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LA Mayor Eric Garcetti is ordered to be deposed as part of sexual harassment lawsuit filed by bodyguard LAPD cop against former top aide Rick Jacobs

 Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has been ordered by a judge to be deposed in a sexual harassment lawsuit against his former political adviser. 

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ruth Kwan on Thursday issued a decision that the mayor is to have his deposition taken no later than January 30 in connection to the lawsuit filed by his former bodyguard, LAPD officer Matthew Garza.

Garza has accused Garcetti's one-time deputy chief of staff Rick Jacobs of hugging him, touching him and making inappropriate comments for seven years. Jacobs has vehemently disputed these allegations. 

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti
Rick Jacobs

A Los Angeles judge has ruled that Mayor Eric Garcetti (left) is to have his deposition taken before January 30 in a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by his former bodyguard Matthew Garza, who accused one-time aide Rick Jacobs (right) of touching him 

The suit claims that Mayor Garcetti was present when many instances of the alleged harassment took place and failed to intervene. 

In October, Garcetti said he had cut ties with Jacobs, his longtime political confidant, and denied he had witnessed anything inappropriate.

The move came after journalist Yashar Ali, 40, came forward to accuse Jacobs of forcibly kissing him on the lips and hugging him several times over a period of more than ten years.

Attorneys representing the City of Los Angeles wanted to have lower-tier staff deposed ahead of the mayor. They also argued in filings that Garcetti has no 'personal factual information' about the allegations.

'[Garza] does not identify a single instance in which the mayor witnessed the alleged misconduct, instead alleging only that on multiple occasions the mayor was in close proximity to various kinds of alleged misconduct,' lawyers for the City Attorney's Office wrote, according to KABC.

But the judge ultimately sided with the plaintiff's lawyers in ruling to have Garcetti deposed, even as he is dealing with the coronavirus pandemic that has had a devastating impact on the nation's second largest city.  

Jacobs has denied all claims of misconduct
Journalist Yashar Ali

In October, Garcetti cut ties with Jacobs after journalist Yashar Ali (right) accused him of forcibly kissing and hugging him multiple times. Jacobs has denied all claims of misconduct 

Kwan said that during some of the incidents alleged by Garza, Garcetti 'was the only witness present,' and added that the mayor's possible 'failure to act' stop the harassment made him a critical witness, reported the Los Angeles Times. 

'It's extremely probative and he should be deposed,' the judge stated. 

According to court filings, Garza claimed that on one occasion Garcetti was in the car with Jacobs and himself when the top aide massaged his shoulders and made crude remarks

Garza's attorney, Greg Smith, told the Los Angeles Times that Garcetti personally witnessed multiple instances of harassment targeting a city employee and failed to protect him.    

Garcetti has denied seeing Jacbos allegedly making unwelcome advances at Garza. 

Garza, who worked as a bodyguard for Garcetti for seven years, filed the lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles in July, claiming sex/gender harassment and the existence of a hostile work environment in violation of the California Fair Housing and Employment Act.  

Garza became a member of the mayor's security detail in 2013 but over the following years, the suit claims, Garza was 'subjected to unwanted sexual harassment by Jacobs, who is openly gay'. 

It alleges that the harassment only let up for a brief period in 2016 when Jacobs was on a leave of absence from Garcetti's team of top advisors for an unknown reason. 

According to the suit, the harassment began in 2014 and continued up until October 2019.

Yashar Ali attempted to confront Jacobs about his alleged behavior in a series of texts in July, after Garza sued the city over sexual harassement

Yashar Ali attempted to confront Jacobs about his alleged behavior in a series of texts in July, after Garza sued the city over sexual harassement 

It claims Jacobs would pull Garza into a 'long, tight hug' while making an 'inappropriate comment' such as '"you’re so strong and handsome"; "your muscles are so tight"; "I love me my strong LAPD officers".'

Garza said it made him 'extremely uncomfortable'.

'Over a dozen occasions, both while Jacobs was employed by the city and after he left city employment, staffers in Mayor Garcetti’s office apologized to [Garza] for Jacobs’ harassing conduct,' the suit states.

'Nevertheless, the mayor’s office never took any action to stop Jacobs’ harassment of [Garza].'

The officer says he eventually decided to leave the security detail in June because of Jacobs' behavior.

Jacob, who according to the Los Angeles Times raised millions of dollars in support of Garcetti’s 2013 mayoral campaign, dismissed Garza's lawsuit as 'pure fiction.'

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