Ever since a search warrant was made for LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl’s residence (and four other places) just a few days ago, things have been interesting in the Southern California political world. Kuehl gave an unplanned, live interview within an hour after LA Sheriff's Department deputies and FBI agents showed up at her house and she revealed that she'd been informed about the raid the night prior by the county counsel. Due to that tip-off, Sheriff Alex Villanueva asked to have the CA Attorney General conduct an investigation to determine whether Kuehl was in fact tipped off and whether or not crimes occurred. Then Attorney General Bonta agreed to do so but went one step further. He removed the entire investigation from Villanueva's office because of Kuehl's claims that the two-year inquiry was politically motivated.
The parties had to appear in court Thursday for a hearing about if the warrant was legal, and to hear rulings on the various motions concerning returning electronic items that were taken and the transfer of the investigation file to the Office of the Attorney General. The question of whether Kuehl was illegally or improperly alerted was not discussed in detail in the hearing, however it was reported by the LA Times:
Of the items seized, sheriff’s investigators have reviewed 250 text messages and two voicemails on Kuehl’s phones related to her being tipped off the night before the raid, the judge said.
Kuehl's lawyer remarked the attorney was “gravely concerned” that those text messages and voicemails had been examined by sheriff's detectives. However, a reporter from Courthouse News Service said that Judge William Ryan said that the claim that Kuehl was informed of the incident is serious:
It’s a very serious allegation, that the supervisor had been tipped off that search was coming. That’s not nothing. It’s a potential felony.
An anonymous source who supplied fake court documents in connection with Kuehl's being tipped off to KFI journalist Steve Gregory, the investigation certainly has traveled.
Gregory was on the 5 pm hour of the John and Ken Show Thursday, shortly after having a meeting with his source in a parking area “at an undisclosed location” and read the contents of two texts sent to Sheila Kuehl in the evening on the 13th of September 2022, the night before the warrants to search were executed.
A text message from September 13, 2022, at 10:17 p.m. sent by Lisa Mandel, Kuehl's chief of staff, to Kuehl and her friend Tori Osborn (who was pictured with Kuehl in front of Kuehl’s house that morning) says, in the words of Gregory:
Just got a call from Dawn Harrison. She’s been informed that the sheriff may have obtained a search warrant for your home and Patti G’s. I told her this was last week’s news. She wanted to make sure you were aware. Per the informant, the warrant is for 7 a.m. tomorrow. Let me know if you want me to do anything. It may still be a hoax, but then again, you never know. Feel free to call any time.
Dawn Harrison, acting county counsel for County of Los Angeles, is acting as the lawyer for the whole Board of Supervisors in general. When Mandel declares “I told her this was last week's news,” she's likely to be referring back to “the LA Times” tipping Kuehl off the week prior, as Kuehl mentioned it in the notorious live interview.
Then Harrison herself was texting Kuehl around 11:41 p.m. in the evening. According to the report Gregory read, the text message read:
Got it. This was the first my team had heard of it. Max called CoCo tonight with his “intel.” Just wanted to make sure you were aware. Should anything come of this in the morning, Cheryl O’Connor is on standby. If you need her, she will be there.
“Max” refers to Max Huntsman, who is the county Inspector General, and Gregory says “CoCo” refers to “county counsel.” Cheryl O'Connor is the legal counsel for Kuehl's Supervisory office, which is mentioned earlier.
Gregory said that the document stated that there are “25 different text messages relating to the above topic and two voicemails, also on the evening of September 13th, 2022. Both stated she had an urgent matter she needed to discuss with Supervisor Kuehl.”
According to the detectives Gregory talked to, If the text messages are genuine they reveal criminal activity worthy of a felony.
He said that Sheriff’s Sgt. Max Fernandez, who wrote the statement of probable cause that was presented to Judge Craig Richman ahead of last week’s raids, attempted to get the warrants signed Sept. 8 by another judge who had handled proceedings related to earlier warrants in the case.
That judge, Eleanor Hunter, was on vacation. So Fernandez went to the bailiff’s office and was directed to another open court, which happened to be that of Richman, Ryan found.
“Detective Fernandez did not select Judge Richman,” Ryan wrote. “At the time, Detective Fernandez did not know Judge Richman and had never heard of him before.”
That's a lot of deflections from Supervisor Kuehl.