State Attorney General Jerry Brown has asked Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley to investigate the unauthorized secret tapings of journalists by one of his ex-staffers. According to the Chron, O'Malley has agreed to conduct the investigation. Brown had previously said that his former spokesman Scott Gerber would not face criminal charges, because even though secretly taping someone is illegal, reporters should have no expectation of privacy during "on-the-record" interviews. However, Brown's decision was met with criticism by Republicans and by several newspaper editorial boards, who noted that his office also is investigating right-wing operatives for secretly taping the community group, ACORN.
O'Malley's investigation likely will be billed as being "independent," but Brown's decision puts her in the hot seat. She was recently appointed to the job and could face a stiff challenge in next year's election from San Francisco prosecutor Russ Giuntini, who has the support of ex-state Senator Don Perata. So it will be interesting to see if O'Malley has the courage to contradict Brown's findings and charge Gerber, thereby risking the loss of the former Oakland mayor's endorsement.