The lawsuit over a recall petition aimed at unseating District Attorney George Gascón is heading back to court Thursday in an ongoing dispute about the validity of the petition’s signatures.
After the Committee to Recall George Gascón submitted more than 715,000 names on a petition it circulated, the L.A. County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s Office deemed 196,000 signatures were invalid.
The county decision left the group short of the roughly 566,000 signatures needed, which prompted the recall group’s lawsuit that sought to review the county’s process that invalidated the signatures.
After the Committee to Recall George Gascón claimed a step toward victory in December with the granting of a preliminary injunction, county Registrar Dean Logan filed an appeal.
The recall committee also alleges Logan’s office is violating the court order while employing a “run-out-the-clock strategy,” in a statement shared with The Signal via email.
Through a spokesman for his office, Logan flatly denied the claims from the recall group regarding the office’s efforts and compliance with the order.
“The news release is full of innuendo and unsubstantiated/unqualified allegations,” Mike Sanchez, spokesman for the L.A. County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s Office, wrote in an email Monday. “Our office has been and will continue to facilitate the recall proponents’ opportunity to review the petition review as provided by law.”
A statement from the recall committee and court filings indicated the group’s frustration over claims that the registrar’s office has refused to comply with Judge James Chalfant’s injunction, a court order that called for the office’s cooperation, which, the spokesman alleged, the recall group hasn’t received.
“In furtherance of a run-out-the-clock strategy, the registrar is now seeking to improperly appeal basic public records requests, which would effectively drag on the review for years and nullify its purpose entirely,” according to a statement by Tim Lineberger, spokesman for the committee.
He added Monday that the committee successfully filed a motion for an expedited court date, or calendar preference, which means oral arguments on the appeal will be heard in court July 13.
Logan also announced in March that he referred concerns his office caught over 367 fraudulent signatures — names of people believed to be deceased before the petition’s circulation period — to the state Attorney General’s Office for investigation.
Lineberger referred to Logan’s calling out of 0.0512% of the signatures submitted as fraudulent as a “last-ditch effort.”
The committee would need to prove the registrar’s office erroneously discounted approximately 46,000 of the 195,783 signatures disqualified, in order to effect a recall election.
Thursday’s status conference in downtown Los Angeles is set for 9:30 a.m.