Mehta to Remain Until Case Decided

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Until a judge determines Ravi Mehta's status as Anaheim's special prosecutor, he will continue to investigate allegations that Mayor Tom Daly and others accepted illegal campaign contributions, officials said Thursday.

Municipal Judge Gregg L. Prickett has ordered that Mehta remain the independent counsel, although it remains unclear how much control the attorney actually has over the investigation.

Anaheim officials hired Irvine attorney Derek Johnson on Thursday to replace Mehta, who sued to keep his job after the City Council voted to fire him this week.

Mehta was hired last year to determine whether Daly, his campaign treasurer Debra Daly and former Councilman Irv Pickler accepted donations that exceeded legal limits and failed to report them. After public outcry that Mehta was spending excessively to conduct a politically motivated investigation, the City Council voted to dismiss him.

Councilman Lou Lopez was confident the judge will decide in the city's favor and considers the temporary order that Mehta remain on the case "a normal process."

"I'm not disappointed or anything," Lopez said. "I'm confident that we will prevail."

Mehta will return to Municipal Court in Fullerton on Monday, when Prickett is scheduled to decide whether to consider the attorney's motion that he be reinstated as Anaheim's special prosecutor. So far, all proceedings regarding the case have been closed and the transcripts sealed.

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