Candidate alleges problems in Nevada County District Attorney’s Office

Alan Riquelmy

Glenn Jennings, a former Nevada County assistant district attorney running to become the county’s top prosecutor, claimed on Wednesday, Feb. 7, that issues with an investigation into Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Mackey led to his resignation.

Jennings, who this week announced his intention to run against District Attorney Cliff Newell, claimed his October 2015 resignation stemmed from his refusal to sign a document stating an investigation into Mackey was complete and found no wrongdoing. He resigned after he told Newell he’d refuse to approve any search warrant written by Mackey.

“In 2015 Jennings was instructed by Cliff Newell to terminate an investigation into alleged corruption involving the falsification of affidavits to obtain search warrants,” a news release from Jennings states. “Jennings refused to sign the statement or approve future warrants without the completion of a thorough investigation. He instead resigned his position.”

Newell disputed Jennings’ statement, calling it a mischaracterization and mixed with half-truths. He called Jennings an angry, disgruntled former employee.

“It’s unfortunate that he’s choosing that path of a campaign from the start,” Newell said.

Jennings’ claims aren’t new. A defense attorney in 2016 made similar arguments in an attempt to have a judge order the release of documents connected to Mackey.

An internal investigation conducted found no wrongdoing on Mackey’s part.

According to Jennings, problems arose in mid-2015 when Mackey approached him about a search warrant. Mackey pointed to an address on the warrant and told Jennings he didn’t have that information when he penned the document.

Mackey asked Jennings to dismiss the case, which Jennings said he did.

Jennings said he then spoke with Newell and others before they opened an investigation into Mackey. That led to a series of interviews, which included former Deputy Mark Hollitz, who previously had accused Mackey of inaccuracies in his warrants.

Hollitz left his position in February 2017, weeks before accusations surfaced that he had a sexual relationship with a confidential informant.

Some weeks later Newell told Jennings the investigation into Mackey was over, Jennings said. Days or weeks after that Newell presented Jennings with a document to sign, which stated that no wrongdoing was found after a full and thorough investigation. Jennings refused to sign it, he said.

Newell said no criminal allegation was made against Mackey, and that the issue was better suited for the Sheriff’s Office, which conducted the internal investigation.

Some days or weeks later Newell told Jennings that Mackey was on rehabilitation, and that Jennings would review his warrants. Jennings refused. Then in October 2015 Jennings resigned after Mackey approached him with a warrant and Newell confronted him about it, Jennings said.

“My opponent’s representations and characterizations of the events of 2015 are untrue,” Newell said in a statement. “Rather, his lack of judgment, lack of comprehensive analysis, lack of managerial skill, and his inability to effectively work with law enforcement led to his leaving the office.”

The District Attorney’s Office continues to prosecute cases in which Mackey was part of the investigation.

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