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Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón. (Photo: da.lacounty.gov)

Gascon Facing Deposition Demand: Deputy DA Sued Him Over Political Retaliation

Gascon has lost in every case that has been adjudicated so far, costing taxpayers millions of dollars

By Thomas Buckley, June 14, 2024 4:03 pm

One of the many Los Angeles County deputy district attorneys who sued their boss George Gascon has gone back to court, this time to force Gascon to sit for a long-avoided deposition in the case.

John Lewin, most well known for his successful prosecution of wealthy real estate empire heir Robert Durst, sued Gascon for political retaliation in February of last year.  Lewin alleged that he was shifted from the high-profile Major Crimes division to a the far less prestigious position of “calendar attorney” – they handle day-to-day courtroom procedures and such – at the Inglewood courthouse.

He also alleged that he was improperly brought up before the county’s “equity oversight panel” on specious allegations of improper conduct.

The Durst trial brought Lewin – who has been with the DA’s office for nearly 30 years –  to national attention, even spawning a “Lewin’s Ladies” fan page on Facebook.

Durst was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole in October, 2021 for the murder of Susan Berman in 2020.  Additionally, Durst – who died in early 2022 – was suspected of other killings, including his first wife and a neighbor named Morris Black in Galveston, Texas in 2001. Durst was acquitted in the Black case and he was going to stand trial for the murder of his wife but he died before the trial could begin.

After Gascon’s election in 2020, Lewin – like so many of his colleagues – did not hold back his criticism of his boss.  Then, after winning the Durst case, he was awarded the office’s Ken Lamb Distinguished Achievement Award, and then – because the DA’s office regularly transfers people around (it claimed at the time,) Lewin was off Major Crimes/Cold Case and shipped to Inglewood to do essentially an entry-level job for his criticisms.

Gascon has been sued directly for retaliation by staff members on numerous occasions, and sued by the union representing the staff saying he has flouted public records laws and for unfair labor practices, and sued shortly after he took over for issuing blatantly illegal and legally unethical “blanket directives,” such as not pursuing gun-related charging enhancements against criminals.

Gascon has lost in every case that has been adjudicated so far, costing taxpayers millions of dollars and prompting at least one deputy district attorney to joke that the cases will take so ling to go through the process Gascon will have to have his own dedicated courtroom.

Which is funny,” the deputy joked,” seeing that he was never in a courtroom before.”

In Lewin’s case, Gascon has seemingly been dodging setting a time for his deposition, hence Lewin’s request of the court to demand he do so.  That hearing is September 23, less than seven weeks before the election, that election being one of the possible reasons Gascon has been avoiding giving a deposition.

The DA’s office said “The office does not comment on pending litigation.”

But if the transfer was to get Lewin to stop criticizing Gascon, it backfired spectacularly.  Lewin’s criticism of Gascon on social media has continued unabated.

On his Facebook page, Lewin has called Gascon a liar, a hypocrite, an incompetent, and corrupt.

I wonder who he’ll be voting for?

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