VAN NUYS : Suit Against D. A. Goes Back to Court

A libel suit against Ventura County Dist. Atty. Michael D. Bradbury was tossed back Wednesday to the Van Nuys court where it originated by a Kern County judge who said he was too busy to handle it.

Now, Bradbury's attorney says he will try to have the suit by Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy Gary Spencer moved from Los Angeles County to Ventura County for trial.

It was Spencer who shot and killed Malibu-area millionaire Donald P. Scott during a fruitless drug raid on his property on Oct. 2, 1992.

Bradbury issued a 64-page report clearing Spencer in the shooting because Scott was waving a gun at the time. But Bradbury's report also said that the deputy may have lied to get a search warrant for Scott's 200-acre ranch, and it called him "a good officer . . . who lost his moral compass."

Spencer sued Bradbury and four of his staff members last March, accusing him of defamation, libel, slander, infliction of emotional distress and violating his civil rights.

Attorneys representing Bradbury and Spencer agreed to move the case to Kern County Superior Court to avoid claims of conflict of interest.

There, Superior Court Judge Stephen P. Gildner heard early arguments and even made a ruling in September dismissing five of Spencer's claims from the lawsuit.

But at some point recently, Gildner telephoned Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert M. Letteau to return the case because he lacked time and resources to hear it, Letteau said in court Wednesday.

"The politics of it is that Kern County said, 'This is a bottomless pit, we have budgeting and fiscal problems too,' " Letteau said.

Letteau said he would put the case back on the Los Angeles Superior Court's law and motion calendar for further hearings.

Glen M. Reiser, the attorney representing Bradbury, said he intends to ask Letteau within the next 10 days to move the case to Ventura County. Spencer's attorney, Jeff Giordano, argued that the case belongs in Los Angeles County.

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