A former Orange County deputy public defender who is Muslim claims he was twice referred to as a “terrorist” by a former high-level district attorney’s supervisor who has previously been the target of sexual harassment allegations.
The lawyer — under the name “John Doe” — filed a liability claim March 9 against the county, former Senior Assistant District Attorney Gary Logalbo and District Attorney Todd Spitzer. Claims are considered a preliminary step toward a lawsuit.
Four female prosecutors previously accused Logalbo of sexual harassment in their claims against the county. All the claimants are represented by former prosecutor and now private attorney Matt Murphy. Logalbo was the best man at Spitzer’s wedding and also a roommate 25 years ago, sparking allegations by Murphy that Spitzer promoted Logalbo and looked the other way on his misdeeds because they were “best friends.” Spitzer has acknowledged the relationship but denied they are best friends.
While it was Logalbo who allegedly made the “terrorist” comments, it was Spitzer who put him in charge of young prosecutors, Murphy wrote.
Kimberly Edds, Spitzer’s spokeswoman, responded that the first-term district attorney would not have tolerated such behavior.
“District Attorney Spitzer has prosecuted nearly twice as many hate crimes in the last two years compared to the prior 25 years. District Attorney Spitzer has made it clear that hate has no place here in Orange County and it has no place anywhere,” Edds said. “The district attorney had absolutely no knowledge of any comment disparaging someone’s national identify, and such comments run completely contrary to his values, beliefs and decades of advocating for victims of hate crimes.”
In September 2019, Logalbo supervised the district attorney’s north office in Fullerton. During a staff meeting, Logalbo brought up a case assigned to the Muslim public defender, but couldn’t remember his name. Logalbo said to the group, “You know, the terrorist.”
“Mr. Logalbo appeared to have labeled ‘John Doe’ a terrorist for no apparent reason other than his first name,” the complaint said. The next day, said the complaint, Logalbo again referred to the man as “the terrorist,” offending a female Muslim prosecutor who also has filed a sexual harassment complaint. Murphy called the statements hurtful and defamatory.
All the claims say Spitzer has responded with an “angry tone, denials and overt victim blaming.”
“The reason people were so deeply reticent to complain of this behavior was not fear of Mr. Logalbo, but because they feared, and continue to fear, the well-documented wrath of Todd Spitzer,” said one of the claims, which like the others seeks unspecified damages.