A judge ruled Thursday that Los Angeles City Councilman José Huízar can’t face deposition in a harassment lawsuit filed by a former aide until an FBI criminal investigation involving him comes to a resolution.
The Los Angeles Times reported that the judge allowed the retaliation and workplace harassment lawsuit to proceed but said that the former staffer cannot seek information that needs to be verified by Huízar until after the federal probe ends.
Pauline Medina alleges in the lawsuit that she was pushed out of her job after complaining about using city funds to pay for Huízar’s personal expenses and accused him of giving preferential treatment to another staffer with whom he was having an extramarital affair. In her lawsuit, Huízar’s former office manager and lead administrator also said she was told to funnel money from the City’s General Purpose Fund to Salesian High School, Huízar’s alma mater.
Huízar’s lawyers made the argument that claims in Medina’s lawsuit overlap with those of the criminal investigation, which may have forced the councilman to choose between possible self-incrimination and exercising his Fifth Amendment rights.
Although the judge ruled that the councilman shouldn’t have to respond to the allegations while confronting an FBI criminal probe, she rejected a request by Huízar to have the case put on hold in order to ensure that evidence in Medina’s case in preserved.
Federal investigators raided his City Hall office and home last year as part of the ongoing corruption probe. Huízar, who began his service on the City Council in 2005, will reach the end of his term limit in 2020.