

The men in the photos were not Gatt, according to his complaint, but the images were taken by a second phone, removing the ability to verify the data through the actual photos.

When police raided Gatt’s Beverly Grove home, they took away a purple blanket that could be seen in images the actor had shared on his social media accounts. One of the images taken during Snapchat conversations on the girl’s phone showed a faceless man lying on a purple blanket, which resembled the one in Gatt’s house, but was not unique, according to the complaint.

The Snapchat conversations sent to police appeared to be snippets of the same conversations but with different responses. One of them allegedly showed Gatt a writing according to which he and his partner had an arrangement which allowed him to maintain other relationships. Other screenshots show the same questions but with different answers, as if someone was trying different answers with software.

“This conversation never happened; Jane Doe created it from scratch,” Gatt said.

When Kent Police attempted to contact the 16-year-old, her older sister responded by email that “no further help was needed”.

Police noted in that case that they “did not find probable cause of a crime regarding the messages,” according to the lawsuit.

A month later, the young girl agreed to an interview with investigators in the presence of her brother-in-law. She admitted to police that she had a crush on Gatt and claimed Gatt engaged in sexually explicit conversations that turned out to be false, Gatt said.

Calls and emails to the Kent Police Department were not immediately returned Friday. The LAPD declined to comment due to the ongoing lawsuit.

Kent police referred the case to Los Angeles police, where it eventually was presented to the district attorney’s office and Brunson took over. Gatt claims the prosecutor has “bias and personal animosity” against him, but he did not elaborate on the nature of that bias in his trial.

Following his arrest, Gatt’s agent and the public relations firm that represented him dropped him as a client. He lost acting roles and scenes he had already filmed for two other film projects were cut or reshot with different actors, according to Gatt.

He no longer received new job offers, was forced to sell his car and received death threats, according to the lawsuit.

His lawsuit goes beyond blaming law enforcement for labeling him a “serial pedophile without any evidence or probable cause” and accuses police and prosecutors of violations of basic practices and lack of due diligence .

“These accusations stem entirely from the unverified story of Jane Doe, a then-16-year-old girl whom Gatt did not know and never actually met, and whom (investigators) did not even bother to to question or even remotely assess credibility until almost a year after arresting Gatt and prosecuting him,” the lawsuit states.

Gatt is seeking more than $40 million in damages.

California Daily Newspapers

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