Etezadi denies charges she used employee mail system

A candidate for Superior Court judge accused by her opponents of violating campaigning regulations shot back yesterday, calling for her accusers to come forward with proof of their allegations.

Deputy District Attorney Susan Etezadi, who is vying to replace Superior Court Judge John Schwartz in the November election, disputed allegations by opponent Lisa Maguire’s campaign that she used the county’s intra-office mail system to distribute campaign literature.

The allegations also charge that Etezadi illegally distributed campaign literature to county employees while they were at work.

Anyone can come forward with allegations to throw off a campaign during a race, Etezadi said.

“We welcome any investigation because we’ve done nothing wrong,” she said. “I hope that the public recognizes that allegations in a campaign should be viewed with distrust, especially when they come from the other side.”

District Attorney Jim Fox said his office is looking into the matter and will determine this week whether the matter should be referred outside the agency for investigation to avoid a conflict of interest.

Jonathan McDougall, a member of Maguire’s campaign committee, filed a complaint containing the allegations with the Fair Political Practices Commission, the state Bar Association, and the state judicial ethics board Monday, he said.

“It’s inappropriate and both campaigns were told not to do it,” McDougall said.

At least four county employees received campaign literature through the intra-office mail at work, he said.

Fox, however, said the one piece of Etezadi’s literature he has seen was stamped and arrived via U.S. mail, which could nullify at least part of the charges.

According to Fox, the alleged violation involves a county ordinance, putting it outside of state FPPC jurisdiction.

If Etezadi is found to have violated the ordinance that would be a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum one-year in jail and $1,000 fine, he said.

ecarpenter@examiner.com

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