LOS ANGELES – An Orange County prosecutor facing possible state bar sanctions over allegations that she improperly withheld evidence during a 2013 child-abuse trial testified Thursday that she “did absolutely nothing wrong.”
Deputy District Attorney Sandra Lee Nassar, during two days of hearings in a California State Bar courtroom in downtown Los Angeles, said of the allegations, “It is repulsive to me to think someone would even say that about me.
“If I thought I made a mistake, I would admit I made a mistake,” she said. “I’m a public servant. I would never violate that trust.”
Attorneys with the state bar have not yet indicated if they will seek to have Nassar disbarred, or if they will push for a lesser sanction.
Hugh Radigan, a deputy trial counsel for the State Bar of California, alleged in his opening statements on Wednesday that Nassar “willfully suppressed evidence to the detriment” of Carmen William Iacullo II, serving a 12-year sentence for felony corporal injury to a child.
At Nassar’s direction, jail officials carried out a two-year “mail cover” investigation in which correspondence received and sent by Iacullo and the mother of the 5-year-old he was accused of abusing was intercepted and copied, with the copies turned over to the District Attorney’s Office.
Nassar testified that she initiated the mail cover in June 2011 because of concerns that Iacullo or the mother was going to try to determine where the boy had been moved, despite a court order barring them from contacting him. The boy was the key witness to the crime, and Nassar said she was worried about his safety.
The mail cover continued after the boy’s mother agreed to a plea deal for covering up the crime, which required she be willing to testify against Iacullo.
In April 2013, Nassar rotated out of the unit prosecuting the case. Jennifer Duke, the deputy district attorney who picked the case, testified that she was surprised that the letters from the mail cover, which numbered more than 1,000 pages, hadn’t been turned over to Iacullo’s defense attorney.
“She said, ‘Why would I?’” Duke testified when asked what Nassar’s explanation was for not turning over the letters.
“Does that strike you as cavalier and glib?” asked Kim Kasreliovich, a senior trial counsel with the State Bar of California.
“It struck me as odd at the time, that is why I remembered it,” Duke said.
Duke testified that after clearing it with her supervisor, she…