Gascón Retaliates Against Deputy DA’s Handling High-Profile Murder Case, Removes Them for Speaking Out

When Los Angeles DA George Gascon’s Assistant DA for Ethics and Integrity, Diana Teran, was indicted last month, it sent shockwaves through the legal community in Los Angeles and conservative publications, but for the most part the mainstream media ignored it. In a very long article a few days after her indictment was announced I argued that the case would have major ramifications in the long and short term, and that prediction is already coming to pass. Unfortunately, as usually happens in issues surrounding Gascón, the people being hurt are victims, their families, and the Deputy DA’s in Gascon’s office who are trying to fulfill the actual mission of the DA’s office.


In this instance, three deputy DA’s who just won a conviction against a socialite, Rebecca Grossman (who was intoxicated and speeding through a residential area when she mowed down two young boys who were on an evening walk with their parents) have been removed from the case just weeks before Grossman’s sentencing because they filed a motion notifying the judge that Grossman’s attorney was also representing Teran and there might be a conflict of interest. Teran was “in constant supervisory contact with the prosecution” during Grossman’s six-week trial, according to the LA Times.

I’d mentioned the conflict as a potential problem in my piece analyzing the problems Teran’s prosecution might pose for LA County, but never thought Gascon would be so blatant as to believe the best path forward was to remove the trial team:

It’s now known that Teran’s attorney James Spertus now represents convicted murderer Rebecca Grossman, whose trial just ended in March and who is at this moment under investigation for witness tampering from jail. Teran was part of the chain of command in the prosecution of that case, and Spertus has possibly been representing Teran for months; Spertus told the LA Times that his client had been cooperating with AG Bonta’s investigation and was surprised by the charges. The Deputy DA’s who tried the Grossman case filed a motion Thursday asking that judge to review the potential conflict. 


READ MORE: A Massive Scandal Is Brewing in Los Angeles After DA George Gascon’s Number 3 Is Charged With 11 Felonies

According to an email from Deputy DA Garrett Dameron that the L.A. Times reviewed, Dameron, Jamie Castro, and Ryan Gould were removed from the Grossman case after preparing the motion related to Spertus and Teran. Dameron’s email was a plea to Gascon’s Chief Deputy, Joseph Iniguez, a campaign loyalist who Gascon elevated to the number two spot despite the fact that Iniguez has never tried a felony case.

Dameron was quoted as writing:

“In my nearly 24 years in the office, this decision is shocking and unprecedented. I also believe it is contrary to professional ethics and to thwart our clear duty of candor to the court. At the very least, this extraordinary decision jeopardizes the successful completion of the case and the impartial administration of justice.”

Spertus says there’s no conflict of interest because he’s adversarial to the prosecution in both cases, but Dameron says that Spertus will likely be arguing malicious prosecution in the Grossman case, which would force him to examine Teran’s decisions – a direct conflict – and said that Grossman can’t waive conflict.

And there’s more. Teran was allegedly interfering with the investigation of additional charges into Grossman:

According to Dameron’s email, prosecutors “became aware of a witness who had critical information regarding Grossman’s continued efforts to obstruct justice from inside the county jail” shortly after Spertus became her attorney on March 22.

Based on recorded jailhouse telephone calls, prosecutors also were aware Grossman was trying to have her husband and daughter talk to trial witnesses to change their testimony. The jailhouse witness had information important to “preserving the integrity of our verdict and the safety of our witnesses,” Dameron wrote.

“As instructed, I sent a request to interview the witness to Teran,” Dameron wrote. “To our shock, Teran denied our request to conduct this interview. I repeatedly asked for an explanation and was not given one.”


Nancy Iskander, mom of Jacob and Mark Iskander, the boys killed by Grossman, said:

“I am being punished for something I had nothing to do with. They choose to punish the victim. They have a motion for a new trial. We have things that only Ryan — who knows the case so well and knows the defendant so well — can deal with.

“We were looking forward to closing the case. Sentencing was soon. For me, all of a sudden to have to meet another prosecutor and work with them. They don’t know my family or the boys.”

Now that this personnel change has been reported, Iniguez made a statement to the press:

In a statement Monday morning, Iniguez said that while the Grossman matter has been re-assigned to the assistant head deputy of Major Crimes, Gould and Castro “will remain on the case and assist the Major Crimes Division.” This does not match what Dameron says he was told on Friday. Unlike DTAPS, Major Crimes was never overseen or supervised by Teran. 

“The decision to re-assign the matter was necessary to address any perceived internal conflict over past issues of supervision,” Iniguez’s statement continued. “This decision was made with the utmost consideration for the victims and their family, to protect the integrity of the legal process, and the jury verdict. We are confident that Ms. Grossman will be appropriately sentenced, and any legal issues that need to be resolved before that time will be vigorously litigated by our Major Crimes Division.”

“The District Attorney’s Office is committed to vigorously pursuing justice for the Iskander family.”


As Dameron said in his email Friday:

“This decision gives off the appearance that there is a greater concern for protecting other collateral players (such as the administration and Diana Teran) than seeing that justice is done and that the interests of the family of Jacob and Mark Iskander (the two little boys murdered by Grossman) are safeguarded,” Dameron wrote in the email, which concluded with him asking Iniguez to reconsider the “terrible decision.”

Sounds like Dameron is right, that Gascon and Iniguez are committed to vigorously retaliating against anyone who attempts to put and keep a criminal behind bars. The decision to remove these prosecutors, who’ve been working on the case for almost four years, doesn’t make sense except as a move to silence dissent. It’s shameful.

And in addition to the horrible miscarriage of justice Gascon is setting up, this continued blatant retaliation is sure to hit the taxpayers of Los Angeles County in the wallet as the number of retaliation cases against Gascon continues to climb.



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