Archive for the ‘ Tony Rackauckas ’ Category

The Mercury News: New document revealed in California jail informants probe

Orange County Sheriff

Associated Press
Posted:     06/11/2016 – 11:47:28 PM PDT
Updated: 06/11/2016 – 11:48:01 PM PDT

SANTA ANA — Authorities in Orange County have acknowledged an extensive log detailing the handling of jailhouse informants was kept by sheriff’s deputies but never released despite court hearings last year over the use of snitches in the high-profile case of a mass killer.

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Scales of Justice

Tony Saavedra / Staff Writer
June 9, 2016 – Updated 10:49 p.m.

Secret notes kept by Orange County sheriff’s deputies on jailhouse informants appear to contradict testimony given by deputies during legal hearings for confessed Seal Beach mass murderer Scott Dekraai, prosecutors said late Thursday.

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The Orange County Register: Rackauckas, Spitzer feud heats up over robocall

Todd Spitzer+Tony Rackauckas

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas held a press conference inside where he accused Supervisor Todd Spitzer of impersonating an OCDA assistant district attorney. Rackauckas said Spitzer failed to identify himself as a ‘former’ assistant district attorney in an automated call supporting Measure A that went out to voters last week. (Jeff Gritchen / Staff Photographer)

By Sean Emery / Staff Writer
May 31, 2016 – Updated 11:03 p.m.

SANTA ANA – A dispute over a robocall urging voters to support a local ethics commission had Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas and an Orange County supervisor on Tuesday accusing each other of wrongdoing.

The insults continued a yearslong feud between the two.

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Orange County District Attorney

By Tony Saavedra / Staff Writer
Published: May 9, 2016
Updated:   May 10, 2016 7:39 a.m.

Convicted double murderer Henry Rodriguez was released on bail Monday after 18 years in prison, another felony case upended because of questions related to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office’s use of jailhouse informants.

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James Crawford Beating Photo

Attorney James Crawford was injured in a fight with an Orange County district attorney’s investigator at a Santa Ana courthouse. (Courtesy of Jerry Steering)

Christopher Goffard
March 15, 2016

Attorneys for a man accused in a Lake Forest assault have asked that the Orange County district attorney’s office be thrown off the case, citing “a pattern of intimidation” against defense witnesses — most recently when one of the district attorney’s investigators bloodied an attorney in a courthouse hallway.

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Defense attorney James Crawford, who recently won a victory in a court case connected to the ongoing informant scandal, said he was attacked by a District Attorney’s investigator.

Defense attorney James Crawford, who recently won a victory in a court case connected to the ongoing informant scandal, said he was attacked by a District Attorney’s investigator on Wednesday. (Courtesy of Jerry Steering)

By Sean Emery, Tony Saavedra and Scott Schwebke / Staff Writers
March 11, 2016 – Updated 8:04 a.m.

SANTA ANA – An Orange County defense attorney on Thursday launched an online petition calling for the arrest of a district attorney’s investigator involved in a courthouse altercation with Orange lawyer James Crawford.

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James Crawford Beating Photo

Attorney James Crawford shown after an alleged fight Wednesday involving an Orange County district attorney’s investigator at a Santa Ana courthouse. (Courtesy of Jerry Steering)

Richard Winton
March 9, 2016

The 10th floor of a Santa Ana courthouse was the site of a bloody brawl Wednesday between a defense attorney and an investigator from the Orange County district attorney’s office, authorities said.

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ACLU

By Tony Saavedra and Scott Schwebke / Staff writers
March 4, 2016 – Updated 6:08 p.m.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California jumped into the Orange County fight over jailhouse informants on Friday, filing a public records request seeking access to internal law enforcement files dating back to 1985.

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Surrounded by staff, Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, center, listens as The Orange County Board of Supervisors meets with Robert Gerard and other authors of the Orange County District Attorney Informant Policies & Practices Evaluation Committee Report at The Orange County Hall of Administration in Santa Ana on Tuesday. ///ADDITIONAL INFO: boardsnitchreport.0113 - 1/12/16 - PHOTO BY JOSHUA SUDOCK, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER - The Orange County Board of Supervisors meets with Robert Gerard and other authors of the Orange County District Attorney Informant Policies & Practices Evaluation Committee Report during their regular meeting at The Orange County Hall of Administration in Santa Ana on Tuesday. Picture made at The Orange County Hall of Administration in Santa Ana, California, on Tuesday, January 12, 2016.

Surrounded by staff, Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, center, listens as The Orange County Board of Supervisors meets with Robert Gerard and other authors of the Orange County District Attorney Informant Policies & Practices Evaluation Committee Report at The Orange County Hall of Administration in Santa Ana on Tuesday. Joshua Sudock ?Staff Photographer)

By Meghann M. Cuniff / Staff Writer
Updated Jan. 13, 2016 8:34 a.m.

The Orange County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday told the district attorney and sheriff to estimate how much it will cost to implement an outside legal committee’s reform recommendations in the wake of the county’s jailhouse informant controversy.

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Tony Rackauckas

Orange County Dist. Atty Tony Rackauckas created a special committee in July amid mounting criticism about the use of jailhouse informants by his office. (Los Angeles Times)

Matt Hamilton and James Queally
December 4, 2015

A “failure of leadership” at the Orange County district attorney’s office led to repeated problems with the handling of jailhouse informants and helped erode confidence in criminal cases that rely on their testimony, according to a report made public Monday.

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Unnamed_CCI_EPS

Dec. 31, 2015 – Updated 8:59 a.m.

About this story: This report was written by Edward Humes, the author of 13 nonfiction books and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for his Orange County Register coverage of the military. The story is based on extensive reporting by the Register’s staff, including Tony Saavedra, David Ferrell, Kelly Puente, Tom Berg and Ian Wheeler, previously published stories and legal documents obtained by the newspaper since the arrest of Scott Dekraai after the worst mass shooting in Orange County history. Illustrations were drawn by Jeff Goertzen.

Read more at the Register’s ‘Inside the Snitch Tank’ site

Prologue

On his last day of freedom, Scott Dekraai spoke on the phone with his ex-wife. Let’s meet for coffee, he suggested.

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During his opening statements in the People v. Ramos and Cicinelli trial, Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas wields a police baton, demonstrating how he believes Fullerton police officer Manuel Ramos threatened Kelly Thomas. ////ADDITIONAL INFO: kelly.thomas.120213 - Day: Monday - Date: 12/2/13 - Time: 10:17:38 AM - Original file name DSC_0409.NEF PHOTO BY, BRUCE CHAMBERS, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER - SANTA ANA - A history-making trial starts Monday for two ex-Fullerton police officers accused in the beating death of a mentally ill, homeless man. At stake will be the freedom of former officers Manuel Ramos, 39, and Jay Cicinelli, 42, who are charged with fatally beating Kelly Thomas, 37, a schizophrenic transient, during an encounter captured by a surveillance camera at the Fullerton Transportation Center on July 5, 2011. Thomas died five later when he was removed from life support, Ramos, 39, is charged with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter – the first time in Orange County history that a uniformed police officer has been charged with murder for an on-duty incident. Cicinelli, 41, is charged with involuntary manslaughter and assault and battery under color of authority. The trial before Superior Court Judge William Froeberg could take about six weeks.The prosecution is led by Tony Rackauckas, Orange County's district attorney since 1999, the first time in more than a dozen years that he's personally handled a trial in the courtroom. John Barnett, perhaps the county's best-known defense attorney, is representing Ramos. Michael Schwartz, who specializes in defending police officers, is representing Cicinelli.

During his opening statements in the People v. Ramos and Cicinelli, District Attorney Tony Rackauckas wielded a police baton to demonstrate how he believed Fullerton Officer Manuel Ramos threatened Kelly Thomas in 2011. (Bruce Chambers / File)

By David Ferrell and Tony Saavedra
December 27, 2015 – Updated 12:33 p.m.

Tough, street-smart Tony Rackauckas, who left gang-marred East Los Angeles to jump from the sky as a U.S. Army paratrooper, has spent the better part of his legal career in one battle or another.

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Orange County District Attorney

By Tony Saavedra / Staff Writer
Nov. 19, 2015
Updated Nov. 22, 2015 – 3:56 a.m.

The Orange County District Attorney’s Office on Thursday blasted a letter by more than three dozen former prosecutors and legal heavy-hitters calling for a federal investigation into the use of jailhouse informants as ill-timed and ill informed.

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Voice of OC: Legal Heavyweights Call for Federal Probe of Orange County DA

Orange County District Attorney

By Rex Dalton
November 18, 2015 at 2:00 PM

A coalition of national legal authorities is calling for a federal investigation of the Orange County District Attorney and Sheriff’s Department for alleged systemic violations of defendants’ rights involving jail informants.

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Orange County District Attorney

Sept. 30, 2015 – Updated 11:18 p.m.

ORANGE – A top official for the Orange County District Attorney’s Office had a one-word response Wednesday to widespread accusations that local prosecutors illegally use jailhouse informants and withhold evidence beneficial to the defense: “baloney.”

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Judge Thomas Goethals speaks to an attorney in his courtroom in superior court in Santa Ana. ///ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:   JudgeGoethal – 06/19/15 – MARK RIGHTMIRE, THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

Judge Thomas Goethals handed the case to the California Attorney General’s Office, which is appealing on the grounds that the sheriff’s department — which oversees the jails and snitches — committed misconduct, not the district attorney’s office. (Mark Rightmire / File Photo)

By Tony Saavedra / Staff Writer
July 22, 2015
Updated July 23, 2015 10:32 a.m.

Related stories

The U.S. Department of Justice is looking at the jailhouse informant scandal in Orange County, a move that could lead to a federal takeover of the District Attorney’s Office.

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InlandPolitics: Orange County: When politics corrupts the justice system

scales-of-justice

Monday, June 1, 2015 – 8:45 a.m.

In America, politics can and does infiltrate the justice system. It happens more than people realize.

Right now Orange County, California is front and center.

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Tony Rackauckas

DA Tony Rackuackas flanked by staffers Susan Kang Schroeder and Scott Simmons

By R. Scott Moxley
Mon. Jun. 1 2015 at 3:00 AM

All prayers inside the Orange County district attorney’s office (OCDA) that their 16-month jailhouse informant scandal would quietly disappear as just another empty, partisan controversy likely ended on May 31 thanks to veteran journalist Kevin D. Williamson, a frequent guest on Fox News, CNBC, MSNBC and NPR.

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National Review: When District Attorneys Attack

National Review

by Kevin D. Williamson
May 31, 2015 4:00 AM
@kevinNR

The GOP should turn its attention to prosecutorial misconduct.

As the old Vulcan proverb has it, “Only Nixon can go to China.” And only Nixon’s political heirs can fix the persistent — and terrifying — problems that continue to plague this country’s law-enforcement agencies and prosecutors’ offices.

Exhibit A: Orange County, California.

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Orange County District Attorney

By Shaun King
Friday, May 29, 2015 at 11:26 AM PDT

Between San Diego and Los Angeles is Orange County, California. With more than 3 million residents, it’s larger than 21 states. If Orange County were a separate country, its economy would be the 45th largest in the world. Now known for Disneyland, the county may soon be known for having one of the most corrupt justice systems in the world. The width and depth and duration of the corruption truly boggles the mind. A case that should’ve been open and shut has blown the lid off some deep secrets.

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Voice of OC: State Watchdog to Fine Pulido $13,000 Over Property Swap

Tony Rackauckas+Miguel Pulido

Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido (Right) and Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas.

By Adam Elmahrek
May 11, 2015 at 2:53 PM

Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido has agreed to pay $13,000 in fines to the state’s political watchdog for several violations of state law related to a real estate deal he conducted with a city contractor.

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Tony Rackauckas+Miguel Pulido

District Attorney Tony Rackauckas and Mayor Pulido sit together at the mayor’s table at the state of the city address in June. (Photo by: Adam Elmahrek/Voice of OC).

By Adam Elmahrek
April 15, 2015 at 7:28 AM

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas will be clearing Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido of any criminal wrongdoing related to a property swap between the mayor and a city contractor, according to sources with knowledge of the decision.

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Voice of OC: State AG Will Investigate Alleged DA Misconduct in Dekraai Case

California Department of Justice

By REX DALTON
March 20, 2015 at 5:41 PM

The state Attorney General’s Office announced today it will conduct “an independent investigation” of alleged misconduct by Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackaukas’ office in the prosecution of mass murderer Scott Evans Dekraai.

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Tony Rackauckas

O.C. Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas’ office has been removed from the Seal Beach murder case. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

By Christopher Goffard
March 20, 2015

For 3 1/2 years, Paul Wilson has waited for his wife’s killer to face trial, a wait protracted by lengthy evidentiary hearings probing the mishandling of the case by authorities.

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Tony Rackauckas

District Attorney Tony Rackauckas interviews a witness during the preliminary hearing into Kelly Thomas’ death in 2012. (FILE: Joshua Sudock, Staff Photographer)

March 16, 2015
Updated March 17, 2015 8:23 a.m.
By Tony Saavedra, Kelly Puente and Tom Berg / Staff Writers

One thing about District Attorney Tony Rackauckas: He’s a street fighter who can take a punch.

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Tony Rackaukas

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said it’s clear that deputies’ testimony was “inconsistent” with statements they made in previous hearings. (SAM GANGWER, FILE PHOTO)

March 14, 2015
Updated March 15, 2015 – 8:22 a.m.
BY KELLY PUENTE / STAFF WRITER

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas conceded Saturday his office made mistakes prosecuting the county’s deadliest killer, but disagrees with a judge’s decision to remove the agency from the case.

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Los Angeles Times: O.C. prosecutors steering cases away from Judge Thomas Goethals

Thomas Goethals

Orange County Superior Court Judge Thomas Goethals has been the focus of 57 disqualification requests from prosecutors since February 2014. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

By Christopher Goffard
March 13, 2015

For years, Thomas Goethals has weighed the fates of some of Orange County’s most violent criminals. But since the judge began presiding over heated hearings probing the misuse of jailhouse informants, dozens of prosecutors have steered criminal cases away from his courtroom.

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LATimes: Orange County D.A. is removed from Scott Dekraai murder trial

Orange County District Attorney

By Christopher Goffard
March 12, 2015

In a stinging rebuke, a criminal court judge removed the Orange County district attorney’s office from one of its highest-profile murder cases, saying prosecutors had violated mass shooter Scott Dekraai’s rights by repeatedly failing to turn over important evidence.

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Orange Juice Blog

Monday, December 29, 2014 – 12:30 p.m.

Our friends at The Orange Juice Blog have penned their final compelling summation of the events surrounding two go-nowhere District Attorney investigations into a coordinated effort to engineer the sale of the Orange County Fairgrounds to developers.

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VoiceofOC: DA Fair Board Investigation Finds No Criminal Conduct

Orange County District Attorney

Related Documents: DA 2011 Report on Fairgrounds

By NORBERTO SANTANA JR.
Posted: Tuesday, December 2, 2014 6:00 am | Updated: 9:38 am, Thu Dec 4, 2014.

District Attorney Tony Rackauckas has once again cleared the Orange County Fair Board’s former Republican majority of any criminal wrongdoing relating to their efforts in 2009 to privatize the 163-acre fairgrounds in Costa Mesa.

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Sandra Hutchens

O.C. Sheriff Sandra Hutchens

BY TONY SAAVEDRA / STAFF WRITER
Published: Dec. 5, 2014 Updated: 8:44 p.m.

Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens this week joined the county’s top prosecutor in defending the use of jailhouse informants placed in cells wired to capture recorded confessions.

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OCRegister: Former state lawmaker exonerated in OC Fair sale investigation

Orange County District Attorney

BY SCOTT MARTINDALE / STAFF WRITER
Published: May 28, 2014 Updated: 7:19 p.m.

COSTA MESA – A former state lawmaker accused of improperly lobbying for the 2009 sale of the Orange County fairgrounds has been exonerated of wrongdoing, the latest development in an ongoing criminal probe of the failed sales effort.

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OCRegister: O.C. GOP takes a pass in Assembly District 55 race

BY MARTIN WISCKOL
STAFF COLUMNIST
Published: March 7, 2014 Updated: March 8, 2014 7:52 a.m.

Over the years, the Orange County GOP has sometimes made it a point of pride to rally around an O.C. candidate in state Legislature districts that straddle county lines.

Not this time.

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LATimes: D.A. ran illegal snitch operation in O.C. jail, attorneys say

Orange County District Attorney

By Paloma Esquivel
February 27, 2014, 4:38 p.m.

Attorneys for the man charged with killing eight people in a Seal Beach salon three years ago have accused Orange County prosecutors and sheriff’s deputies of running an unconstitutional jailhouse informant operation that ensnared their client and other inmates.

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VoiceofOC: Judge Unseals Trove of Records Alleging Improper Jailhouse Informant Scheme

scales-of-justice
Related Documents Public Defender’s Motion

Posted: Sunday, February 16, 2014 8:23 pm | Updated: 10:11 am, Mon Feb 17, 2014.
By REX DALTON

A huge cache of records alleging the Orange County district attorney’s office and law enforcement agencies utilized a long-running informant program to violate defendants’ rights was unsealed last week in Orange County Superior Court.

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LATimes: Kelly Thomas verdict: FBI to examine trial evidence, testimony

FBI

By Paloma Esquivel and Robert J. Lopez
January 13, 2014, 9:26 p.m.

The FBI said Monday that it would examine evidence in the Kelly Thomas police beating death trial to “see if further investigation is warranted.”

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OCRegister: Kelly Thomas case could hurt D.A. politically

Tony Rackauckas

Rackauckas

BY MARTIN WISCKOL / STAFF WRITER
Published: Jan. 13, 2014 Updated: Jan. 14, 2014 1:17 p.m.

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas’ failure to win a conviction in the Kelly Thomas case, combined with two other recent court rulings against him, leaves Rackauckas more politically vulnerable if he draws an opponent in his re-election bid.

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InlandPolitics: Upland lawyers hire prominent law firm, seeks document retention

Legal

Wednesday, October 30, 2013 – 09:30 a.m.

The Upland-based law firm at the center of overbilling allegations, and an investigation by the Orange County District Attorney, has retained a prominent national law firm, to possibly seek damages.

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LATimes: Investigators raid offices of police unions’ former law firm

Orange County District Attorney

The Orange County district attorney is investigating the firm that allegedly targeted civic leaders who were seeking to alter police pensions.

By Paloma Esquivel and Joseph Serna
October 16, 2013, 9:21 p.m.

Orange County district attorney’s investigators have raided the offices of an Upland law firm accused of bullying civic leaders across Southern California in its aggressive representation of police and their unions.

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Breaking_News

Thursday, October 10, 2013 – 12:57 p.m.

Sources report that the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and District Attorney are presently executing a search warrant at the Foothill Boulevard offices of Upland-based Law firm Lackie, Dammeier, McGill and Ethir.

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VoiceofOC: Ethics Commission Urged for OC Government

Orange County Seal

Posted: Tuesday, April 16, 2013 6:00 am
By TRACY WOOD

The Orange County Grand Jury, citing the county’s 40-year history of political corruption, Monday recommended creation of an independent ethics commission to advise elected officials of ethical pitfalls and increase public confidence in government.

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LATimes: O.C. police union dispute brings scrutiny of law firm’s tactics

Law firm Lackie, Dammeier & McGill, which represents many police unions, has a reputation for aggressive attacks against city halls. One critic described its tactics as ‘litigation terrorism.’

By Christopher Goffard, Los Angeles Times
September 16, 2012

One after another, people stepped before the Costa Mesa City Council to decry the blight and lawlessness on tiny Ford Road — prostitutes, thieves, home invaders. What the city needs, they pleaded, is more cops.

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Ellis

 

By Vern Nelson
February 28, 2011

Given the shitstorm coming down the pike for the various insiders implicated in the attempted Great Swindle of the Orange County Fairgrounds, we figure it’s time to start introducing some of the players whose names you’ll be hearing a lot in the news in the coming months. And current Fair Board chairman Dave Ellis is one such character who’s been particularly fascinating to me for a long time now. Publicity-shy, he’s conducted his 25-year political career as much as possible in the shadows. (He now prefers to be called “David,” probably because it’s even harder to google.)

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Voice of OC: Records Call Into Question District Attorney Probe of Fairgrounds Sale

Posted: Tuesday, February 22, 2011 9:58 pm | Updated: 12:59 pm, Tue Feb 22, 2011.
NORBERTO SANTANA, JR. Voice of OC

Wednesday, February 2, 2010 | Last October, when District Attorney Tony Rackauckas cleared former State Senator Dick Ackerman of any illegal lobbying on the proposed sale of the Orange County Fairgrounds, his report stated that Ackerman didn’t violate a state ban on lobbying former colleagues because “his contact was not with state legislators.”

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By Vern Nelson
February 22, 2011

Given the shitstorm coming down the pike for the various insiders implicated in the attempted Great Swindle of the Orange County Fairgrounds, we figure it’s time to start introducing some of the players whose names you’ll be hearing a lot in the news in the coming months. And current Fair Board chairman Dave Ellis is one such character who’s been particularly fascinating to me for a long time now. Publicity-shy, he’s conducted his 25-year political career as much as possible in the shadows. (He now prefers to be called “David,” probably because it’s even harder to google.)

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: Monday, February 21, 2011 6:24 pm | Updated: 8:22 pm, Mon Feb 21, 2011.
NORBERTO SANTANA, JR. Voice of OC

Tuesday, February 22, 2010 | The state’s Fair Political Practices Commission has launched an investigation into whether contacts former State Senator Dick Ackerman made with current legislators on behalf of the Orange County Fair Board constituted illegal lobbying.

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Rackauckas

Posted: Thursday, October 21, 2010 3:07 pm | Updated: 9:15 pm, Thu Oct 21, 2010.

District Attorney Tony Rackauckas earlier this year allowed state Sen. Tom Harman to use the DA’s Office to help out his campaign for attorney general — offering him the title of “prosecutor” for use on the ballot.

However, it wasn’t until Rackauckas’ news conference Wednesday — in which he laid out his case against former protege Todd Spitzer — that Rackauckas publicly acknowledged his favor to Harman, whom he endorsed in the June primary.

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OCRegister: Rackauckas to run for re-election in 2014

Rackauckas

September 2nd, 2010, 4:23 pm · posted by Kimberly Edds, Staff Writer

District Attorney Tony Rackauckas announced he will run for re-election in 2014, his chief of staff confirmed Thursday.

“He will be running for DA in 2014,” said Rackauckas’ chief of staff, Susan Kang Schroeder. Rackauckas declined through his spokeswoman to be interviewed.

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OCRegister: The latest in the Todd Spitzer firing

August 31st, 2010, 6:38 pm · posted by Kimberly Edds, Staff Writer

Ousted Assistant District Attorney Todd Spitzer claims Susan Kang Schroeder, the district attorney’s chief of staff, colluded with her boss Tony Rackauckas to get him fired in the hopes of derailing Spitzer’s plans to be the next Orange County District Attorney – and to move Schroeder herself a step closer to getting the job.

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