State DOJ Takes Over LASD’s Controversial Corruption Probe

California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced Tuesday that the Justice Department is taking control of the LA County Sheriff’s public corruption investigation into Supervisor Sheila Kuehl and other public officials. Bonta’s decision to strip the sheriff’s department if its involvement comes amid allegations that Villanueva is using LASD’s secretive investigative arm to target political enemies.

“In recent days, the public unfolding of an unprecedented investigation has raised serious questions for residents of Southern California and beyond,” said Attorney General Bonta in a statement. “I recognize the deep uncertainty this has engendered and, given the unique circumstances, my team has committed to taking over this investigative process. Make no mistake: We are committed to a thorough, fair, and independent investigation that will help restore confidence for the people of our state. If there is wrongdoing by any party, we will bring it to light.”  

A press release from Bonta’s office states that the Attorney General has oversight authority over sheriffs “and, when in the public interest, has the authority to take full charge of a criminal investigation if deemed necessary.”

LASD suspects that Supervisor Kuehl funneled public money to the nonprofit group Peace Over Violence through a contract with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

In a letter from Bonta to Sheriff Villanueva, Bonta said the DOJ would also investigate whether Sheila Kuehl or Peace Over Violence Executive Director Patti Giggans were given advanced warning of the search warrants that were served at their homes.