Days after an internal investigation was launched into whether a former Los Angeles police captain covered up sexual assault allegations against former CBS boss Leslie Moonves, the detective who handled the case years ago took an unusual step.
Last month, LAPD Robbery-Homicide Division Det. Oscar Gamino appeared at the district attorney’s office in downtown Los Angeles to present his investigation into the 2017 case, prosecutors said. The case had been closed for almost five years at this point and had already been closed by the office of the former Dist. atty Jackie Lacey.
Gamino’s action came seven days after a startling report by New York Atty. General Leticia James revealed that former LAPD Cmdr. Cory Palka and perhaps others in the LAPD worked to cover up what they saw as explosive allegations against Moonves in late 2017 and early 2018, at a time when leading media and film figures were being ousted over MeToo allegations.
The detective presented his findings Dist. atty George Gascón’s office on November 9 – five years after Phyllis Golden-Gottlieb went to the Hollywood Police Station to report that Moonves had assaulted her in the mid-1980s when they were colleagues at Lorimar Television. Golden-Gottlieb previously told The Times that Moonve’s alleged abuse had haunted her for decades. The former CEO has denied the allegations.
LAPD chief Michel Moore acknowledged that he directed Gamino to bring the case to prosecutors last month.
“As a precaution, I have asked DB/RHD (Detective Bureau/Robbery-Homicide Division) to discuss the case file with LA DA for feedback,” Moore told The Times. “They agree with the original declension.”
Tiffiny Blacknell, the district attorney’s communications director and Gascón’s chief adviser, said in a statement: “We can confirm that a case against Mr Moonves has been presented to our office a second time and that we have not issued a separate statement because it has no additional ones.” Evidence presented.”
The New York Attorney General’s report documented how Palka, then the Hollywood broadcaster’s captain, worked closely with Moonves, his attorney and a subordinate at CBS, to ensure that the sexual assault allegations at the height of the #MeToo scandals were not became public.
At the behest of Moonves and CBS, Palka encouraged the alleged victim not to speak publicly and urged the investigator to direct his questions to Moonves’ attorney and not to Moonves, who eventually died in 2018 amid a widening scandal over sexual assault, according to the report assaults resigned. After a distinguished career, Palka retired from the department almost two years ago. Palka has not responded to requests for comment.
For months, the New York Attorney General’s investigation into alleged wrongdoing by CBS and the LAPD has been going on in silence — unbeknownst to the LAPD. After James’ report was released on November 2, Moore launched an investigation to determine whether the conduct of the investigation or other investigations had been tainted.
Prosecutors declined to bring charges against Moonves in February 2018, citing the statute of limitations as the two alleged sexual assaults took place in July 1986 and January 1988.
Several anonymous-speaking prosecutors called Gamino’s move “outrageous” and “unusual.” Some questioned whether the LAPD was now seeking protection from prosecutors over the conduct of Palka and another unnamed homicide detective who may have helped Palka conceal the existence of Golden-Gottlieb’s report.
Gascón said he would consider whether any action should lead to criminal prosecution of officers.
Gamino appeared at the prosecutor’s office last month, the same day after a Times reporter sent him a series of questions about whether he had discussed the case with Palka and who the colleague was who was speaking to him about the investigation on behalf of Palka communicated.
In response to questions over the past month, Gamino wrote to the Times, “The case is being reviewed by Internal Affairs detectives and I am not at liberty to discuss the matter.”
The Moonves case was first dismissed by the District Attorney’s Office on February 23, 2018, and then overseen by Lacey. The former network chief was charged with sexual assault, assault and assault, according to the original denial, and exposed himself.
The department has refused to identify the other parties involved except Palka.
Palka was part of Moonves’ security detail for the music industry’s Grammy Awards from 2008 to 2014, according to the attorney general’s report, which the LAPD was unaware of until last month. Hours after Golden-Gottlieb, then 81, entered the Hollywood network to report that Moonves allegedly assaulted her in the 1980s, a station guard commander shared the report with Palka, and Palka called a CBS senior vice president to give him a tip.
It was just weeks after the New York Times and The New Yorker published 2017 reports of abuse by former film producer Harvey Weinstein. CBS had just shown morning anchor Charlie Rose the door amid cheesy accusations. To help his friends at CBS, Palka sent an unedited version of the police report, which the Attorney General’s report said included Golden-Gottlieb’s name, address, and other identifying information.
Moonves then pushed for an in-person meeting with Palka, according to the report, which is included in a $30.5 million settlement agreement reached by CBS’ parent company, Paramount Global, Moonves and the New York Attorney General became.
According to the attorney general’s report, Palka then worked to keep the Golden Gottlieb allegations secret, informing Moonves’ attorney and CBS Senior Vice President Ian Metrose that the investigating officer “will caution the prosecutor tomorrow not to go public.” ‘ and to maintain their confidentiality and safeguard the integrity of the investigation.
Because of Moonves’ VIP status and because it was a high-profile MeToo allegation, the case was assigned to the Robbery-Homicide Division’s elite sex crimes unit, according to investigators.
Palka told the CBS team he reached out to his contact in the department and made sure Moonves’ attorney was “the first and only point of contact.”
Staff writer Meg James contributed to this report.
https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-12-06/lapd-presents-les-moonves-investigation-to-da-second-time LAPD presented Les Moonves investigation to DA again