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Published on April 25, 2024
Los Angeles DA's Ethics Advisor, Diana Teran, Charged with 11 Felonies Amid Confidential File Misuse ClaimsSource: Unsplash/Tingey Injury Law Firm

A high-ranking official in the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office has been slapped with 11 felony charges by the California state attorney general. Diana Teran, who previously served as Ethics and Integrity Assistant District Attorney under DA George Gascón, stands accused of unlawfully using confidential police officer files, said Attorney General Rob Bonta. The development poses a potential distraction for Gascón amidst his campaign for reelection.

The allegations reach back to Teran's work in 2018 when she operated as a Constitutional Policing Advisor at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Bonta's office alleges that she accessed and later improperly utilized these confidential files after assuming her role within the LADA in January 2021. Teran's attorney has quickly fired back, stating that these charges are "dead on arrival," claiming she was merely fulfilling her duties of employment. Teran has also held positions in law enforcement monitoring with the Office of Inspector General and the L.A. County public defender’s office before ascending to her advisory role under Gascón, reported KTLA.

According to a press release by Bonta's office, "Public officials are called to serve the people and the State of California with integrity and honesty." The charges suggest a serious breach of trust by Teran, who oversaw cases laden with matters of public integrity, including allegations of police misconduct. The case's filings involve 11 unnamed sheriff's deputies and have fueled concern across the state’s legal landscape and could impact numerous active cases currently handled by Gascón’s office.

Details of the allegations remain limited, but they are tied to records that Teran allegedly downloaded while at the Sheriff's Department. These documents were believed to have been later provided to the discovery unit at the D.A.'s office, suggests a source familiar with the case quoted by the Los Angeles Times. Her attorney argues that this may all stem from Teran's efforts to compile the DA's "Brady List," a roster of law enforcement officers with credibility issues under the Supreme Court's landmark ruling that prosecutors must disclose such information. The timing is pivotal as California's transparency law - which makes serious use of force, sexual assault allegations, and dishonesty by officers a public record - wouldn't go into effect until after the alleged date of Teran's data access.

Villanueva, the former L.A. County Sheriff who frequently clashed with oversight figures, called the charges against Teran "a vindication of my administration" and signaled that more indictments may be forthcoming, as detailed in the Times. Adding to the storm surrounding these charges, Gascón's election opponent, Nathan Hochman, criticized Gascón for poor leadership and judgment in response to the news and highlighted the irony in Teran's charge over ethics and integrity.