Top Adviser to Los Angeles DA Gascon Hit With Felony Charges

Los Angeles assistant district attorney accused of illegally using confidential information.
Top Adviser to Los Angeles DA Gascon Hit With Felony Charges
Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón speaks in Los Angeles, Calif., on March 28, 2024. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
Zachary Stieber

A top prosecutor in the office of Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon was charged on April 24 with illegally using confidential information she obtained in a previous job.

Diana Teran, an assistant district attorney at Mr. Gascon’s office, accessed data including confidential law enforcement files in 2018 while she was employed by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, according to California Attorney General Rob Bonta.

Ms. Teran then illegally used that data after joining the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, Mr. Bonta said.

Ms. Teran was charged by the California Attorney General’s Office with 11 felony counts of unauthorized use of data from confidential, statutorily-protected peace officer files.

California’s penal code states in part that a person who “knowingly accesses and without permission alters, damages, deletes, destroys, or otherwise uses any data, computer, computer system, or computer network in order to either (A) devise or execute any scheme or artifice to defraud, deceive, or extort, or (B) wrongfully control or obtain money, property, or data” violates the law.

Each count carries a prison sentence of up to three years.

“No one is above the law,” Mr. Bonta, a Democrat, said in a statement. “Public officials are called to serve the people and the State of California with integrity and honesty. At the California Department of Justice, we will continue to fight for the people of California and hold those who break the law accountable.”

Ms. Teran could not be reached for comment.

In a statement to news outlets, Mr. Gascon, another Democrat, said that after he was sworn in on Dec. 7, 2020, his office “developed a protocol that ensured we complied with our constitutional obligations under Brady—which requires us to turn over potentially exculpatory evidence to the defense, a category that includes law enforcement’s prior misconduct—while simultaneously complying with state and federal law around privacy.”

“I stand by that protocol,” he added. “While we cannot comment on specific personnel matters, we will comply with any investigation from the Attorney General’s Office. I remain committed to upholding transparency and ensuring police accountability within Los Angeles County. These principles are paramount to the integrity of our work and the trust of the community we serve. We will address this matter with the utmost seriousness and diligence to uphold the values of justice and fairness.”

According to an organizational chart from Mr. Gascon’s office, Ms. Teran is one of three assistant district attorneys and works on matters touching on ethics and integrity. She reports to Chief Deputy District Attorney Joseph Inguez, who reports directly to Mr. Gascon.

An earlier lawsuit says that Ms. Teran chose to delay announcing that no criminal charges would be filed against a sheriff’s deputy because of then-Sheriff Alex Villaneuva’s re-election bid.

Amy Penta, assistant head deputy district attorney in Los Angeles, said in the suit that Ms. Teran “wanted the declination held back until after the sheriff’s election because Sheriff Villanueva had made public statements about the case.”

Mr. Villaneuva, who lost his re-election bid, and Mr. Gascon, who is competing in a runoff later this year, have publicly criticized each other in the past.

Mr. Gascon and Mr. Inguez were at the meeting where Ms. Teran announced her decision, according to Ms. Penta.

In another suit, filed this week, by a prosecutor within Mr. Gascon’s office, the district attorney was accused of dropping charges against a CEO of an election software company over politics.

Eric Neff, the prosecutor, said charges were dropped against Konnech CEO Eugene Yu because Mr. Gascon increasingly became concerned about gaining support from former President Donald Trump, a Republican.

The district attorney’s office declined to comment on the filing. “The office does not comment on personnel matters,” a spokesperson told The Epoch Times in an email.

Zachary Stieber is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in Maryland. He covers U.S. and world news. Contact Zachary at [email protected]