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Defense attorneys accuse prosecution of contempt in Tianna Arata case

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Posted at 5:37 PM, Feb 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-26 20:42:22-05

Tianna Arata's attorneys plan to ask a judge to hold prosecutors in contempt at her next court hearing on March 3.

Police identified Arata as the leader of a July 21 Black Lives Matter protest that blocked traffic on Highway 101 in San Luis Obispo. She was arrested and charged with 13 misdemeanors that include obstruction of a thoroughfare, false imprisonment, unlawful assembly, and disturbing the peace by loud noise.

In December, San Luis Obispo Superior Court Judge Matthew Guerrero ruled that there was a conflict of interest on the part of the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney's Office based on a fundraising email District Attorney Dan Dow sent to supporters shortly after charges were filed. The judge said statements made in the email were an attempt to sway potential jurors and get them to make financial contributions.

The judge's ruling disqualified the DA's Office from prosecuting the case against Arata and six other defendants, sending it to the state Attorney General.

The DA's Office and the California Attorney General's Office have appealed the ruling.

Now, according to a new court filing, Arata's attorneys are accusing Deputy District Attorney Delaney Henretty and Deputy Attorney General William Frank of delaying documents requested by the defense and ordered by the court, also known as discovery.

They are asking the court to find Henretty and Frank in contempt and potentially sentence them to jail time and fines.

KSBY News reached out to the SLO County District Attorney's Office for comment but has not yet received a response.