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LA County sheriff's deputies search home of Supervisor Sheila Kuehl

Sheriff's serve controversial search warrant for Supervisor Sheila Kuehl's home
Sheriff's serve controversial search warrant for Supervisor Sheila Kuehl's home 04:13

A search warrant was served Wednesday morning at the Santa Monica home of Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl.

(credit: CBS)

Sky 2 was over the scene and spotted Kuehl walking around in black lounge pants and shirt. Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies served the warrant.

A representative for Kuehl said they were surprised by the search warrant, and it's not clear yet why it was served.

Kuehl, who has clashed repeatedly with Sheriff Alex Villanueva and called for his resignation, said she was escorted from her Santa Monica at around 7 a.m. She said she was alone at the time.

"So this is all bogus and harassment and frankly, I have to say I'm pretty good for an 81 year old," Kuehl said. "But to be waken from sleep when you're 5 feet tall and you're 81 and there's a dozen clanking deputies -- it shakes you."

In a statement, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department confirmed that detectives from its Public Corruption Unit served search warrants at Kuehl's home, and the home of Los Angeles County Civilian Oversight Commissioner Patricia "Patti" Giggans, Offices at the Los Angeles County Hall of Administration, Peace Over Violence headquarters, and LA Metro headquarters were also searched.

The probe was focused on a contract awarded by Metro to the Peace Over Violence organization for the operation of a sexual-harassment hotline, according to Kuehl. As a member of the Board of Supervisors, Kuehl sits on Metro's Board of Directors.

Kuehl says the investigation was launched after a disgruntled former employee at Metro who became obsessed with a contract with Peace Over Violence related to sexual harassment. She had claimed the supervisor had something to do with the contract, which Kuehl said was false.

An affidavit released by the sheriff's department states that "the personal relationship between Kuehl and Giggans was one of the factors causing a 'whistleblower' complaint to question whether there may be a conflict of interest." The affidavit also noted that a series of "sole source" contracts were awarded by MTA to Peace Over Violence, totaling more than $890,000.

Kuehl said she was notified by an attorney for the county Tuesday night that the sheriff's department was planning to show up at her home Wednesday morning.

"Today's early morning search of my home was a thuggish attempt to intimidate and silence not just me, but many other public servants who are working hard to rebuild the trust between law enforcement and the communities it is supposed to serve," Kuehl said in a statement released Wednesday afternoon. 

She also criticized the direction she alleges the department is headed, claiming it is rife with "wrongful death and excessive force lawsuits which have to be paid for with taxpayer money."

The Board of Supervisors and the sheriff have clashed ever since he was elected, and he is facing reelection in November. Kuehl claims this is retaliation for her criticism.

"So it's kind of like the sheriff has sworn to get his enemies, he said he's gonna open an investigation into everybody. A criminal investigation into Max [Huntsman], you know, our inspector general, which he never did, criminal investigation into those of us who have been critical of him on the board, which he never did. There's no investigation," Kuehl said.

Villanueva has not commented on Kuehl's statements.

Sheriff's officials say the investigation has been shared with an unspecified federal agency, and "they continue to monitor."

No further comment was given about the case, and sheriff's officials say it remains an active investigation.

A copy of the search warrant was released by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, and it says Villanueva has recused himself from the investigation. However, a letter recently posted to LASD's website, from Villanueva himself, urges California Attorney General Rob Bonta to provide additional investigation.

The Los Angeles District Attorney's office shared a statement on the search warrant Wednesday evening, which read in part:

"We reviewed the case and determined that the state of the evidence at that time did not prove criminal conduct beyond a reasonable doubt. ... "LASD indicated that they would continue to investigate. We have not had additional contact on the matter and were not consulted or aware of the search warrants that were served today. In this case, because we did not review the warrant beforehand, we do not intend to defend it if challenged in court."

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