Photo Emerges Of Garcetti Adviser Holding Hand Near Man’s Crotch While Garcetti Gives Thumbs Up

A photo emerged of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti posing next to one of his top advisers in 2017 giving a thumbs up while that advisor had his hand near another man’s crotch. The photo raises new questions about Garcetti’s claim that he had no knowledge of inappropriate conduct by the adviser.

The adviser, former Deputy Chief of Staff Rick Jacobs, was accused of sexual misconduct by journalist Yashar Ali, who said that Jacobs used to “forcibly kiss me when I worked in politics.”

Garcetti, a Democrat, has recently worked for Joe Biden’s vice presidential search committee and has been floated as a potential cabinet pick in a Biden administration.

“The picture, obtained this week by The Times, shows Jacobs placing his hand near the crotch of a civic activist as the two posed for a group photo at the U.S. Conference of Mayors convention in June 2017. Garcetti stands next to the two men, smiling and giving a double thumbs-up gesture,” The Los Angeles Times reported. “In an interview Friday, the man said Jacobs did not touch him. He said that when he was shown the photo later that evening he found it offensive and felt Jacobs should be ashamed of his behavior.”

Ali highlighted the following allegations that were made against Jacobs (emphasis added):

This summer, a 23-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department filed a lawsuit against the city. Officer Matthew Garza, who had served on the security detail that protects Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, alleged that one of Garcetti’s top aides, Rick Jacobs, routinely assaulted and harassed him—and that Garcetti had witnessed the assault and harassment and did nothing to stop it, nor hold Jacobs accountable. …

The allegations laid out in Garza’s complaint sounded familiar to me because, over the course of a decade, from 2005 through 2015, Jacobs used to forcibly kiss me on the lips when I encountered him through my previous work in politics. After Garza’s lawsuit became public, I confronted Jacobs via text message and also alerted one of Garcetti’s top city hall aides about my past experiences with Jacobs.

More recently, I’ve discovered others who have had similar encounters with Jacobs. …

Despite leaving his city position in 2016 and no longer holding a formal role in any city or campaign entity controlled by Garcetti—and despite Garza’s lawsuit—Jacobs is still considered the mayor’s top adviser, sources say. …

Garza alleges in his lawsuit that from 2014 to 2019, while he was on the mayor’s security detail, Jacobs subjected him to a barrage of sexual harassment and assault. In his complaint, Garza says that Jacobs would make inappropriate comments about sex with younger men, male genitalia and how he would engage in rough sex. On multiple occasions, according to Garza, Jacobs would say in his presence: “You guys ready to f*** without KY?”

On other occasions, Garza alleges in his complaint, Jacobs would ask him to sit on his lap. Garza also says that Jacobs would forcefully hug him without consent and tell him, “You’re so strong and handsome” and “Your muscles are so tight.” He would often massage Garza’s shoulders without consent, Garza says.

Garcetti was often present for Jacobs’ harassment and assault, Garza says in his complaint, noting that “Mayor Garcetti was present on many, if not most of the occasions when Jacobs made sexually inappropriate comments, but the Mayor took no action to stop the comments from being made or even identify the comments as being inappropriate. On some occasions, the Mayor would laugh at Jacobs’ crude comments.” 

Garza says that on more than a dozen occasions, Garcetti staffers apologized to him for Jacobs’ conduct.

But Garza isn’t the only one who says he has been treated this way. Two sources told me that Jacobs grabbed them without consent and forcibly kissed them at fundraisers in front of Garcetti. The mayor’s reaction? To watch and then laugh it off as he continued to greet people.

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