City attorney back on the job

Daily Pilot

Two months after placing him on paid administrative leave following his arrest on suspicion of felony spousal abuse, the Newport Beach City Council voted 6 to 0 Wednesday to allow City Atty. David Hunt to immediately return to his job.

In addition, the Orange County district attorney's office announced the same day that it has decided not to file charges against him.

"I'm obviously pleased by the decision, but I'm also thankful and grateful for the objective analysis of the council and thorough investigation by the D.A.," Hunt said by phone Wednesday afternoon. "My family and I agree with the decision that this crime was not committed and none of us wanted to see a conviction."

He then added, "I plan to get right back in, roll up my sleeves and start serving the city again."

The city attorney was placed on paid administrative leave by the City Council on March 23.

Hunt was on leave while the district attorney's office conducted an investigation into his March 14 arrest at his Santa Ana home.

The D.A. rejected the case last week, deciding not to press charges based on insufficient evidence, said the district attorney's chief of staff, Susan Schroeder.

"We came to the conclusion that we could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he willfully injured his wife," Schroeder said. "As in any criminal case, if any evidence arises we will look further into the investigation."

On March 14, police arrived at the house after Hunt's teenage son called 911. According to a recording of the call, another one of Hunt's sons could be heard saying that his father "went crazy."

Police had alleged that Hunt pushed his wife down when she tried to intervene in a fight between Hunt and one of the sons, an adult.

Hunt's wife suffered minor injuries, including a bump on the back of her head and a cut on one hand.

Had Hunt been charged with a felony, he would have been required to notify the state bar and be suspended. The City Council's decision to allow Hunt to resume his position was based on the investigation completed by the D.A., which included independent investigators and a psychological evaluation, according to a statement read by Newport Beach Mayor Keith Curry after the meeting.

Six of seven council members attended the special meeting. Councilman Steve Rosansky was absent.

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