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LA Attorney Must Testify, Ethics Commission Says

LOS ANGELES (CN) - The Los Angeles City Ethics Commission seeks a court order forcing deputy city attorney Michael Amerian to testify about whether he violated campaign-finance laws when he ran for office last year.

LeeAnn Pelham, director of the commission, says she "has evidence that Mr. Amerian may have violated campaign laws during his candidacy for elective office of City Attorney."

In a lawsuit in Superior Court, the commission claims Amerian was asked to testify about whether he accepted contributions from city employees, "among other potential violations."

Amerian's counsel said that Amerian could not testify because he would be in trial, and that "unless more information was provided regarding the subject matter of the investigation, Mr. Amerian would not participate in the investigation," the complaint states.

Pelham said she subpoenaed Amerian, demanding that he testify and bring with him "any and all correspondence" related to his campaign fundraising. Amerian allegedly objected, arguing that the requests were "vague" and "burdensome," and that the commission already had the information it sought.

When the commission's enforcement director ruled to sustain the portion of the subpoena requiring Amerian to testify, Amerian's lawyer wrote to the commission "stating disagreement with the ruling and declaring that Mr. Amerian would not comply with the subpoena," according to the lawsuit.

The commission seeks an order forcing Amerian to comply with the subpoena, plus attorney's fees and costs. It also wants the court to slap him with a $1,000 fine or five days in jail for his alleged refusal to cooperate.

Mara Rosales is representing the commission.


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