Court of Appeal turns down Segel


The California Court of Appeal has rejected the latest legal maneuver by Gil Segel and the “Malibu Citizens for Less Traffic on PCH.” Segel and “Malibu Citizens” filed their petition to block discovery in the ongoing campaign violation investigation by the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC).

The FPPC had previously subpoenaed the bank records of Segel and “Malibu Citizens,” as well as the personal records of Segel. These two parties had turned to the Los Angeles Superior Court to quash the subpoenas, where Judge Robert O’Brien heard their case and denied their request. Segel and “Malibu Citizens” appealed his decision to the Court of Appeal, claiming they had a right to keep their financial information confidential because they were an educational group and therefore exempt from state laws governing political contributions. In denying the petition, the Court of Appeal did not set the case for briefing and oral argument but rather denied their request summarily.

Segel and “Malibu Citizens” must now decide either to consent to the discovery or petition the California Supreme Court for a reversal.

In a second petition, Segel and “Malibu Citizens” had asked the superior court to stop the entire state FPPC investigation. This petition was likewise denied by the lower court. Segel and the “Malibu Citizens” requested the court not to make that order final, giving the Court of Appeal an opportunity to make a decision on the first petition. The court agreed to wait, and with its July 9 ruling, the Court of Appeal has made that decision.

Court observers say the superior court will probably issue a final order in the second case, which also could be appealed, but it was considered highly improbable that the Court of Appeal would reverse as it has already made a decision on the issue of discovery, which is considered Segel’s and “Malibu Citizen’s ” stronger case.