LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – A judge ruled Thursday that Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti must submit to a deposition in the case of his former deputy chief of staff who has been sued by a Los Angeles police officer for sexual harassment.
In July, Officer Matthew Garza, a 23-year veteran of the LAPD who worked as part of Garcetti’s security detail from 2014 to 2019, filed a lawsuit alleging that Garcetti’s former advisor Rick Jacobs subjected him to sexually explicit comments and unwanted physical contact.
Garza alleges Jacobs subjected him on “hundreds of occasions to unwanted and unwelcome sexual comments and touching,” including tight hugs and shoulder rubbing.
L.A. County Superior Court Judge Ruth A. Kwan said Thursday that while she understands Garcetti is in charge of the second largest city in the nation during a pandemic, she would like the first part of the questioning of the mayor by Officer Matthew Garza’s attorneys to take place sometime in January.
“It’s extremely probative and he should be deposed,” the judge said.
Garza submitted a sworn declaration in support of the motion to compel the deposition, in which he said Garcetti “was present on numerous occasions when Jacobs subjected me to these unwanted comments and touchings, including on occasions when it was only the mayor, Rick Jacobs and myself in a vehicle, as would be the case when I was driving the mayor somewhere and Jacobs was accompanying the mayor to his destination.”
Garza maintains that on multiple occasions when he was driving, Garcetti was seated in the front passenger or back seat of the car with Jacobs. The officer alleges that Jacobs massaged his shoulders, told him he was strong, commented about having “rough sex” with his gay partners and spoke about his preference for younger men.
“Mayor Garcetti, who directly observed this inappropriate behavior, never took any action to stop Jacobs from touching me or making these comments,” Garza says in his declaration. “In fact, on many occasions I heard Mayor Garcetti laugh in response to Jacobs’ comments…”
In October, journalist and former political fixer Yashar Ali published a piece alleging that Jacobs harassed him at various political functions over the course of 10 years, until 2015.
In response to the piece, Jacobs said he was taking “leave” from his nonprofit work and volunteer activities.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)