L.A. County Sheriff’s Department Launches Criminal Probe Into Own Watchdog

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L.A. County Inspector General Max Huntsman is seen in an undated photo. (Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

L.A. County Inspector General Max Huntsman is seen in an undated photo. (Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

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The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has launched a criminal investigation into its chief watchdog tied to allegations that the oversight agency unlawfully obtained internal records, according to a letter from Undersheriff Timothy Murakami to the county Board of Supervisors.

The letter, dated Monday, says the probe centers on “very troubling information and preliminary evidence” indicating that the county Office of Inspector General and current and former members of the Sheriff’s Department may have engaged in conspiracy, theft of government property, unauthorized computer access, theft of confidential files and burglary.

Murakami writes that the FBI has been briefed on the matter but does not describe any more details about the probe, which was first reported by ABC-7. Sheriff Alex Villanueva recused himself from the inquiry and designated Murakami as his surrogate in the probe, according to a letter he wrote to Murakami on April 23.

Inspector General Max Huntsman told the L.A. Times on Tuesday that his office did not break any laws, noting that county code requires the Sheriff’s Department to promptly comply with the oversight agency’s requests for documents, including confidential personnel records.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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