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Political adviser to LA's mayor to 'take a leave' amid sexual misconduct allegations

By Dakota Smith, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

LOS ANGELES - Rick Jacobs, a top political adviser to Mayor Eric Garcetti, said Tuesday night he will "take a leave" from his work with Garcetti amid allegations of sexual conduct leveled against Jacobs.

"For the past seventeen years, I have dedicated myself to advocacy and public service. I do not want this to be a distraction. Therefore, I will take a leave from my non-profit work and my volunteer political work with the mayor," Jacobs said in an emailed statement.

A Los Angeles police officer who had been a bodyguard for Garcetti filed a lawsuit this summer alleging sexual harassment by Jacobs. On Monday, in a first-person article posted online, journalist Yashar Ali accused Jacobs of sexual misconduct.

Jacobs has denied the police officer's allegations, which were made at a time when tensions were high between the police union and the mayor. Jacobs has not responded for comment about Ali's accusations.

"I take seriously all allegations of harassment. Rick Jacobs has stepped away from his non-profit and volunteer political work," Garcetti said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday night.

 

Jacobs is both a political consultant to the mayor and longtime friends with Garcetti and his wife, Amy Wakeland. He headed the California operation of Howard Dean's 2004 presidential bid, a campaign Wakeland also worked on.

He earned a top spot in City Hall - deputy chief of staff - after raising money to support Garcetti's 2013 political run before stepping down in 2016.

He serves on the board of the Mayor's Fund for Los Angeles and is the nonprofit's treasurer. He also runs a nonprofit that he founded with the mayor to spur economic development across the country.

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