General Crime

* Michael Gressett former Contra Costa County Deputy District Attorney sexual assault allegations

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The attorney representing Michael Gressett, a former Contra Costa County Deputy District Attorney accused of raping a colleague in 2008, said today that he will file a motion seeking to have the case against his client dismissed.In his motion, Gressett’s attorney Michael Kotin said he will be making many of the same arguments that won Gressett, 54, a wrongful termination lawsuit Monday in which arbitrator Norman Brand dismissed all six of the reasons cited by the district attorney’s office for firing Gressett.

Among those reasons were the sexual assault allegations.Brand ordered the county to immediately reinstate Gressett and to pay him back pay, reimburse him for any medical or dental expenses that would have been paid for through his employee benefits and to foot the bill for all legal fees associated with the civil case.Gressett is still facing a 13-count criminal indictment alleging that he raped and sodomized a colleague at gunpoint during a lunch break at his home in Martinez on May 8, 2008.

The state Attorney General’s Office is prosecuting the case.Gressett has said from the beginning that the sex he had with the alleged victim, referred to as Jane Doe in court documents, was consensual and that he is innocent of all the charges.Gressett was fired from his job as a sex crimes prosecutor for the county in July 2009 and later filed a wrongful termination claim.In his 26-page ruling, Brand said there did not appear to be any direct evidence that would prove the sexual assault charges against Gressett and that Jane Doe made numerous conflicting and inconsistent statements about the alleged rape.

He also wrote that several of Jane Doe’s statements were contradicted by factual evidence such as medical records.Brand also wrote that Jane Doe, who received a $450,000 settlement from the county after she filed a complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, had reasons to lie about the alleged assault, including her fears that she would lose her job.At the time, Jane Doe was a contract employee with the district attorney’s office. Her contract was set to expire at the end of the year and she did not believe she would be hired as a permanent prosecutor, according to Brand.

Brand also said that he agreed with Gressett, who said during his opening statements in the civil case that the sexual assault charges against him were politically motivated.According to the ruling, Gressett said that the investigation and pursuit of the charges against him had been “tainted by political animosity” because he had run for district attorney against then-District Attorney Robert Kochly and supported the current District Attorney Mark Peterson in his election campaign.”The investigation into the allegations against Grievant (Gressett) was directed only towards finding evidence to support the charges,” Brand wrote.

“Exculpatory evidence was ignored; contradictions in testimony were not explored; the law enforcement protocol for handling cases involving a prosecutorial agency was not followed.”Kotin said he is still evaluating how Brand’s ruling in the civil case will impact the criminal case against Gressett, but believes that the ruling itself is significant.”For the whole time this case has been pending, we’ve never been able to get someone to independently evaluate it from both sides,” Kotin said. “This is the first time this has been done and the result is overwhelming statements that the charges against Mr. Gressett are not believable and are not true and everything that Mr. Gressett has been saying is true.”

“A torpedo certainly hit their (the prosecution’s) ship and it’s sinking,” said Mark Harrison, an investigator on Gressett’s case.He added that when it comes down to it, “Michael Gressett is the true victim in this case.”Kotin said he is planning to file his motion to dismiss the criminal case as soon as he receives a schedule for the next court appearance.In January, a new judge was appointed to the case after Kotin raised several concerns about the ability of the previous judge to be fair and independent.

The new judge, retired Santa Clara County Judge Thomas Hastings, will replace retired Alameda County Judge Carlos Ynostroza.Deputy Attorney General Peter Flores Jr., who is prosecuting the case, did not return phone calls seeking comment.Peterson also could not be reached for comment about whether Gressett will go back to work or be placed on paid administrative leave.Kotin and Harrison, however, said he would most likely be placed on paid administrative leave, at least for now.

Copyright © 2011 by Bay City News, Inc. Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.

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