In a potential violation of state law, then-Assistant District Attorney Brooke Jenkins last year sent sensitive files from the DA’s office to a fellow district attorney’s personal email account — and subsequently used the materials in the political campaign to oust DA Chesa Boudin.
The email, since obtained by Mission Local, was sent from Jenkins’ work account to fellow Assistant District Attorney Don du Bain on Oct. 9, 2021, after both Jenkins and du Bain had given notice and an interoffice email was circulated announcing their pending goodbye party. Both left the office on Oct. 16 of last year, according to Department of Human Resources records.
The subject line of Jenkins’ email was “Troy McAllister Police reports.” It contained three police reports regarding the serial offender who, while driving intoxicated on Dec. 31, 2020, struck and killed two pedestrians. All three police reports were unredacted and, significantly, one contained a lengthy, unredacted rap sheet for McAlister, dating back to 1993.
Following their exit from the District Attorney’s office, both Jenkins and du Bain officially joined the nascent recall effort of Boudin, and highlighted the details of McAlister’s extensive criminal history contained in the police reports and/or rap sheet.
Former DA Chesa Boudin confirmed that neither Jenkins, at the time a homicide prosecutor, nor du Bain, who was in the domestic violence division, had a professional attachment to the McAllister case. Both, additionally, were short-timers who had given notice and would leave the office in seven days.
Disseminating police reports to parties who do not have a professional attachment to the case, and using such materials for personal or political purposes, was described to Mission Local by veteran prosecutors as a grave breach of conduct. Disseminating a criminal history such as a rap sheet, however, is a potentially more serious matter: The California penal code states that the furnishing of such a record to a person who is not authorized to receive it is a misdemeanor.
Multiple calls, texts, and emails to Jenkins and her office made over the course of just shy of 24 hours have not been returned.
After helming the winning recall effort, Jenkins was named District Attorney in July; she is running for election in her own right next week. Du Bain was, in August, re-hired by Jenkins and put into a management position.
Mission Local shared the details of the situation, but not the names of the individuals involved, with San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe. He was unambiguous in his assessment.
“In our office,” he said, “this would be a firing offense.” He added: “It is a misdemeanor offense to share a rap sheet for any purpose other than doing the prosecution.”
Former Los Angeles DA Gil Garcetti concurred. “You should not be sending police reports or rap sheets to anyone who does not have a direct interest in the particular case,” he said. “If you cannot articulate a reason to get a rap sheet, you should not have it.”
Garcetti, who served 32 years in the Los Angeles DA’s office, and led it from 1992 to 2000, said that if something like this occurred under his watch, he would strongly consider “some type of suspension, or even termination.”
Jenkins’ office is not unaware of the rules regarding misuse of sensitive files. On Oct. 3, Jenkins and Chief Assistant District Attorney Ana Gonzalez sent a letter to Lateef Gray, one of more than a dozen Boudin hires Jenkins dismissed upon taking control of the office.
In it, Jenkins accused Gray of downloading restricted data from the DA’s office to a portable hard drive on the day of his termination. “Your unauthorized transfer of files … and your continued possession of this information may have violated state and federal laws and regulations restricting the possession, dissemination, and use of confidential criminal record information …” reads the letter sent to Gray. It concludes by threatening “possible legal action.”
Jenkins’ office did not respond to queries from Mission Local regarding what statutes it would potentially use to charge Gray. It did not specify this to Gray either, nor to his attorney, Matt Gonzalez. Gonzalez denied that Gray had removed or disseminated any files in a subsequent rejoinder to the DA, dismissing the accusations as speculative.
The dichotomy here did not escape San Francisco legal observers.
“This was a fireable offense. It was not their case and they were leaving the office and they subsequently used the information for political purposes, and now they’re making a big deal about Lateef’s hard drive,” summed up a former San Francisco prosecutor from the Kamala Harris era.
“Whether you print out the material and skulk out of the office with it in your briefcase or email it, it’s the same thing. You are not supposed to do this and you learn that within the first week of being a misdemeanor DA in any office. This is 101.”
Mission Local has contacted the Attorney General’s office seeking comment. Its response is pending.
Santa Clara University School of Law professor W. David Ball said Jenkins and du Bain’s actions constituted a weaponization of the prosecutor’s office.
“The model we have of the prosecutorial function is that we are not punishing political enemies,” he said. “We can disagree about what prosecutorial policies should be. But making this a political tool to use the position of the office to attack political enemies? That really is quite dangerous.”