General Crime

* Sexual Assault Charges Won’t Be Re-Filed Against Michael Gressett Sex Crimes Prosecutor

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The state Attorney General’s Office has confirmed it will not re-file charges against a Contra Costa County sex crimes prosecutor who was accused of raping a junior colleague in 2008. The office is not disclosing its reasons for the decision not to pursue new charges against longtime prosecutor Michael Gressett, 55, spokeswoman Lynda Gledhill said today. Charges were filed against Gressett in 2008 after a female colleague accused him of raping and sodomizing her at gunpoint at his
Martinez home during a lunch break in May of that year.

Last October, retired Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Thomas Hastings, who had been assigned to the case, dismissed a 13-count grand jury indictment against him. The judge said that while there was enough evidence to try Gressett, state prosecutors had not disclosed key facts to the grand jury, such as a $450,000 settlement the plaintiff had received in a civil suit against the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office or statements she had allegedly made after her encounter with Gressett that she was raped by strangers.

The attorney general’s office was prosecuting the case to avoid a conflict of interest on the part of the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office. Gressett and his defense attorneys have denied the allegations against him from the beginning, calling them politically motivated. One of the defense attorneys, Daniel Russo, said that the sexual relationship Gressett had with the plaintiff, referred to in court as Jane Doe, was purely consensual.

Today, Russo said that he is relieved but not surprised by the attorney general’s decision. “This is not a vindication on any level, it’s just a relief for (Gressett),” he said. “Now he’s been able to sleep for the first time since this started.” However, Russo said, his client’s life has been “destroyed” by the accusations. Gressett remains on paid administrative leave from the district attorney’s office after being fired for misconduct and then being rehired early last year.

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