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Lawsuit filed against former San Diego city attorney Jan Goldsmith for retaliation

Dell'Anno claims Goldsmith asked her to break law
Posted at 4:59 PM, Jan 03, 2017

SAN DIEGO — A career prosecutor filed a lawsuit against former San Diego city attorney Jan Goldsmith Tuesday that claimed he asked her to break the law and when she refused, Goldsmith fired her. 

Former San Diego assistant city attorney Marlea Dell'Anno spoke with 10News reporter Adam Racusin about the claims she makes in her complaint against the city and Goldsmith. 

"I cannot think of anything more personally, professionally or financially devastating to me than what Jan Goldsmith did to me," Dell'Anno said. 

Dell'Anno spent six years prosecuting domestic violence cases for the San Diego City Attorney's office. 

In the end, her former supervisor Goldsmith would claim Dell'Anno mishandled 98 domestic violence cases, allowing the statue of limitations to run out and leaving many victims without justice, as reported by San Diego Union-Tribune. 

In the complaint, Dell'Anno's attorney Daniel Gilleon states that Goldsmith used this as a reason to fire her:

To accomplish this, Goldsmith exploited a known issue in the City Attorney's office, which was that some domestic violence cases previously rejected by attorneys in the office had not been filed within the statute of limitations. Goldsmith decided to use this as a pretext to retaliate against Dell'Anno and wrongfully terminate her employment.

In the eight-page complaint for damages, Gilleon states that Goldsmith's primary interest was "his personal,political ambitions," and that these ambitions were on a collision course with her ethical obligations. 

Dell'Anno told 10News that Goldsmith demanded she file charges against a political rival, even though she believed there was no evidence of a crime. 

"When I was asked to do things I was being asked to do, things that were contrary to the law and contrary to my ethics and I wouldn't do them. I wouldn't order my deputies to do them on my behalf. I just wouldn't," she said. 

Angry, Goldsmith re-assigned her and stripped her of her power.

In an email response, Jan Goldsmith told Team 10 he hasn’t seen any filing so he’s not about to respond to something he hasn’t read.

Goldsmith wrote:

“ However, I do recall that there was a fact-finding inquiry concerning handling of the domestic violence cases in which Ms. Dell'Anno, as well as others, provided statements. Ms. Dell'Anno has a copy of the transcript of her statement. After I decided to terminate her employment, Ms. Dell'Anno was given a letter fully explaining the bases for her termination with backup material. She has that letter, too.”

The spokesperson for the current San Diego City Attorney’s Office says they will review the lawsuit.