Alameda County DA To Investigate Attorney General’s Office

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Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley received a letter today from Attorney General Jerry Brown asking her to investigate covert recordings of conversations with news reporters made by a former Brown spokesman.

Brown’s office first told the district attorney by phone Friday that it would ask for the investigation and confirmed that request today in the letter, O’Malley said.

"We just got the letter today, so we’ll be looking into it," O’Malley said.

The Alameda County office is getting involved because former Brown communications director Scott Gerber is believed to have made some of the recordings from the attorney general’s Oakland offices, O’Malley said.

The attorney general’s office released the results of its own internal investigation by Chief Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division Dane Gillette last week, which found that Gerber had disobeyed orders not to record conversations with reporters but had not violated state penal code section 632, which prohibits recording or eavesdropping on confidential communication without consent. Gerber resigned after news broke about the recordings.

A violation of section 632 can bring a fine of up to $2,500 and a prison sentence of up to a year.

In the letter, Brown wrote, "While I fully stand by Gillette’s investigation and report, I would welcome a review by your office."

O’Malley said she expected to receive Gillette’s report as well as texts of e-mails, transcripts of conversations and other material released by the attorney general’s office last week as part of a Public Records Act request filed by news media and other parties.

"We’ll start from there," O’Malley said.

The issue has become fodder for political squabbling since Brown is expected to run for the Democratic nomination for governor. All three Republican candidates have demanded an independent investigation into the matter as have the California Republican Party, the California Republican Lawyers Association and the advocacy group Consumer Watchdog.

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