Home>Articles>The Tape Don’t Lie…But It Appears Gascon Minion Did

LA DA Chief of Staff Joseph Iniguez with DA George Gascon (Photo: Joseph Iniguez for DA)

The Tape Don’t Lie…But It Appears Gascon Minion Did

Iniguez also played the “do you know who I am?!?” card

By Thomas Buckley, June 25, 2024 3:58 pm

When Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon’s chief of staff Joseph Iniguez was arrested on suspicion of public intoxication and threatening a police officer he said he had a video of the entire incident that not only showed his innocence but also backed up his claim of a violation of his First Amendment rights.

The tape was recently obtained by Fox News and shows, and, well, not so much, Mr. Iniguez.  

In fact, the tape specifically shows Iniguez violating state law and an important DA’s office policy, that he was seemingly rather intoxicated (he does say he had drank at a wedding more than once,) and that the officer clearly did not violate Iniguez’s rights.

The officer, in fact, acts quite professionally when – having clearly had enough of Iniguez’s interference and jabbering – he arrests him on suspicion of public intoxication.

In a nutshell, here’s what sparked the issue:

In December, 2021 Iniguez and his fiancé – the driver of the car –  were heading through Azusa on their way home from a wedding.  The fiancé reportedly made an illegal U-turn, prompting the Azusa officer to pull the car over.

The officer smelled a strong odor of alcohol in the car and asked the driver to step out – Iniguez tells the officer that he’s the one who had been drinking and that his fiancé was doing the right thing by driving.

Once both are out of the car, the officer starts to question the fiancé and Iniguez starts to tape the incident.  Throughout the six minute tape released by Fox, Iniguez  – standing a few yards away from the officer and his fiancé – acts like an entitled jerk, telling his fiancé what to do – which was to say nothing – and that field sobriety tests are not compulsory, and that the traffic stop was not proper in the first place.

“This is not right,” said Iniguez. “This is why when they talk about law enforcement and like our interactions with law enforcement – he did the right thing tonight, and drove me.”

Iniguez also played the “do you know who I am?!?” card, telling the officer “you pulled over the wrong person, let me tell you” and asking him to “run” his license plates.  By doing so, it is quite possible the officer would have immediately found out Iniguez was a deputy district attorney.

“I’m not saying anything, just see what you find,” Iniguez said to the officer (by this point there was a second officer on scene.)  The “not saying anything” comment is key – if he had openly referred to his job the violation would have been unquestionable.

The tape shows the fiancé being handcuffed – he was eventually not charged with anything – after which the officer calmly walks over to Iniguez and arrests him on suspicion of public intoxication.  The tape – at least what was released – stops there.

Iniguez claimed afterwards the officer tried to get him to stop filming – that  does not appear to happen, though the Azusa PD reportedly paid Iniguez $10,000 to settle the civil rights suit he filed after the incident (note – as a former elected official, it can be very frustrating when your insurance company decides to settle a garbage lawsuit because it’s cheaper to cut a relatively small check as was done here.  The final decision is up to the insurance company, which of course leads to more silly little suits and more taxpayer-funded payouts, but that issue is for another time.)

What the tape clearly shows is Iniguez violating  the law and a very specific policy of the DA’s office:  you cannot offer legal advice to anyone ever.  For example, deputy DA’s cannot even help a relative create a will – Iniguez is heard spouting code numbers and telling his fiancé how to act during the traffic stop.

“Employees of the District Attorney’s Office are prohibited by law from answering legal questions or offering legal advice”  the office’s website states unambiguously.   

State government code is also quite clear:

“A district attorney shall not during his incumbency defend or assist in the defense of, or act as counsel for, any person accused of any crime in any county.”

Remember – at the time, Iniguez was Gascon’s chief of staff – he’s now his chief deputy district attorney (prior to Gascon’s election, Iniguez was a very inexperienced deputy DA who had tried four felony cases. He lost two of them.)

The officer involved alleged that Iniguez went further in his intimidation tactics by threatening to put him on the “Brady List.”   While the direct threat is not heard on the tape, the list, which almost every prosecuting agency maintains, is a compendium of cops the District Attorney’s office consider unreliable and/or problematic.

Placement on that list is – at the very least – a career killer, law enforcement insiders said, and Iniguez, as custodian of the list, would have the ability – however unethical and/or illegal – to do so.

According to sources close to the DA’s office, it is quite possible that Iniguez followed through on his threat.

Gascon’s office declined to comment on the matter.

After the arrest, the case was transferred to the office of Rob Bonta, the state’s Attorney General.  This is a relatively standard procedure with cases involving deputy district attorneys.

After taking a surprisingly long amount of time – especially considering Bonta’s office presumably viewed the tape – the attorney general declined to press any charges against Iniguez.  At the time, it clearly looked like one woke politician doing a favor for another woke ally – Gascon and Bonta were politically close at the time.  In viewing the tape, that opinion looks more and more plausible.

The AG’s office declined to comment.

While the release of the tape may have been unexpected, its contents were not to those who watch the DA’s office.

Nathan Hochman, who is running against Gascon in November’s vote – said the video shows Iniguez “repeatedly attempting to intimidate Azusa police officers who were questioning his fiancé about a possible DUI in 2021. He also told his fiancé to not answer the officer’s questions. Interfering in an investigation and attempting to abuse his power is unethical and should be investigated by the DA and State Bar. I demand that Gascon immediately suspend Iniguez to determine whether he abused his authority or violated any DA policies.”

While Iniguez was let slide, another Gascon top aide – assistant district attorney Diana Teran – was recently charged with eleven felonies.  Teran is alleged to have improperly accessed the sheriff’s departments personnel records and then used said information illegally.  All of the counts bear the same April, 2021 date – when she was an employee of the DA’s office, but Teran reportedly obtained the private information involving between 11 and 23 deputies – including future Sheriff Alex Villanueva – in 2018 when she was a  “Constitutional Policing Advisor” at the sheriff’s department.

With Gascon’s political future dimming, it seems that Bonta – who wishes to be the next governor – thinks he cannot do his old friend yet another favor.

Deputy District Attorney John Lewin – one of the harshest of Gascon’s dozens of “in house” critics – said the tape repelled him.

“In my 30 years as a prosecutor, this is one of the most disgusting and severe instances of misuse of the position of deputy district attorney,” Lewin said.  “He very clearly attempts to bully and intimidate the officer.  He should be immediately removed from his position.”

And Lewin is not shy with his opinions– he emailed them directly to Iniguez himself:


How dare you abuse your authority in this disgusting display of ethical impropriety and official misconduct!

You had a reputation and the statistics of an extremely mediocre lawyer, one who had no business getting a Grade 3, much less being promoted to the second highest position in the office.

Since you have been a part of Gascon’s senior administration, you have illegally retaliated against numerous deputies, including myself, perjured yourself in Shawn Randolph‘s lawsuit, and otherwise completely embarrassed this once proud office with your absolutely egregious misconduct!

You are not fit to serve and if you had even an ounce of integrity, you would immediately step down from your position as Chief Deputy, should and if you refuse to do so, the disgraced and corrupt District Attorney who you work for, should immediately force you to do so!

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