An attorney convicted of federal bribery for his role in the ongoing Los Angeles Power and Water Department corruption investigation has asked an Arizona bankruptcy judge for permission to take a deposition of LA City Attorney Mike Feuer.
Paul O. Paradis, who pleaded guilty in Los Angeles in January in the bribery case, made the request under a court rule that could allow Feuer’s sworn testimony and the discovery of various documents from take place before it usually does. be permitted in pre-trial proceedings.
The judge on Tuesday denied the special request, but said Feuer’s testimony and documents would likely be relevant and part of the regular discovery that takes place in bankruptcy proceedings.
Paradis filed for bankruptcy, and the city of Los Angeles filed a related lawsuit seeking to recover millions of dollars paid to Paradis through an allegedly corrupt contract.
Paradis’ attorney, Alan Meda, told the court on Tuesday that he and his client requested the special discovery procedure because they were focused on finding out more about a Dec. 1, 2017 meeting, in which City Attorney’s Office officials reportedly discussed how to cover up legal misconduct in handling lawsuits stemming from the LA DWP’s overbilling debacle.
“That meeting on December 1, 2017, is the meeting that Mr. Feuer was at,” Meda said in a phone hearing.
“First [Feuer] denied knowing anything about it, then when his calendar confirmed he was at the meeting, he then denied, denied remembering anything about it,” Meda said.
The I-Team reported Monday that Feuer’s schedule indicated he was scheduled to attend that Dec. 1, 2017 meeting, but Feuer’s office said the city attorney did not recall the meeting and denies knowing. anything at the time about misconduct or criminal activity.
“The City Attorney has no specific recollection of this meeting – more than four years ago – but was certainly not informed then, or at any time, of any criminal offense” , said Rob Wilcox, director of community engagement and outreach at Feuer. and its spokesperson.
“When the city’s attorney first learned in 2019 that outside attorneys had assisted opposing counsel in suing the city, he immediately made that evidence public,” Wilcox said.
Paradis’ attorney told the bankruptcy judge on Tuesday that he believed Feuer was involved in the “collusive litigation strategy that resulted in the Jones settlement.”
“Jones” refers to a lawsuit titled Antwon Jones against the City of Los Angeles, which was upheld in a court inquiry last year as a “mock trial”, in which the city attempted to control the terms of massive legal settlement. with DWP customers who had been overcharged.
“We are very concerned about the destruction of these documents, concerned about the disappearance of these documents,” Meda told the judge, explaining why his request was urgent.
A lawyer representing the City of Los Angeles in the bankruptcy proceedings called Paradis’ request “unsubstantiated allegations by a convicted criminal”, and said that Paradis and his lawyer were “just throwing mud to create a distraction from the underlying trial.
“They’re trying to conduct a fishing expedition, rather than following the rules of procedure,” attorney Michael Jones said.
Meda said the exploration of City records and Feuer’s testimony regarding the Dec. 1, 2017 meeting were relevant because they may show the City has a conflict of interest in the lawsuit it filed. against Paradise.
Another participant in that Dec. 1, 2017, meeting, former City Attorney’s Office attorney Thomas Peters, pleaded guilty in Los Angeles on Tuesday to a federal extortion charge.
Paradise’ pleaded guilty to a bribery charge for accepting a $2.2 million bribe for hiring another attorney to file the so-called “sham lawsuit” against the DWP.