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Former Spokeswoman For Garcetti Calls For Him To Face Charges Over Rick Jacobs Scandal

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – A former spokeswoman for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has called on state and federal authorities to prosecute him over his claims that he was unaware of the sexual misconduct allegations levied against one of his aides.

According to the Los Angeles Times, attorneys for Naomi Seligman sent a complaint to the U.S. Department of Justice, the L.A. County District Attorney's Office and the California Attorney General's Office alleged that Garcetti was in fact aware for years of the purported inappropriate behavior of his longtime senior adviser, Rick Jacobs, and ignored it and attempted to cover it up.

The nonprofit law firm Whistleblower Aid filed the complaint on behalf of Seligman, who says she was forcibly kissed by Jacobs.

Last July, the 51-year-old Garcetti was nominated by President Joe Biden to be the ambassador to India. In January, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted to move forward with Garcetti's nomination. It now sits before the full Senate, which will vote at a later date on whether to confirm Garcetti.

During an appearance before the Senate committee on Dec. 14, Garcetti defended himself against the allegations that he knew about Jabobs' behavior. 

"I want to say unequivocally that I never witnessed, nor was it brought to my attention, that behavior that has been alleged," Garcetti said. "And I also want to assure you that if it had been, I would have immediately taken action to stop that."

Jacobs served as Garcetti's deputy chief of staff from 2013 to 2016. In July of 2020, a Los Angeles police officer who had worked as part of Garcetti's security detail from 2014-19 filed a lawsuit making allegations against Jacobs, from sexually explicit comments to unwanted physical contact.

Then in October of 2020, journalist and former political fixer Yashar Ali alleged that Jacobs had harassed him at various political functions over the course of 10 years, ending in 2015.

Immediately following that revelation, Jacobs announced he was stepping down from his nonprofit work and volunteer activities with the mayor.

In December of 2020, a judge ordered Garcetti to submit to a deposition in the LAPD officer's lawsuit. In his sworn testimony in February, Garcetti denied witnessing or having any knowledge of Jacobs' behavior, according to the Times.

However, according to report in New York Magazine in December, four people who worked with both Garcetti and Jacobs, including Seligman, told the magazine that the mayor was aware of Jacobs' behavior.

"I saw the harassment and inappropriate touching," Seligman told New York Magazine at the time. "I experienced it, I reported it, and nothing was done. So on top of the toxic environment that Rick created in and around city hall, people were forced to tolerate his harassment, to the point of pretending it wasn't happening at all."

The mayor's office told the Times in a statement:

"There is nothing new here, and these false claims about the mayor are just as ridiculous now as they were when they were first made. The mayor stands by his testimony unequivocally, and more than a dozen witnesses have testified under oath that he was never made aware of any improper behavior."

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