City Attorney Fires Deputy Who Faces Perjury Charge

From United Press International

Los Angeles City Atty. James Hahn on Wednesday fired a former high-ranking assistant who faces trial on a perjury charge arising from an investigation of her husband, a policeman charged with two contract murders.

"(Assistant City Atty.) Betsy Mogul was discharged . . . for conduct unbecoming an employee of this office," said Hahn spokesman Mike Qualls.

That conduct "became a matter of court record during her preliminary hearing (last November) that resulted in her being bound over for trial on a felony charge of perjury," Qualls said.

The district attorney's office has charged that Mogul, 40, falsely claimed to the Department of Motor Vehicles in 1983 that she bought a Mercedes-Benz from her father to save about $600 in sales tax.

The charge grew out of an investigation into her possible involvement in the alleged criminal activities of her husband, Los Angeles Police Officer William Leasure, who is charged with arranging two contract murders in 1980 and 1981 and with being involved in a statewide yacht theft ring.

Mogul's attorney, Robert Berke, said she will appeal her firing. "This is a very poor way to treat a public employee who has given 14 years of hard work," Berke said.

Mogul was charged with the felony count in February. Prosecutors said the man Mogul actually bought the car from was Arthur Smith, 55, of Alhambra, a co-defendant of Leasure's in the murder case.

Prior to being charged, Mogul was the supervising attorney of the special operations branch of the city attorney's criminal division.

But in January, she was reassigned to do civil work for the office because of police concerns over her handling criminal cases after they found machine guns, silencers, stolen cars and the falsified DMV documents at her and Leasure's Northridge home.

Mogul faces a Jan. 19 pretrial hearing on the perjury charge, which she has denied.

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