Robert Bush 5 p.m., March 22
Dismissal denied: county DA must face charges of sexual misconduct by former deputy, federal judge rules
The San Diego County District Attorney’s office will face charges that a former deputy district attorney fabricated evidence and then tried to trade assistance in mitigating damages resulting from his fraudulently obtained conviction in exchange for sexual favors, a federal judge has ruled.
Former prosecutor Ernest Marugg is accused by Tamara McAnally of indicting her, her husband, and their company, JDM Enterprise, even though a joint audit conducted by Marugg and the State Compensation Insurance Fund ten years ago found no evidence of wrongdoing.
The McAnallys, saying they feared prison time and the loss of their contractors’ license, pled guilty in 2004 to felony conspiracy to commit insurance fraud.
Mr. McAnally’s license was on hold from 2004 to 2009, during which time Mrs. McAnally says Marugg offered to help them sort out their licensing issues with the contractors’ license and with Mrs. McAnally’s attempts to obtain a real estate salesperson’s license. The offers of help came with unwelcome sexual advances, all of which were rebuffed.
Tamara’s conviction was eventually overturned, and she has a signed declaration of innocence from the courts, but wants to pursue a judgment and sanctions against Marugg and the District Attorney’s office. She also has produced evidence that Marugg had “taken numerous female defendants that he had prosecuted to functions sponsored by the D.A.'s Office, or where county officials were present, as well as on official business trips,” and in 2001 was engaged in an affair with Insurance Fund auditor Kathey Bradley. Marugg is further accused of sending pornography via e-mail to several other female defendants, and that numerous other claims had been filed with and ignored by the District Attorney.
According to McAnally, Marugg admitted to all of this when she brought her claims to District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis’s office, and that he agreed to retire in exchange for an investigation being dropped. In 2011, the office called the claims “baseless” and said that the office “acted promptly, appropriately, and effectively.”
Once her conviction was overturned, McAnally filed a suit of her own, which San Diego County, Dumanis, and two other supervisors of Marugg opposed, demanding absolute immunity due to statues of limitations.
U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Whelan disagreed, however, stating that McAnally’s 2004 guilty plea did not start the statue of limitations due to her not having reason at the time to suspect Marugg had fabricated evidence. Instead, Whelan ruled that McAnally’s window to sue did not actually open until her own conviction was overturned in 2011, refusing the county’s motion to dismiss and ordering that the case be heard.
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