A former Orange County homicide prosecutor filed a federal civil rights lawsuit Tuesday claiming Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas fired him because he accused his former boss of corruption.
Mike Jacobs, a deputy prosecutor for nearly 25 years and the office's prosecutor of the year in 1998, flew to Sacramento in February to report his suspicions about Rackauckas to the state attorney general.
Jacobs accused Rackauckas of violating state law by having staff members work on a nonprofit charity the district attorney started. The attorney general is still investigating.
In April, two months after Jacobs reported his boss, Rackauckas fired him. He accused Jacobs of making improper statements to the attorney general and to the news media.
The lawsuit accuses Rackauckas of violating Jacobs' free-speech rights and seeks Jacobs' immediate reinstatement, plus unspecified damages and back pay.
"I cannot believe that someone who represents the top law enforcement agency in the county would retaliate against someone for reporting impropriety," said Jacobs' lawyer, Gary Bennett. "It baffles me."
Rackauckas, who has denied doing anything improper, issued a statement Tuesday defending his actions.
"Mr. Jacobs' civil rights have never been violated by anyone in this office. This lawsuit is nothing more than a repetition of the misleading and false allegations Mr. Jacobs has already made to the press," Rackauckas said.