In late July, Bakersfield news publisher Anthony “T.J.” Esposito received a letter from Kern County District Attorney Lisa Green ordering him not to publish or make any statements for public dissemination on the controversial criminal case of People v. Perez, involving a conflict-of-interest prosecution against Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez. Ms. Green’s letter incorrectly identified Mr. Esposito as a potential witness and informed him that he is gagged by the Protective Order Against Publicity issued against the parties and witnesses of the criminal case. Mr. Esposito has not talked to any investigators.
As counsel for Mr. Esposito, IPAT Clinic students under the supervision of Professor Susan Seager sent a letter to the District Attorney urging that she send him a new letter confirming that he is not covered by the gag order. “Not only is the gag order inapplicable to Mr. Esposito, the entire gag order is unconstitutional,” said Reece Foster, a student in the clinic. “This is a classic prior restraint, which has been universally rejected by the Supreme Court and the California courts,” said Michelle Chea, another student in the clinic.
The letter, a press release, and accompanying documents are available at: