Spitzer Calls for Federal Takeover of OC District Attorney’s Office

District Attorney Tony Rackauckas (left) and county Supervisor Todd Spitzer. (Photos by: Nick Gerda/Voice of OC)

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Supervisor Todd Spitzer is urging federal law enforcement officials to “take control” of the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, citing what he describes as “continuing revelations of scandal emerging from the office under D.A. Tony Rackauckas.”

Spitzer, a political foe of Rackauckas’ who is preparing to run for DA next year, requested the federal Justice Department takeover in a letter Monday to its leader, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

“Immediate action is necessary in order to prevent further damage by our elected D.A. and reverse eroding public confidence in our judicial system. The depth, denial and cover-up of serious misconduct threatens the foundation of our criminal justice system,” Spitzer wrote in his letter.

Among alleged wrongdoing, Spitzer cited accusations Rackauckas interfered in political corruption investigations, as well as the ongoing jailhouse informants scandal, in which an appeals court ruled the DA’s office repeatedly violated the constitutional rights of defendants.

“I am respectfully requesting that you expand the current Department of Justice investigation into new allegations of corruption and documented misconduct. As it is within your power to do so, I urge you to take control [of] the OCDA office by consent decree.”

A Justice Department official confirmed Spitzer’s letter was received but said the department would not be commenting further.

(Click here to read Spitzer’s letter to the Attorney General.)

Rackauckas’ office responded forcefully, accusing Spitzer of using his public office to campaign for DA.

“It is unfortunate that Todd Spitzer is using his current position as a County Supervisor to campaign for the office of the District Attorney, a position he so desperately covets.  Meanwhile, he is slandering prosecutors and OCDA personnel with his false allegations in an effort to fuel his ambition and create the appearance of credibility,” the DA’s office said a statement.

“Perhaps his latest political rant is intended to divert the public’s attention from the loss of his recent lawsuit regarding his self-incriminating manifesto detailing the episode in which he handcuffed an evangelist in a fast food restaurant and/or the pending litigation from a former employee outlining his ‘raging temper’ and “practice of governing his office through means of fear and aggression.” 

“The OCDA fully anticipates Supervisor Spitzer will continue to abuse his position and the ridiculous allegations will continue as we draw closer to the election.”

The lawsuit referenced by the DA’s office involves an April 2015 incident in which Spitzer handcuffed an evangelist at a Wahoo’s Fish Taco restaurant in Lake Forest. Voice of OC filed a public records lawsuit after being denied access to a draft opinion article Spitzer wrote about the incident and related emails. Earlier this month, a judge ordered disclosure of the op-ed and emails.

Additionally, one of Spitzer’s longest-serving staff members at the county, Christine Richters, recently filed a lawsuit saying Spitzer ran his office through “fear and aggression,” forced his staff to be on-call at all hours of the night, and required them to work shifts of up to 24 hours at a time.

Spitzer, his letter, noted the DA’s former chief investigator recently alleged Rackauckas interfered in political corruption investigations of his political allies. The former chief investigator, Craig Hunter, also alleged Rackauckas’ chief of staff, Susan Kang Schroeder, worked on a fundraiser for Rackauckas during county working hours she was paid for and used Rackauckas’ name to promote her business partner in a personal side business.

“It is typical for Rackauckas to attack every messenger just like he did on 60 Minutes,” Spitzer said in a statement reacting to the DA’s comments.

“These are not my allegations. These are the charges of his Chief Investigator and the Courts. It saddens me to realize that Rackauckas believes that letting murderers go free by botching cases and authorizing an illegal snitch program is simply ‘politicking.’ It underscores the need for oversight to take charge [of] the DA’s office,”

“I’ve simply asked the US Attorney General to expand its scope into these continuing charges of criminality by Rackauckas.”

Spitzer’s letter comes on the heels of a nationally-televised ’60 Minutes’ segment about the informants scandal, during which Rackauckas rejected allegations his prosecutors illegally used secret jailhouse informants and withheld information from defense attorneys.

A state appeals court, meanwhile, has ruled the DA’s office systemically violated detainees’ constitutional rights.

The DA’s office, appeals justices wrote, engaged in “grave” misconduct, by participating in “a covert [informants] program to obtain statements from represented defendants in violation of their constitutional rights, and to withhold that information from those defendants in violation of their constitutional and statutory rights.”

So far at least six defendants have had their convictions for murder or other major crimes overturned for rights violations by the DA’s use of informants.

The DA’s office and Sheriff’s Department are now under federal and state investigation over the informants issue, and the Orange County Grand Jury is conducting its own probe.

And just last week, in a completely separate case from the informants, Superior Court Judge Thomas Goethals barred Rackauckas’ office from prosecuting first-degree murder charges due to what he called “serious misconduct” by prosecutors.

In that case, the judge said prosecutors “intentionally withheld” evidence that law enforcement altered police reports that could have helped the defendant’s case, and the reports were later intentionally destroyed.

“When the trial prosecutor was repeatedly put on notice that there were irregularities involving the investigation of his case—twice by members of his own prosecution team–he was constitutionally obliged to address the issue. He did not,” Goethals wrote in his ruling.

Spitzer was once a top deputy to Rackauckas and was considered his heir apparent. But Rackauckas fired him in 2010 after Spitzer began investigating alleged wrongdoing at a county office where the DA’s then-fiancée was second-in-command.

The two have feuded openly ever since.

Spitzer now is gearing up to run for District Attorney in the primary election next June.

Nick Gerda covers county government and Santa Ana for Voice of OC. You can contact him at ngerda@voiceofoc.org.

  • Irish Lass

    “STOLEN HOMES FUNDED OBAMACARE!” AND ORANGE COUNTY IS THE CONDUIT OF THE FRAUD!! Stealing homes and ignoring counterfeit documents illegally recorded has destroyed Orange County Homeowners!
    RETURN THE STOLEN HOMES, PAY DAMAGES AND JAIL THE CORRUPT PUBLIC SERVANTS COMMITTING RICO OF THE HIGHEST ORDER! Snitches are a spec of sand compared to the millions of stolen homes thanks to the (un)SECURE recordation software these crooks put into place!
    Read and Share!
    https://www.facebook.com/notes/rene-powers/cast-of-characters-casting-away-the-integrity-of-the-land-records-for-obamacare-/657837761083707/

    • Jacki Livingston

      Honey, you have no idea. I was forced out of my job, violently threatened and my life ruined because of the organized crime RICO crap going on in the county that I stumbled across, I have boxes and boxes of evidence showing Spitzer, Nguyen, Moorlach, Bates, Nelson and TRack misconduct. You and I should talk.

  • astar2b

    We need DA Kang to take over…!

    • LFOldTimer

      You must be employing intense sarcasm in your comment.

      Certainly you can’t be serious.

      We want a better DA’s office. Not worse.

  • Mary Spadoni

    Does it matter….current DA under OCGOP influence OR hand it over to Feds with Jeff Sessions, Orange County cannot win…

  • Don Lofton

    If feel Mr. Rackauckas is as crooked as they come. I also feel they should not stop with just Tony; but clean house. Taghavi, Tanizaki; Coulter; Zidbeck..and then investigate the OC Sheriff and all Orange County Law Enforcement. Afterall Tony Rackauckas isn’t working alone he has had a lot of help through the years. Maybe the people should make them prove they are what they say they are here to uphold. Just like they have done to the people they have prosecuted and locked up for many years as criminals.

    • OCservant_Leader

      Don’t forget to include the Health Care Agency who ran the “snitch tank” in their Medical Unit in the jail.

      The Board of Supervisors – personally ran the Agency to place their EA’s in charge to hide the operation from the curious, prying eyes of other employees who are not in the “Family”.

      This scandal includes the Board of Supervisors, CEO and CoCo who act as the invisible hands to this collusion of corruption = RICO.

  • Nicky Pierce

    Spitzer for DA!

  • Paul Lucas

    This should have been called for at least 3 years ago. With all the revelations over the past 3 years, I dont really think anyone deserves points for calling for a consent decree. Where have you been for the past 3 years? also, the sheriff was involved during her entire stint here in OC. additionally as we know from the very first article published by Moxley this informant s cam was begun in LA County jails and has spread to all counties in California as well as some federal cases. Im sorry, im not impressed by the 3 year tardiness and exclusion of the OCSD in the call for consent decree.

    • LFOldTimer

      But 3 years ago Spitzer wasn’t on the precipice of running to head the DA’s office, Paul. Now we’re only about a year away from campaign season (which Spitzer has kicked off early) – so now ALL THE SUDDEN Spitzer takes an interest in corruption in the justice system??? HAH!

      In the meantime Spitzer’s as silent as a church mouse on Sheriff Hutchen’s complicity to the illegal informant jail scandal!!! Hutchens has OBSTRUCTED JUSTICE and Spitzer doesn’t even mention her name!!! HAH!

      Hutchen’s runs the jail. NOT THE DA!!!! Why is Spitzer so silent about OCSD’s complicity???

      ANSWER: HE WANTS OCSD’S ENDORSEMENT FOR DA!!!!

      PHONY, PHONY, PHONY!!!

      Typical disgusting self-serving politician.

  • Nicky Pierce

    Hopefully DA Tony Rackauckas will end up in jail like former Sheriff Mike Corona.

    • Daisy Lang

      Yes let’s get rid of this criminal. Never thought I’d see the day where I’d have to say that about our DA. Sad.

    • Jessica Davis

      Yeah he said on 60 mins if the accusations were true he’d be in jail!

    • Jacki Livingston

      And hopefully, Todd Spitzer will get the cell next door for bribery and corruption.

  • Rosie Lee

    How does Rackauckas sleep at night. The DA is suppose to protect public safety not jeopardize it. What crooked politics.

  • Terry Ensor

    Are we forgetting the Supervisors actually have a duty to oversee operation of county government?

    • Irish Lass

      Exactly and they all were given enough evidence of crimes, they are all guilty of RICO of the highest order! Dereliction of duty, on and on…

  • verifiedsane

    Should Rackauckas be removed from office? Absolutely! Should the Feds step in? Absolutely! Is Spitzer playing politics for personal gain with a situation that has been common knowledge to anyone that would open their eyes for decades? Absolutely!

    So there you have it…the BoS jackal is now chasing the DA coyote into the public coffers hen house….Talk about trading in one self serving criminal demon for another….OC desperately needs better choices for DA and Sheriff in the next election; or we the public and voting citizenry can just expect more of the same crony corruption for many decades to come…

  • LFOldTimer

    What a carnival barker Spitizer is.

    If not for his aspirations to occupy the DA’s seat Spitzer would be as quiet as the other 4 supes on this. ha. But notice that Spitzer is quiet as a church mouse when it comes to the culpability of Sheriff Hutchens and her band of thugs in the illegal informant scandal. You see, Spitzer needs OCSD’s endorsement for DA so he gives the cops a free pass!!! Is that the sort of person you want running the DA’s office??? Not I!!!!

    Normally all these white shoed phonies would say “We can’t comment about the illegal informant scandal because it’s under formal investigation by the Grand Jury and the Federal government.” lol.

    But look at Spitzer and T-Rack shoot their mouths off holding nothing back!!!! lol. So much for protocol, eh??? lol. All of them change the rules as they go along. Phonies and hypocrites!

    The only reason Spitzer shot his mouth off and went to Sessions is because he smells blood in the water. And it’s politically expedient for him to make a scene.

    When Spitzer was a State Assemblyman representing Orange County did he write a letter to the Attorney General under George W. Bush and demand their office to formally take action against former Sheriff Mike Carona?? Heck no. There was no political expedience involved there. So why open his mouth?

    In fact, Assemblyman Spitzer actually showed up at a Supervisor’s meeting with a Duke Lacrosse book in hand warning everybody against a “rush to judgement” against Corona while the Feds were investigating him!!!! HAH!

    Phony, phony, phony!!!!!

    It would be a HUGE mistake for the Orange County voters to promote this clown to head the DA’s office!!!

    He would be as bad, if not worse, than Rackauckas!!!

    • Yup, awhile back I thought Spitzer would be the guy to clean up the DA’s office. Over the past few years, it looks as if he is as unhinged as he is corrupt. Let’s hope someone with a bit of integrity will step up to run against him.

      • LFOldTimer

        Contact Judge Thomas Goethals office and plead for him to run for DA.

        • Mary Spadoni

          Yes! I’d work for Judge Gothals, integrity and not afraid to use it.

          • LFOldTimer

            Judge Goethals or Scott Sanders or someone of equal integrity is our last hope.

            Putting Spitzer in charge of the DA’s office would be like giving the fox the key to the chicken coop.

        • Irish Lass

          Agree!!!

    • Irish Lass

      He has helped steal homes and lives too..they ALL need to go…all have unclean hands.

    • Jacki Livingston

      Spitzer is pissed off because T-Rack has been prosecuting the very same doctors and facilities that I reported to both of them over eight years ago, who made substantial contributions to Spitzer, Moorlach, Bates and Nguyen campaign coffers. I so love being proven right. I have the paperwork! I reported the same sober living, the same doctors, the same nursing homes…and now Tony is cutting Toddy’s money train! They are getting ready to run, and Tony is cutting Todd off at the knees financially with his bribes and kickback donors, so Todd is mad. That is all this is, simple and true, and the documents, files and cases prove it.

      • LFOldTimer

        Why don’t you scan or link the documents and put them on Facebook for all to see?

        I’m skeptical of your claims until I see the goods.

        • Jacki Livingston

          If I post documents with personal ID of clients and patients on the Internet, I could go to jail for violating their privacy. But I have given every document to Voice of the OC. They have it. Plus, some is public record. The Worker’s Comp court site shows that Spitzer’s own close friend and legal client acted as judge on my case, where he was being called as a witness and defendant. Public records, baby. But VoC has had boxes of my documents. I am happy to provide them in a public forum. But I am not violating patient confidentiality and breaking the law. That would not just get me in trouble, but it would be unethical.

          But, think about the most simple thing. If a client, a well known client, who gives a testimonial on his law firm web site and who has given interviews that she “owes Todd Spitzer her life” is chosen by Spitzer’s wife, who assigns all cases at the Anaheim Worker’s Comp board, to hear a case that he is a lead defendant and named witness on…you don’t have to be a genius to know that is misconduct. You know it, so do I.

          • LFOldTimer

            I’m not saying what you claim is untrue. I’m only saying I’m skeptical until I see the goods. You can’t redact names? The government does it all the time. All you need is a black marker pen.

            In all honesty I can’t take your word as gospel until you show us the goods. Sorry.

          • Jacki Livingston

            I totally understand. I just have to be very careful. And, as I said, a great deal of info is public record. Here’s a good question for ya…why hasn’t VoC published them????

          • LFOldTimer

            I have no idea. Email Norberto and ask him.