Trial date set in L.A. Councilman Jose Huizar sexual harassment case
A judge on Monday set a Nov. 10 trial date for the sexual harassment case filed by a longtime aide to Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar.
Superior Court Judge William F. Fahey scheduled the date after Michael Eisenberg, an attorney for former Huizar aide Francine Godoy, said he is looking to call “potentially 20" witnesses in the case.
Fahey questioned the need for so many witnesses and a lengthy trial, asking Eisenberg: “Isn’t this a he-said, she-said situation?”
“There are a lot of issues,” Eisenberg responded.
Godoy, who worked for Huizar for seven years, has accused her former boss of waging a campaign of retaliation and harassment against her after she refused to provide “sexual favors.” Huizar, 45, has called those claims “false and malicious” and said he had a consensual relationship with Godoy. That relationship, Huizar said, prompted him to apologize to his wife and four children.
A lawyer for the city would not comment. During Monday’s hearing, Fahey asked Godoy’s lawyer how many people had witnessed the activities alleged in the lawsuit. “Well over 10,” Eisenberg responded.
Huizar, who represents neighborhoods stretching from Boyle Heights to Eagle Rock, is running for a third and final four-year term in the March 2015 election. Godoy joined his staff in 2006, earning about $47,000 annually. When she left last year, her yearly pay was more than $132,000, according to personnel officials.
Last year, Council President Herb Wesson ordered the formation of a special committee to investigate Godoy’s claims. Weeks later, Eisenberg refused to let Godoy appear before the panel, saying he did not believe the council would be impartial when reviewing its findings. He pointed to Wesson’s appearance at a Huizar campaign fundraiser, where he described Huizar as his “best friend” on the council.
Council members also must decide whether to pay $185,000 to settle a lawsuit filed in the wake of a car crash involving Huizar. In 2012, Huizar was driving a city SUV when he rear-ended a car driven by a former Huntington Park police officer.
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