A top Senate Republican released an investigation Tuesday that concluded Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti “probably knew or should have known” that a former top aide was allegedly sexually harassing city employees, a finding that appears to contradict the mayor’s claim that he was not aware of any inappropriate behavior.
A 23-page report released by US Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa said his office’s investigation found it “extremely unlikely” that the Democratic mayor, who was nominated by President Joe Biden to serve as ambassador to India, had not been aware of allegations of misconduct against his former assistant, Rick Jacobs.
The White House released a statement saying Biden trusted Garcetti and asked the Senate to confirm it.
“This partisan report was successful from the start, and many of the claims have already been conclusively debunked by more serious independent reports,” spokesman Chris Meagher said in a statement. Participants.”
The report marks the latest development in Garcetti’s effort to fill one of the nation’s most prominent diplomatic roles. The nomination has been languishing in the Senate since July, as the mayor faced questions about what he knew, and when, regarding the allegations against Jacobs.
At a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in December, Garcetti told senators considering his nomination that he never saw Jacobs sexually harass one of his police bodyguards, allegations that are at the center of a lawsuit filed against his administration. .
The suit alleges that Jacobs frequently sexually harassed the police bodyguard while Garcetti ignored him or laughed. The mayor has repeatedly denied the claims. Jacobs has called the allegations of misconduct “fiction.”
Grassley revealed the investigation in March, saying he had received “numerous credible allegations” that Garcetti was aware of the sexual harassment but did nothing to stop it. At the time, he said he couldn’t vote to confirm Garcetti, saying the nation deserved an ambassador who “represents the values of the United States.”
Investigators interviewed 15 witnesses, read 26 statements taken in the lawsuit and reviewed other materials, including emails and text messages. The report said Garcetti and Jacobs declined to be interviewed.
Much of the evidence cited in the report has previously been made public. However, an apparently new account involves a whistleblower who allegedly saw Jacobs at the 2015 US-China Climate Summit sexually harassing an employee who was working on a laptop, including pressing his groin into the person’s back. . Top officials laughed later, according to the report.
“Investigators believe this allegation is credible because it fits the pattern of behavior described by several other high-ranking officials in Mayor Garcetti’s office, and because of its similarity to the allegations” in the lawsuit, according to the report.
Associated Press reporter Will Weissert in Washington contributed.