Attorneys for NBC 7 San Diego and ten other local media outlets and journalism groups are urging District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis to release a copy of a recommendation letter she wrote for the son of an wealthy Mexican businessman accused of funneling illegal contributions to Dumanis’s failed 2012 campaign for mayor.
Last month, Dumanis denied a Public Records Act request filed by NBC San Diego, requesting a copy of the letter, which she wrote on District Attorney’s letterhead.
The DA wrote the recommendation letter for Edward Susumo Azano, who had applied to admission at the University of San Diego.
Federal prosecutors say Susumo Azano’s father, Jose Susumo Azano Matsura, violated federal election laws by donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to at least three local politicians, including Dumanis.
Dumanis has downplayed her relationship with the Azano family but refuses to answer any questions about why she wrote the recommendation letter for Azano’s son.
The text of the letter could reveal new information about that relationship.
Dumanis claims the letter is not a public record. Her denial of the NBC 7’s Public Record Act Request raises other alleged exemptions to the state’s public records law.
Attorneys for the media outlets rebutted those arguments in a letter sent Monday afternoon to Deputy District Attorney Brooke Tafreshi.
That letter asks Dumanis to voluntarily release a copy of the letter by 5 p.m. Tuesday.
If Dumanis does comply with the request, NBC 7 and the ten other media outlets intend to file a legal action against the district attorney in Superior Court.