As gag order goes into effect, plenty speak out on Perez conflict accusations

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In a high profile case concerning one elected public official accusing another elected public official of a conflict of interest crime, the district attorney’s office was granted a gag order Friday.

That means no one involved can speak anymore about the two misdemeanor charges Supervisor Leticia Perez is facing.

17 News had the only cameras in the courtroom Friday, perhaps the last time cameras will be allowed to cover this case in court.

“This prosecution appears to be discriminatory,” said criminal defense attorney H.A. Sala Tuesday.

“This is a bogus prosecution, we intend to take it to them, and Ms. Perez is innocent,” Sala said Wednesday.  

It was these words and others from Supervisor Leticia Perez’s attorney Sala that prosecutors say led them to file for a gag order Thursday.

Our cameras were rolling Friday as the order came down from Judge Charles Brehmer.

Now no attorneys, investigators or witnesses can speak on the case–according to the DA’s office, to ensure both sides receive a fair trail by an impartial jury.

Fifth District Supervisor Leticia Perez is accused of having a conflict of interest due to her husband’s marijuana work, when she voted last fall to bring the marijuana industry to Kern.

“The evidence led us to these charges, it has nothing to do with political persecution,” said District Attorney Lisa Green Tuesday announcing the charges. 

However the Mexican American Legal and Educational Defense Fund (MALDEF), the civil rights attorneys who won a redistricting case against Kern earlier this year, disagrees.

In a letter sent Thursday, MALDEF asked State Attorney General Xavier Becerra to investigate the Kern County District Attorney’s office to see if charges were filed against Perez as political retaliation.

Green would not comment on the letter Friday, citing the gag order her office requested. 

Labor rights icon Dolores Huerta fully supports MALDEF and Perez.

On Tuesday, Huerta and supporters of Perez are planning a rally at the Liberty Bell at 8AM, with the goal of escorting Perez to the board of supervisors meeting.

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