Contra Costa County Prosecutor Detained in Corruption Probe

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MARTINEZ (AP) — State officials detained Contra Costa County’s district attorney and seized his phone and other items as part of a corruption investigation, court documents show.

California Attorney General agents detained Contra Costa District Attorney Mark Peterson on Thursday and seized his seized his iPhone, iPad and appointment calendar, the East Bay Times reported Friday.

The state attorney general in February opened a criminal investigation into Peterson’s illegal spending of campaign funds. He is being investigated for possible felony embezzlement, felony perjury, and other related offenses, court records show.

“We can confirm the search warrant, but we cannot comment beyond that because it is an ongoing investigation,” Bethany Lesser, a spokeswoman for the California Attorney General, said in an email.

Last month, a grand jury recommended Peterson be removed from his post after he admitted he secretly spent more than $66,000 of campaign cash on movie tickets, clothes and other personal expenses from 2011-15 while serving as treasurer of his re-election campaign.

The union representing prosecutors in the Contra Costa district attorney’s office had previously voted “no confidence” in Peterson and called for him to resign.

“We have done our jobs on the shadow of Mr. Peterson’s malfeasance for too long,” said Aron DeFerrari, a sex crimes prosecutor who is also the union’s president. “As line prosecutors, our efforts to bring justice will never relent, but we are ready to close this chapter in our office history.”

Peterson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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