Back in 2008, Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas took $3,200 in campaign contributions from wealthy Republican Dick Marconi and his wife days before filing charges against their Democratic adversaries, the OC Weekly’s R. Scott Moxley reported Wednesday.

From the article:

Marconi and his wife Priscilla contributed $3,200, then-the maximum campaign contribution, to Rackauckas on June 4, 2008, and seven days later government agents swung into action in the year-old dispute that had previously involved negotiating lawyers.

Working behind the scenes with Rackauckas’ staff, Newport Beach police detectives arrested Irvine-based civil attorney Jim Toledano, former chairman of the Orange County Democratic Party, and his client, then-fitness trainer Michael Roberts, on extortion charges.

The move effectively gave the GOP power couple a victory in the dispute and left a shocked Toledano and Roberts facing felony counts–charges so weak and suspicious prosecutors have worked to delay a trial even to this day, more than four years later.

At the heart of the DA’s case is the laughably absurd assertion made by prosecutor Rebecca Olivieri to fooled grand jurors: civil lawyers never seek to resolve disputes by requesting monetary damages for their clients prior to the filing of lawsuits.

Moxley’s article comes after Voice of OC reported that Mayor Miguel Pulido’s longtime friend and campaign consultant Dennis DeSnoo contributed $1,900 to Rackauckas – just as the DA’s office was beginning an investigation into a questionable real estate trade between Pulido and a city vendor.

It was the first time DeSnoo had given a contribution to any county office candidate in nearly 10 years, and the only time DeSnoo has ever given campaign money to Rackauckas.

Other Pulido allies have also given Rackauckas money, including Pulido’s criminal defense attorney Al Stokke, who was highlighted in a 2002 grand jury report for possibly having inappropriate influence over the DA.

The grand jury report found that Rackauckas intervened in cases at the behest of campaign contributors and dropped charges against them or their clients.

A previous version of this article misspelled the name of criminal defense attorney Al Stokke. We regret the error.

Please contact Adam Elmahrek directly at and follow him on Twitter:

Since you've made it this far,

You are obviously connected to your community and value good journalism. As an independent and local nonprofit, our news is accessible to all, regardless of what they can afford. Our newsroom centers on Orange County’s civic and cultural life, not ad-driven clickbait. Our reporters hold powerful interests accountable to protect your quality of life. But it’s not free to produce. It depends on donors like you.

Join the conversation: In lieu of comments, we encourage readers to engage with us across a variety of mediums. Join our Facebook discussion. Message us via our website or staff page. Send us a secure tip. Share your thoughts in a community opinion piece.