Orange County’s top prosecutor Ebrahim Baytieh was fired by the District Attorney’s Office Wednesday following an internal investigation into withholding evidence in a murder case.
District Attorney Todd Spitzer said withheld evidence forced him in August to ask for a new murder trial for a man sentenced in 2010 mutilated his victim at Sunset Beach and burned the body. Paul Gentile Smith was serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for the 1988 murder of his marijuana dealer, Robert Haugen.
The Orange County sheriff’s deputies and prosecutors allegedly violated Smith’s constitutional rights by placing him in a cell where he was targeted by three informants for the home. prison and then only told the defense attorney about one.
“I immediately hired an independent law firm to investigate whether there was a failure by the prosecutor to properly turn over the discovery and whether the prosecutor was truthful in all investigations. subsequent and related investigation by the United States Department of Justice,” Spitzer said in a prepared statement. .
The report was completed on Tuesday, February 8, resulting in Baytieh’s contract termination, Spitzer said.
His statement did not mention Baytieh by name, but came in response to an Orange County Registry investigation into Baytieh’s employment status.
“I made it unequivocally when I ran for the Orange County District Attorney’s office that I would not tolerate the ‘win at all costs’ mentality of the previous administration,” Spitzer said. “My prosecutors will not violate the Constitution and the defendant’s right to be convicted.”
Baytieh did not return phone messages seeking comment. Baytieh, who are you? running for judge of the Superior Court in the June 7 election, was once called by Spitzer the “North Star” of the District Attorney’s Office for his ethics.
Assistant Prosecutor Scott Sanders, Smith’s attorney, accused prosecutors of being involved in other cases of withheld evidence.
“In the near future, we will detail how not only key evidence was concealed by Mr Smith for more than a decade, but also how members of the prosecution team conspired to conceal this evidence from hundreds of thousands of people. dozens of other defendants have a right to find out about it — all so they can make sure our client dies in prison without ever knowing what happened,” Sanders said.
This is an evolving story. Check again for updates.
https://www.ocregister.com/2022/02/09/high-level-oc-prosecutor-terminated-from-district-attorneys-office/ Senior OC Prosecutor has been terminated with the District Attorney’s Office – Orange County Register