Senate report: Garcetti ‘probably knew or should have known’

A prominent Republican senator’s investigation into allegations surrounding Mayor Eric Garcetti and his former senior aide found it was “extremely unlikely” that Garcetti was unaware of the aide’s alleged inappropriate behavior.

The 23-page report released Tuesday by Sen. Charles E. Grassley of Iowa concluded that Garcetti “probably knew or should have known that Rick Jacobs was sexually harassing several people and making racist comments toward others.”

Grassley, the Judiciary Committee’s top Republican, ordered the report earlier this year after whistleblowers approached his office with accusations about Garcetti and Jacobs, a high-profile aide who helped propel the career mayor’s policy. Garcetti was nominated in July by President Biden to become ambassador to India.

Jacobs and Garcetti declined to be interviewed by Grassley investigators. Garcetti’s spokesman, Harrison Wollman, said earlier this month that the mayor had offered to meet with Grassley, but that meeting has yet to take place.

It was not immediately clear what impact the investigation would have on Garcetti’s nomination.

The White House released a strong statement Tuesday afternoon, calling the investigation biased and incomplete and saying Biden strongly supports Garcetti. White House spokesman Chris Meagher’s spokesman said Grassley’s “partisan report was a success from the start” and that the claims “have already been conclusively debunked.”

“The President has faith in Mayor Garcetti,” Meagher continued, “and believes he will be an excellent representative in India at a critical time and is asking the Senate to confirm that quickly.”

The Senate confirmation process dragged on for months as Grassley and other senators flagged doubts about Garcetti’s nomination. His second and final term as mayor ends in December and several candidates are vying to succeed him in the June 7 primary.

The allegations surrounding the mayor’s office became public in 2020, when a Los Angeles police officer who worked as Garcetti’s bodyguard sued the city, claiming Jacobs sexually harassed him and the mayor witnessed the behavior but did not intervene.

Jacobs denied harassing anyone, but said in his deposition that he may have hugged the officer. He also said he may have made sexual jokes in front of the mayor’s security services.

Other city staff said in depositions or in interviews with The Times that it was widely discussed in the mayor’s office that Jacobs had sexually harassed individuals.

Garcetti’s nomination was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in January. A month earlier, Garcetti told the panel that he had never witnessed the police officer’s alleged misconduct. He also said he never witnessed any inappropriate behavior from his assistant.

Email correspondence reviewed by The Times via public records shows that Grassley investigators have in recent weeks contacted several senior officials in Garcetti’s office, including adviser Ana Guerrero, seeking to interview them for their report.

Grassley investigators interviewed 15 witnesses and read 26 depositions taken in connection with the civil trial of LAPD officer Garza. Eleven other people working for or close to the mayor declined to meet with investigators, according to the report.

The report largely includes evidence that has already been made public. However, one of the new allegations comes from a witness who described an incident in which Jacobs allegedly massaged and rubbed his groin against another person at the 2015 US-China climate summit in Los Angeles.

Additionally, another person told investigators that Garcetti said he couldn’t believe the city hadn’t been sued during the time Jacobs worked at City Hall.

Former Obama administration official Jeremy Bernard testified in a deposition in which he said he heard Garcetti make such a remark. The mayor denied ever saying such a thing.

Grassley’s report follows a report commissioned by the City Attorney’s Office to aid in its defense of the Garza case which concluded that Garza was not sexually harassed by Jacobs and that Garcetti did nothing. of badness. Jacobs was interviewed for a second version of the report.

Grassley investigators wrote that “new evidence against Mr. Jacobs and Mayor Garcetti has surfaced” since the city’s report was released earlier this year.

Investigators also wrote that they “learned that the mayor’s office or the State Department had previously withheld the updated version” of the city’s report, which included the interview with Jacobs, from the Senate Committee on foreign relations.

The report concluded that “it is more likely than not that Mr. Jacobs sexually harassed several people and made racist comments towards others. Reportedly, this behavior was pervasive, widespread and notorious.

“Several people told investigators that Mayor Garcetti was aware of this behavior, and based on the reported frequency and overt nature of the conduct, it is more likely than not that Mayor Garcetti had personal knowledge. sexual harassment or should have been aware of it,” the report said.

The report notes that the investigation by Grassley’s team “is not a criminal or civil investigation, but an investigation intended to assist the Senate in the advice and consent process mandated by the Constitution.”

This article will be updated.

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