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Felony case against LA prosecutor spilled out of co-workers's boozy clash with cops: docs

Felony case against LA prosecutor spilled out of co-workers's boozy clash with cops: docs

The 11-count felony case alleging anti-police misconduct from Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon's top ethics officer stemmed from the drunken arrest of one of his most trusted confidants, who recorded himself clashing with officers and interrupting their investigation, according to court documents.

California Attorney General Robert Bonta announced the charges against Diana Teran in April.

According to an affidavit obtained by Fox News Digital, the case against her grew out of an investigation launched into the December 2021 arrest of Joseph Iniguez, who was Gascon's chief of staff at the time and has since been promoted to chief deputy district attorney.


Azusa police took Iniguez to jail after stopping his then-fiance in December 2021 for an alleged traffic violation and on suspicion of drunken driving. Earlier this week, Fox News Digital obtained video of the arrest – which showed him telling officers, "You've pulled over the wrong person, let me tell you."

According to a police report connected to the incident, Iniguez threatened to have the arresting officer placed on the "Brady list," although that exchange is not heard on the video.

The list is a database of officers who have been accused of wrongdoing and can be used by defense attorneys to discredit them in court.

Read the affidavit

In the clip recorded on his cellphone, Iniguez urged the officers to check his license plates, which could have revealed to them that he worked for the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office. He admitted to drinking at the wedding and repeatedly interrupted the officer as he attempted to question the driver. Also during the encounter, he urges his fiance not to speak with the officers, a potential violation of DA policy and state law.

Iniguez sued Azusa over his arrest, alleging a federal civil rights violation, and received a $10,000 settlement, described by critics as a "nuisance payment," last year.


On Tuesday, the Azusa Police Department said in a statement that its officers fully complied with state law and internal policies.

"City of Azusa and Chief [Rocky] Wenrick stand firmly behind our employees and the decisions made during [Iniguez's] arrest," the department said.

But while looking into Iniguez's alleged Brady threat, investigators say they found evidence against Teran.

"The investigation commenced after an LADA official who oversees the databases threatened to put a police officer in the LADA's Brady database after the officer had arrested him for disrupting a December 2021 traffic stop investigation of his fiance," the affidavit reads. "Our investigation of that official led to the conduct of Diana Maria Teran, who was an LADA special advisor with constructive responsibility for the Brady and ORWITS databases at the LADA."


According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, Brady material covers criminal convictions, false statements and administration investigations involving dishonesty or "serious misconduct" against law enforcement officers. The Officer and Recurrent Witness Information Tracking System (ORWITS) is a similar but separate database with less vetting.

Before joining Gascon's office, Teran worked in oversight for the sheriff's department and had access to more than 1,600 confidential files on members of law enforcement, as well as documents related to internal affairs investigations.

She left the sheriff's department in 2018, but after joining Gascon's office in 2021, allegedly continued to use material from those files, which she is now accused of illegally taking and accessing.

"Teran repeatedly used data from those LASD personnel files and internal emails and documents in a surreptitious attempt to add peace officer names to LADA's Brady and ORWITS databases."

Teran's defense attorney has said he believes she will beat the state's charges.

Iniguez has not been charged or accused of wrongdoing in connection with the case against Teran.

"No one is above the law," said Bonta, a Democrat, in a press release announcing the charges against Teran. "Public officials are called to serve the people and the State of California with integrity and honesty. At the California Department of Justice, we will continue to fight for the people of California and hold those who break the law accountable."

Gascon previously defended his Brady policy and said he would cooperate with state investigators.

"When I took office, we developed a protocol that ensured we complied with our constitutional obligations under Brady, which requires us to turn over potentially exculpatory evidence to the defense, a category that includes law enforcement’s prior misconduct, while simultaneously complying with state and federal law around privacy," he said. "I stand by that protocol."

His office deferred questions on the Iniguez incident to his private attorney.

Iniguez's fiance, who was driving the car before the stop, was handcuffed but not charged, and authorities later dropped the public intoxication case against Iniguez.

He also came under fire in recent weeks after the district attorney's office said it would remove the two lead prosecutors on a child murder trial from the case before sentencing over an apparent conflict of interest – involving Teran. He later backtracked, and they remained on the case after it was transferred to a unit Teran had no connection to.

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