Court documents reveal who may have told Supervisor Sheila Kuehl about LASD raid

This comes after a judge ordered LASD to turn over any items seized in the searches to the California Attorney General's Office.

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Saturday, September 24, 2022
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After a judge ruled the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department properly obtained warrants last week to search the homes of L.A. County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl and L.A. County Civilian Oversight Commissioner Patricia "Patti" Giggans, Eyewitness News has learned what was taken.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- After a judge ruled the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department properly obtained warrants last week to search the homes of L.A. County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl and L.A. County Civilian Oversight Commissioner Patricia "Patti" Giggans, Eyewitness News has learned what was taken.

A total of 67 devices, some of the text messages and two voicemails reveal who might have tipped off Kuehl about the raid.

Letting someone know he or she is the target of a search warrant is illegal. During an interview outside of her home in Santa Monica last week, as deputies searched her home, Kuehl said, "I had been texted last night by county counsel that there was a planned search of my house, maybe as early as 7 a.m."

READ ALSO | Warrants to search homes of Sheila Kuehl and others were properly obtained by LASD, judge rules

In his response to the court order, Max Fernandez, the lead investigator for the sheriff's department, said Kuehl received a text message from her Chief of Staff saying Acting County Counsel Dawyn Harrison called her because Harrison had "been informed the sheriff may obtained a search warrant for your home and Patti G's."

The text message continues, saying, "I told her this was last week's news. She wanted to make sure you were aware. Per the informant, the warrant is for 7 am tomorrow. Let me know if you want me to do anything. May still be a hoax, and then again, you never know."

On Thursday, the judge in the case ordered LASD to turn over any items seized in the searches to the California Attorney General's Office, who has taken over the investigation after many have claimed it's politically motivated and that it's an effort by Sheriff Alex Villanueva to target those who have been critical of his department.

The sheriff's probe focuses on allegations that Kuehl helped steer a series of no-bid contracts to the nonprofit Peace Over Violence, which is run Giggans, who's a close friend of Kuehl's.

At the Civilian Oversight Committee meeting Friday, Eyewitness News attempted to ask Giggans about whether she knew about the raid on her home, but she did not wish to comment.

ABC7 cameras, however, captured an exchange with an attendee on video in which the attendee shakes Giggans' hand and says, "It was very wrong what they did to you."

Giggans responded, saying, "They did a lot of wrong."

The attendee continues and says, "Well the fact that they're taking evidence of what they're being investigated for definitely shows that he has something to hide."

"The attorney general has taken it all," said Giggans.

Earlier at the meeting, the committee passed a resolution expressing concern about the raid on Giggans, asking the sheriff's department to disband the public corruption unit and return to traditional practices of allowing outside investigative agencies - without a conflict of interest - to conduct such investigations.

"I think I speak for this entire commission when I say that you have 100% of our support as you battle this outrageous and unfair example of abuse of power that came into your own home and I am so sorry about it," said one of the commissioners.

The commission also shared that some of their witnesses and some of those who have been subpoenaed have been victims of witness intimidation, sharing a photo of an alleged vehicle that followed someone after they testified.

Villanueva has insisted he recused himself from the investigation, but he's been outspoken, defending it, which has raised questions. He has also accused county Inspector General Max Huntsman of tipping off Kuehl, which has not been proven and is something Huntsman denies.

Meanwhile, Keuhl responded to reports in a series of tweets, saying LASD "had no legal right to go through" texts on either her county-issued phone or personal phone "for information related to this purported leak."