Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva is calling for California’s attorney general to investigate how a pair of county officials were tipped off about warrants to search their homes on Wednesday.
The sheriff said that Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl and Los Angeles County Civilian Oversight Commissioner Patti Giggans were both illegally tipped off that there were search warrants for their homes.
The warrants are related to a public corruption investigation.
Kuehl held a press conference outside her Santa Monica home after sheriff’s deputies went inside to execute the search warrant, calling the probe a “bogus non-investigation.”
She revealed to the media that she had been told about the warrant the previous night by L.A. County Inspector General Max Huntsman as well as an unnamed county attorney.
Villanueva called for an investigation in a letter to Attorney General Rob Bonta (D), accusing the county officials who tipped off Kuehl of “illegally alerting them.”
“The illegal acts committed by Mr. Huntsman and County Counsel have potentially comprised the integrity of this criminal investigation including, but not limited to, the concealment or destruction of evidence,” Villanueva wrote in his letter.
The sheriff asked the attorney general to open an investigation into potential felony violations “regarding interference into a criminal investigation” and alert the sheriff’s office when it had done so.
Villanueva remarked to Fox News that the situation is “alarming and sad.”
Kuehl, 81, has been a strong proponent of stringent COVID restrictions over the last year.
In July, she referred to those who oppose mask mandates as “snowflake weepies” during a Board of Supervisors meeting.
“I don’t hear them writing me about shoes, which are actually more oppressive to your feet than wearing a mask on your face, but we do that really for health or the requirement to wear a shirt when you enter a restaurant,” Kuehl said.
In 2020, Kuehl sparked outrage when she was spotted dining outdoors just hours after voting to ban outdoor dining in Los Angeles County.
She had described outdoor dining as “a most dangerous situation” during a public meeting that day. Later in the day, she was seen dining at an Italian restaurant in Santa Monica.
Villanueva also noted that when detectives arrived at Giggins’ home, Giggins answered the door with her attorney.
“It was obvious both were already aware of the search warrant and were waiting for detectives to arrive,” the sheriff wrote.
“I do not have to explain the alleged criminal, administrative and ethical laws which were broken by Mr. Huntsman and the currently unidentified person(s) employed by County Counsel,” Villanueva wrote.
“We are confident phone records will soon reveal any text messages received by Ms. Kuehl and Ms. Giggins, which illegally alerted them to the search warrant, as well as the intent behind their actions,” he added.
The public corruption investigation reportedly involves allegations of a conflict of interest in awarding a contract for a Metro sexual harassment hotline. Giggans runs the nonprofit Peace Over Violence, which ran the hotline. She and Kuehl are close friends.
“Everybody’s going to say, ‘Well she must’ve done something or they wouldn’t have come to her house. No,” Kuehl said during her impromptu press conference outside her home as deputies searched inside.
“This is all about a contract, which I had nothing to do with, and there’s no ongoing investigation. The sheriff should have better control of his department,” she said.