NEW DELHI: The appointment of Eric Garcetti, the US Ambassador-designate to India, could get delayed due to an ongoing investigation into complaints of sexual misconduct against his former advisor.
Back home, Republican Senator Charles Ernest Grassley (Chuck) has sought postponement of the Los Angeles Mayor’s nomination till the investigation against his former aide Rick Jacobs concludes.
Garcetti was confirmed as the next Ambassador of the US to India by the Senate Foreign Relations committee in January this year, which needs to be further confirmed by a majority of the US Senate.
Mayor Garcetti has been accused of not taking action against Jacobs. He, however, has reportedly denied of being aware of the charges. Requests sent by The New Indian to Garcetti’s office for comments did not elicit a response.
An alumnus of Columbia University and a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, Garcetti also studied at London School of Economics, prior to taking up his job in the US Navy Reserve. He was also in the US intelligence, a source from California told The New Indian.
Soon after the announcement of his nomination as the US Ambassador to India, Garcetti said he would emphasise “diversification of India’s weapon’s system”.
In a letter about ten days ago, Senator Grassley said, “I intend to object to any unanimous consent request at the present time relating to the nomination of Mayor Eric Garcetti, of California, to be the US Ambassador to India”.
“The United States owes it to the Republic of India to send them a qualified Ambassador that will represent the values of the United States. Mayor Garcetti may very well be fully qualified, but at this time, the Senate needs to look into these allegations further,” the letter reads.
On behalf of Naomi Seligman, former director of communication for Garcetti, US-based non-profit firm Whistleblower Aid filed a complaint on February 3 against the mayor for felony perjury over his alleged inaction in the matter.
Senator Grassley has launched an investigation and perjury charges, Seligman confirmed to The New Indian over the phone.
“When President Biden stood for the presidential post, he (Garcetti) was very involved and he endorsed him. He became the co-chair of the campaign’s finance committee, co-chair for the Vice-President Search committee and also a co-chair of the inauguration committee,” she said.
Mathew Garza, an officer at the Los Angeles Police Department also accused Garcetti of staying silent on an alleged sexual offence, committed by Jacobs who worked with Mayor Garcetti over the years. Garcetti said no such case was reported to him, said the sources from Los Angeles.
Garza served Garcetti as a bodyguard for seven years, said Garza’s lawyer.
Garcetti’s office recently issued a confidential report into the allegations of sexual harassment in his office to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, as per Los Angeles Times.
“The way I understand it is that if one senator objects to it (the nomination), it goes to the floor for debate. So hold it up significantly. I know there are people trying to oppose his nomination and talking to Democratic senators as well on their side. So if one Democrat comes on his side, his nomination will not be confirmed,” Garza’s attorney Greg Smith told The New Indian.
“Senator Grassley has asked to hold on to his nomination until there’s a complete investigation. There are many people who have come forward and talked to the Senators, investigators to collaborate,” Smith added.