Brown spokesman on leave over secret tapes

By Chris Rizo | Oct 31, 2009

Jerry Brown (D)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Legal Newsline)-A spokesman for California Attorney General Jerry Brown has been placed on administrative leave after admitting to recording telephone calls with journalists.

Spokesman Scott Gerber this week admitted to making the recordings of conversations with reporters, including a senior writer from The San Francisco Chronicle. It is unclear whether any of Brown's interviews with Legal Newsline were also recorded.

Brown's press secretary, Christine Gasparac, said the recordings were made without the attorney general's knowledge.

"Mr. Gerber's recording of certain telephone conversations was done without Attorney General Brown's knowledge and in direct violation of explicit directions regarding office policy," a statement said.

"These conversations were on the record and in no sense confidential. Nevertheless, the explicit agreement of all parties should have been obtained."

Gerber admitted to recording an interview Wednesday with The San Francisco Chronicle's seasoned political reporter Carla Marinucci, who interviewed Brown for a story about criticisms of revisions Brown made to the ballot summary of a proposed measure on car insurance rates.

After the story was published on the newspaper's Web site, the Chronicle said Gerber contacted an editor at the newspaper to complain and e-mailed the editor a transcript of the conversation.

California is one of 12 states that require notification of all parties before a phone call is taped.

News of the tapes was widely reported in the state's media and in blogs around the state.

The brouhaha erupted as Brown is considering a run for governor. The Democrat last month filed papers to form an exploratory committee for a gubernatorial run.

Brown was California governor from 1975 to 1983. He held office before the state's term limits law was enacted, thus allowing him to run again. He was the mayor of Oakland, Calif., from 1998 to 2006, before being elected as the state's chief legal officer in 2007.

Brown, 71, unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nominations for U.S. president in 1976, 1980, and 1992.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at

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