LOS ANGELES – A special adviser to the district attorney, George Gascón, is accused of going behind the back of the prosecutor and the victim’s family in a gang murder case to present a secret plea to the accused in the case via his public defender , which serves on Gascón’s public policy committee.
The alleged offer comes in the case of the People of the State of California vs Rudy Dominguez.
Dominguez, a suspected gang member, was charged with murder in the alleged shooting of 26-year-old Fernando Rojo in South Los Angeles in 2016.
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Prosecutors say Rojo was shot in a case of false identity when the alleged gang members mistaken him and a group of men with whom he was standing together as the people responsible for a shooting that killed one of their gang members. .
It appears that a court transcript of a recent trial in the case on December 15, obtained by FOX 11, implies that Mario Trujillo, a special adviser to Gascón, became involved in the case and made an offer.
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The transcript includes Dominguez’s public defender Traci Blackburn, the deputy district attorney prosecuting Jeffrey Herring, and the judge presiding over the case, Mark S. Arnold.
In the transcript, Tiffany Townend Blacknell is mentioned, who also worked with Blackburn in the public defender’s office and represented Dominguez until Blackburn recently took over.
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Blacknell also serves on Gascón’s public policy committee.
According to the transcript, Blackburn indicated that Mario Trujillo, Gascón’s special adviser, was the DA in the case, instead of Herring saying: “Herring is not the lawyer in this case, it was Mr Trujillo. We have “I thought that was what we would do today.”
Deputy DA Herring then replied: “It is news to me that I am not the lawyer in this case.”
Blackburn then says to the judge: ‘There is an offer I made to Mr. Dominguez transferred. ‘
“From whom does the offer come?” Ask Judge Arnold. “Mr. Trujillo” Blackburn replied … to which the judge said: “Trujillo? I do not know who it is”.
Blackburn told the judge that Trujillo ‘had been in contact with Mrs. at least before the date. Blacknell and an offer I made to my client. ‘
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The judge asks “what was the offer?” Blackburn responds with ‘seven years’ and adds that it’s news to her if there is no offer.
“We were blinded at first, we had never heard of anything. From what we knew, it was a pre-trial, they tried to get everything together, then suddenly it was like there was a 7 year plea on the table, no one even spoke to us, how is it that our beloved is worth 7 years? ‘said the sister-in-law, Amy Rojo, of the victim.
Attorney Sam Dordulian, who represents the Rojo family pro bono, was in the courtroom on Monday for a follow-up hearing intended to clear up the confusion. It was a trial that did not turn up by Trujillo, Blacknell and Blackburn after the transcript leaked.
“It’s the kind of back door awkward deal that’s just completely inappropriate, and yet it’s been done in this case, or yet they tried to do it,” Dordulian said.
During the trial, a supervisor in the DA’s hardcore gang unit explained to the judge that any offer by Trujillo was invalid because it never went through him or the right channels in accordance with the DA office protocols.
“Mario Trujillo bypassed it all, avoided it all, never once called the DA who was actually prosecuting the case. The judge asked this morning if Mario Trujillo ever called you? Talked to you about this case? And the DA did not. once said. ” When Judge Arnold was informed that the agreement was invalid, it was said: “This is a good thing … because I can not look at myself in the mirror with a seven-year plea on this matter.”
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FOX 11 reached out to Gascón’s team to request this alleged secret agreement, but they declined to comment.
The judge in this case also refused to waive gun improvements and special circumstances.