LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Los Angeles judge rescinded sanctions Friday against two prosecutors whom she said had failed give defense lawyers evidence in a case against a Mexican megachurch leader charged with child rape and human trafficking.
Reconsidering at the request of the California attorney general’s office, Superior Court Judge Teresa Sullivan on Friday overturned $10,000 in fines she levied a day earlier, but indicated the evidence must be provided by Monday for a hearing to determine if the case should go to trial.
Sullivan had found that prosecutors Amanda Plisner and Diana Callaghan violated a court order to provide evidence to lawyers for Naason Joaquin Garcia, leader of La Luz del Mundo, and two co-defendants.
They have pleaded not guilty to allegations of sexually abusing three girls and a woman in Los Angeles County. A fourth defendant remains at large.
Plisner and Callaghan had said some of the evidence included child pornography and therefore it could not be handed over to defense attorneys — it would need to be viewed at their offices — without violating the law. The defense attorneys, however, said the evidence was only available to view in Fresno and their clients could not pay their travel costs.
Sullivan, visibly frustrated and pointing her finger from the bench Friday, told new prosecutors Patricia Fusco and James Root that their colleagues should have addressed the issue much sooner.