LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Police Department has launched an investigation into a leaked audio recording to determine if it was recorded illegally.
‘The department has initiated a criminal investigation into an allegation of eavesdropping,” Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said Tuesday during a media availability in response to a question from The Associated Press.
The recording is believed to have been taped in mid-October 2021 at the headquarters of the LA County Federation of Labor during a meeting between Los Angeles city councilmembers Nury Martinez, Gil Cedillo, Kevin de León and labor president Ron Herrera.
After the recording became public, both Herrera and Martinez resigned from their positions.
Cedillo and de León have faced growing calls to resign which they have both refused to do.
Cedillo lost his reelection and will leave office in December and de León says he will not resign and is taking time to “heal” and not be a distraction in the chaos.
The audio pulled back the curtain on the attendees plans to manipulate council district boundary lines to ensure their reelection which disenfranchised voters in certain areas.
It is now being alleged that Councilman Curren D. Price Jr. was also due to be in attendance in the meeting which he flatly denies, however, an op-ed published in the Los Angeles Sentinel newspaper details he publicly shared the same sentiments being discussed in the recording.
Price and Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson, who represents the 8th District, were fighting over where USC would fall in the redistricting process, which takes place every decade after the new census data is disclosed.
Martinez can be heard on the recording saying she spoke with Danny Bakewell, the publisher of the Sentinel, and told him to “make a deal” to get the LAX Airport covered in District 8.
Price’s op-ed published in Nov. 2021, a month after their meeting, echoed the same rhetoric that in an effort to “not disenfranchise voters” Harris-Dawson should seek to secure the airport.
It is unclear how the recordings were made considering recording conversations without a person’s consent is illegal in California, with rare exceptions.
California Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta is probing the Los Angeles redistricting process that took place last fall, with Bonta saying an inquiry is needed to “restore confidence” in drawing the city’s 15 council districts.
The labor union’s counsel attempted to stop the recordings from being published calling it “illegal” but they were published anyway.
The labor union has vowed to have those responsible for the recording prosecuted in accordance with the law.