20 Nov Westside Current: Prosecutor Sues Gascon Alleging Retaliation Over Villanueva Campaign Information
GASCON SUED AGAIN!
The Los Angeles County deputy D.A. files the latest in a series of employment lawsuits against Gascon. It’s not surprising, considering more than 97% of LA prosecutors support his recall. When I’m DA, I will work with prosecutors as partners – not against them.
Prosecutor Sues Gascon Alleging Retaliation Over Villanueva Campaign Information
LOS ANGELES | November 23, 2023 – Another veteran Los Angeles County prosecutor is suing her employer concerning the actions of District Attorney George Gascón, in this case for opposing the alleged withholding of a decision to not file charges in a highly publicized use-of-force case in order to impact former Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s re-election bid.
Deputy District Attorney Amy Pellman Pentz’s Los Angeles Superior Court retaliation suit was filed Friday and seeks unspecified damages. A representative for the District Attorney’s Office did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
A meeting was held about the use-of-force case in October 2022 and was attended by Pentz, Gascón, Teran and Yochelson, who told the plaintiff to not speak during the session, according to the suit.
Teran said she and another administrator wanted the decision to not file charges held until after the elections and Gascón was in agreement, the suit states.
After the meeting, Pentz told Yochelson that the refusal to release the decision in order to impact the elections “was unlawful or used words to that effect,” according to the suit.
Villanueva eventually found out that the decision was being withheld and chastised Gascón for doing so, the suit states.
“Gascón and other high-ranking officials in the District Attorney’s Office believed that plaintiff was the person that disclosed to Sheriff Villanueva that the declination had been withheld,” according to the suit, which further states that Pentz was removed from her position in November 2022, the same month in which Villanueva was defeated by former Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna, described in the suit as a “close ally” of Gascón.
In testimony in January 2023 before the Los Angeles County Civil Service Commission, Pentz contradicted Teran’s testimony that no one in the District Attorney’s Office had applied for an open integrity unit position, with the plaintiff stating that multiple prosecutors had indeed applied.
After her commission testimony, Pentz was offered a position on the Equity Action Team as a representative for the Jewish community. Pentz was a founding member of the Jewish Prosecutor’s Association.
However, after attending her first meeting with EAT, Pentz was removed by Chief Deputy Sharon Woo “under the pretext that there were too many lawyers” on the team, the suit alleges.
Multiple other prosecutors have also sued the county over the alleged retaliation they experienced for speaking out against Gascón’s criminal justice reform directives.