The OCDA has published a dismissal statement signed by Deputy District Attorney (DDA) Jess Rodriguez and Lake Forest Council Member Adam Nick.
On Jan. 28, 2016, a judge dismissed with prejudice a civil lawsuit against DDA Rodriguez personally, by defendant Nick, who was previously prosecuted by DDA Rodriguez on behalf of OCDA.
Joint Statement of Adam Nick and Jess Rodriguez
The following joint statement is related to Civil Case No. 30-2015-00817642-CU-DF-CJC. Adam Nick v. Jess Rodriguez.
The parties, Adam Nick and Deputy District Attorney Jess Rodriguez, have agreed to resolve this civil lawsuit by issuing the following statement regarding the now resolved matter.
The subject lawsuit arose from an event that took place on the morning of October 9, 2014. Orange County Sheriff’s Deputies observed an assistant of Mr. Nick, at Mr. Nick’s direction, removing a campaign sign belonging to another City Council candidate at the intersection of Bake Parkway and Trabuco Road in Lake Forest. Several more campaign signs for the same candidate were seen in plain view in Mr. Nick’s vehicle.
After further investigation, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office filed charges against Mr. Nick based on the removal of the campaign signs. Mr. Nick maintains that his actions in removing the campaign signs did not constitute a criminal offense. The District Attorney’s Office maintains that the action was a misdemeanor violation of state laws and municipal ordinances. Both parties acknowledge that there was a fundamental disagreement between Mr. Nick and the District Attorney’s Office over whether or not Mr. Nick’s actions constituted such violations.
After discussions between Mr. Nick’s defense attorney and the District Attorney’s Office, a resolution was reached. The District Attorney’s Office agreed to dismiss the charges if Mr. Nick were to donate $1,000 to the Victim Witness Emergency Fund, perform eight hours of community service, and submit a letter to the District Attorney’s Office acknowledging that he directed the removal of campaign signs belonging to another person. Mr. Nick fulfilled the requirements of the resolution, and the charges were dismissed.
After the dismissal of the charges, Mr. Rodriguez communicated the matter to a news service agency. Regrettably, some of Mr. Rodriguez’s statements were misinterpreted, and the resulting headlines portrayed Mr. Nick as admitting to theft and attributing to Mr. Rodriguez innuendoes that suggested that Mr. Nick had admitted to the commission of a crime. The parties agree that the actual statements made by Mr. Rodriguez about the disposition of the case were factually accurate.
Upon hearing of the incorrect news, Mr. Rodriguez promptly contacted the news service agency in writing to correct the inaccurate reporting and he apologized on at least two occasions for any confusion. However, some of the articles that misquoted Mr. Rodriguez have not been corrected.
The inaccuracies in the news reporting led to the instigation of a lawsuit for defamation by Mr. Nick. After reviewing all available information, the parties agree that Mr. Rodriguez’s statements to the media were not defamatory, did not portray Mr. Nick as a criminal, and that Mr. Rodriguez immediately contacted the media to correct inaccurate reporting. On point, Mr. Nick never admitted to the commission of any crime, did not enter a plea of guilty or no contest for any charge, and he has not been convicted of any criminal act.
Mr. Nick, Mr. Rodriguez, and the District Attorney’s Office hope that the foregoing statement will resolve any ambiguity in the media and with the public regarding this matter.