Sheila Kuehl

Judge Extends Pause on LA County Sheriff's Search of Sheila Kuehl and Others

Items seized can’t be examined for now. A judge says a special master is needed to filter out privileged material before investigation continues

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A Los Angeles Superior Court judge said Thursday he extended an order pausing any examination of computers, hard drives, phones or other items seized during searches of L.A. County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl’s home, office and other locations.

Judge William C. Ryan said a special master would be needed to filter out any attorney-client or other privileged material from the seized items before a criminal investigation can proceed.

Ryan also said he was satisfied that the sheriff’s detective who obtained the warrant served Sept. 14 followed the law, and put off argument.

Sheriff’s investigators served the warrant that day at Kuehl’s home and office, and at the home and office of Patti Giggans, who runs the non-profit “Peace Over Violence” and was appointed to a sheriff’s oversight commission by Kuehl. Detectives also searched the office of the Metro transit agency’s inspector general. 

Sheriff Alex Villanueva has said the warrant was part of an investigation into his belief that Kuehl improperly influenced the award of a Metro transit agency contract to Giggans’ non-profit.

Kuehl has said repeatedly she had no role in the contract because it was managed independently by Metro.

On Tuesday, the California Attorney General’s office said it was taking the case away from the sheriff’s department, and in court Thursday the sheriff’s department promised to hand over all of the materials it seized within two weeks. 

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