Unethical Commission President
OCTOBER 17, 2006
The president of a major city’s Ethics Commission, who also happens to be the District Attorney that lost the OJ Simpson double murder trial, is blaming his wife for violating the very campaign finance laws his commission enforces.
Former Los Angeles County District Attorney Gil Garcetti, vowed to fight city campaign finance and lobbying corruption when he was appointed to a five-year term on the Los Angeles Ethics Commission in 2002 and now he is in trouble for improperly contributing to a political campaign.
Garcetti made the contribution to his son’s City Council campaign, which violates a law prohibiting Ethics Commissioners from making campaign donations to any person running for city office. This is because commissioners oversee and recommend changes in city campaign finance and lobbying laws and they judge officials accused of violating those regulations.
Like a good politician, Garcetti quickly came up with a creative defense for his unethical actions. He blamed his wife for writing a check to his son’s campaign, saying “it was the power of my wife saying sign here.” Garcetti has such blind faith in his wife, that he signed the check without noticing who it was made out to.
This may be a case of local city politics, but Garcetti is nationally known for his role in tanking the lengthy and costly 1995 Simpson double murder trial by, among other things, changing the venue of the trial which in turn drastically changed the jury pool. The standard practice in Los Angeles County is to file a case in the superior court of the judicial district in which the crime occurred, which in this case was affluent Santa Monica.
Instead, Garcetti filed the case in downtown Los Angeles and the mostly African American jury acquitted Simpson of the gruesome murders. Of course, Garcetti blamed the jurors, saying it was an emotional trial and the jury’s decision was “based on emotion and not reason.”
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