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latest news Garcetti gave ‘unintentionally mixed numbers’ on allegations involving adviser, rep says

As U.S. senators weigh the veracity of the sexual harassment allegations filed against former mayor’s adviser Eric Garcetti and the mayor’s handling of the alleged allegations, Garcetti twice misrepresented to reporters about the witnesses in the ‘affair.

Pressed by reporters about Senate concerns, Garcetti told two TV reporters on Thursday that 40 people “under oath” had failed to provide corroboration to support sexual harassment allegations against his former aide, Rick Jacobs. . The charges rocked Garcetti’s bid to become US ambassador to India and sparked an investigation by a Republican senator.

“I think it’s crystal clear,” Garcetti told Fox 11 News at a groundbreaking event for a senior community development in Pico-Robertson. “Forty people questioned under oath, who said there is no corroboration. This speaks for itself.

The mayor’s figure of 40 “is inaccurate,” said Greg Smith, attorney for Los Angeles Police Department officer Matthew Garza, a former member of Garcetti’s security department who is suing the city.

A total of 32 people testified under oath in Garza’s lawsuit, according to Rob Wilcox, a spokesman for the city attorney’s office. This figure includes Garza and Jacobs. At least seven of those witnesses, not including Garza and Jacobs, gave testimony that could support Garza’s claims, according to a Times review of depositions.

Garcetti made similar comments to Spectrum News 1 on Thursday, saying “40 people under oath made it clear.”

“It’s a matter of unintentionally mixed numbers,” said Dae Levine, Garcetti’s communications director, when asked about Garcetti’s statement.

She cited a report written for the city attorney’s office for the city’s defense in the Garza trial that also interviewed people. However, none of these people were questioned under oath.

Overall, most of those interviewed or deposed “including all members of the Security Service in addition to Constable Garza, provided information supporting the truth – which Mayor Garcetti never seen or was never made aware of inappropriate behavior,” Levine said.

Investigators from an outside law firm interviewed more than two dozen people, many of whom also testified in the trial, for a report concluding that Garza had not been sexually harassed and that Garcetti had nothing hurt. Garza’s attorney, Smith, said the report lacked credibility, in part because key people did not participate in the interviews.

The Senate is considering the various accounts of claims made by Jacobs, Garcetti and former staffers who accuse the former aide of misconduct. Garza sued the city in 2020, accusing Jacobs of subjecting him to rude comments and unwanted contact. Garza said some of the misconduct happened in front of Garcetti, but the mayor didn’t intervene.

Garcetti denied witnessing anything inappropriate, and Jacobs denied harassing Garza. In his own deposition, Jacobs said he could have hugged Garza and made sex jokes in front of the mayor’s security detail.

The Garza case has sparked further accusations and counterclaims about Jacobs among current and former Garcetti employees. Becca MacLaren, Garcetti’s speechwriter, disputed the account of another former Garcetti aide, Naomi Seligman, who alleges that Jacobs kissed her without her consent.

And Seligman said in her deposition that she complained about the kiss to Ana Guerrero, the mayor’s adviser. Guerrero denied that Seligman complained to her.

While Democrats have raised questions about the allegations, suggesting the mayoral nomination could be withdrawn, Garcetti said in interviews with Fox 11 and Spectrum that he expects to be confirmed by the Senate and that he did not consider retiring.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), who led an investigation into Garcetti, reiterated Thursday that he does not expect to make a decision on the investigation until the Senate returns from the suspension on April 25. .

“I have nothing against him being ambassador to India, but I have a responsibility when you get these sexual abuse and sexual harassment things — those are pretty serious charges,” Grassley said. “I wouldn’t be responsible if I wasn’t interested in it.”

A Grassley aide said there had been personnel-level contact between Garcetti’s and Grassley’s teams.

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), who is close to the White House, suggested that some of the senators who have expressed reservations about Garcetti’s nomination recently backed out of that claim.

“Several of [those senators] were subsequently made aware of a fairly thorough examination of the allegations [and] issues and removed their holds or concerns,” Coons said.

However, several senators who had previously publicly expressed concern about Garcetti’s appointment said Thursday that nothing had changed.

Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Arizona) has not heard from Garcetti or his team and said he still has concerns. Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) is “still considering it” and has yet to review the material on it.

Coons expressed concern that India still does not have an ambassador more than a year into Biden’s term and said he wants Garcetti to be confirmed soon.

“Appropriate, due and thorough attention was given to allegations of misconduct in his office by persons other than the candidate,” Coons said. “India is making major strategic choices with real consequences and we don’t have an ambassador.”

Haberkorn reported from Washington and Smith from Los Angeles.

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