'Woke' California prosecutor 'ironically in charge of ethics' charged with felonies

Left-wing Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon’s right-hand woman is facing nearly 11 felony charges after state prosecutors say she helped herself to confidential information about 11 deputies as far back as 2018 and took it with her when she left the sheriff’s office to work for the DA three years later.

Diana Teran is accused of accessing a sheriff’s office database about its deputies when she worked there and then taking that information with her to the district attorney’s office to work for Gascon, who was elected on an anti-police platform. Under Gascon, she “impermissibly” used the improperly obtained data to assist, according to the California Attorney General’s Office.

During a controversial tenure in the DA’s office, she allegedly used some of that information to help criminal defendants and stifled line prosecutors under her.

A law enforcement source told Fox News Digital that the case had been referred to the state attorney general’s office due to a conflict of interest, indicating Teran remained the leader of the office’s ethics and integrity unit for months despite an investigation into her own conduct. In that role, she was in charge of divisions that prosecuted misconduct allegations against police and other public officials.

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Diana Teran mugshot

Diana Teran, the former head of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office’s ethics and integrity unit, is pictured in an April booking photo after her arrest on 11 felony charges for allegedly taking and/or misusing data on sheriff’s deputies without authorization. (Los Angeles County)

“She illegitimately accessed the officers’ files while with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department,” Tatiana Chahoian, a deputy district attorney who told Fox News Digital in March that Gascon sent an armed plainclothes investigator to intimidate her at her home after an unrelated whistleblowing incident. “Then she came to the district attorney’s office and used all that information against the officers.”

In one case that Chahoian prosecuted, she said a woman who took a felony plea deal after breaking another woman’s clavicle in a road rage fight was involved in a separate use-of-force incident with the deputy while holding her baby.

Teran allegedly withheld the entire case file as well as video evidence from the DA’s office, including Chahoian, who was handling the proceedings. In bodycam video that Sheriff Robert Luna later released, a DUI suspect can be seen arguing with deputies who pulled her boyfriend over in a DUI stop and found the infant without a car seat or seat belt.

Tatiana Chahoian gives FOX 11 LA interview

Deputy Los Angeles District Attorney Tatiana Chahoian found herself in hot water after an interview with FOX 11 Los Angeles in which she blew the whistle on a memo about how to prosecute street racing and street “takeover” cases in the county. (FOX 11 Los Angeles)

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“The mother who was punched was a violent person and involved in multiple incidents,” Chahoian said. “But Teran wanted to screw over the deputy, so she made sure no one in the DA’s office had access to the actual video, including me, the assigned prosecutor.”

James Spertus, Teran’s attorney, previously told Fox News Digital he expected to clear his client and that the attorney general’s allegations would turn out to be a “very embarrassing” failure.

“I want the world to know that the AG’s office will face a very quick and expeditious loss on this sort of thoughtless legal theory that an official can be prosecuted for doing an official act,” he said. “It’s just really something that you wouldn’t expect in law enforcement today.”

California AG speaks to reporters wearing a suit

California Attorney General Rob Bonta speaks at a news conference at the state Capitol in Sacramento on Feb. 23, 2022. Bonta’s office has filed 11 felony charges against a top Los Angeles deputy district attorney who was the head of the county’s ethics and integrity unit. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

The allegations against Teran are believed to involve her alleged misappropriation of “Brady” material – information about police misconduct that must be turned over to defense attorneys.

“The controversy deepens now with allegations that Teran illegally introduced sensitive information into DA databases — information that she and Gascon knew would inevitably be shared with defense attorneys,” John McKinney, a veteran L.A. deputy district attorney who unsuccessfully ran to unseat Gascon in the recent primary election, wrote on X. “This alleged breach, committed by someone entrusted to uphold the highest legal standards, represents serious criminal acts and shows a void in judgment and leadership by Gascon.”

The Supreme Court ruled in 1963’s Brady v. Maryland case that prosecutors have to disclose “material evidence” that could help a defendant’s case, according to experts at Cornell Law School.

But that doesn’t mean they have to hand over all unflattering information about a given officer connected to a criminal case, and some of the information taken from the sheriff’s office is believed to have included unfounded or unsustained allegations.

District Attorney George Gascon Election

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon (Myung Chun/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images/File)

The criminal complaint accuses Teran of taking, copying or making use of data on 11 Los Angeles sheriff’s deputies without authorization.

“No one is above the law,” said Attorney General Rob Bonta, a Democrat, in a press release. “Public officials are called to serve the people and the State of California with integrity and honesty. At the California Department of Justice, we will continue to fight for the people of California and hold those who break the law accountable.”

The Association of Deputy District Attorneys, the county prosecutors’ union that has been openly critical of Gascon over his policies, slammed Gascon in a statement posted to its website.

“Her case is in its nascent stages,” the group’s vice president, Ryan Erlich, wrote. “But it is not too early to ask Gascón and his inner circle some key questions, beginning with ‘what did the District Attorney know and when did he know it?'”

Los Angeles County Sheriff squad car

The charges against top Los Angeles DA official Diana Teran allege she stole information on 11 deputies and “impermissibly” accessed it years later. (Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department)

The union also noted that another top Gascon aide, Joseph Iniguez, allegedly threatened an officer who arrested him on a public intoxication charge in 2021 and that Gascon’s three years of leadership have cost the county millions in civil cases. The union named both Iniguez and Teran in a lawsuit in 2022, alleging they both directed subordinates to break the law.

Rank-and-file prosecutors appeared to welcome the charges on social media.

“Have fun with your friends in prison, D!” Chahoian wrote.

Jonathan Hatami, another deputy district attorney who attempted to primary out Gascon, wrote that the charges against Teran show the DA’s leadership “is not right or fair.”

“And, it is also illegal,” he added.

“This is just the latest example of Gascon’s demonstrated record of poor judgment and lack of leadership in running the district attorney’s office,” Nathan Hochman, a former federal prosecutor who is running as an independent to unseat Gascon in November, told Fox News Digital. “He promoted Teran to his No. 3 in command, ironically in charge of ethics and integrity, despite legitimate objections from many experienced prosecutors.”

Gascon, in a statement, defended his Brady policy and said he would cooperate with state investigators.

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“When I took office, we developed a protocol that ensured we complied with our constitutional obligations under Brady, which requires us to turn over potentially exculpatory evidence to the defense, a category that includes law enforcement’s prior misconduct, while simultaneously complying with state and federal law around privacy,” he said. “I stand by that protocol.”

Fox News’ Bill Melugin and Adam Shaw contributed to this report.

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