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Rick Jacobs, who has served as the mayor’s deputy chief of staff, announced on Tuesday that he will “take a leave” from his work amid the allegations.
Executive Vice Mayor and Deputy Chief of Staff to Mayor Eric Garcetti Rick Jacobs gives a speech at the annual Bastille Day reception at La Residence de France.
“I don’t want this to be a distraction,” Jacobs said in a statement provided to the Los Angeles Times. “Therefore, I will take a leave from my nonprofit work and my volunteer political work with the mayor.”
Jacobs’ leave of absence comes after Yashar Ali, a journalist, posted an article late Monday claiming that Jacobs “forcibly kissed” him over the span of a decade, and cited sources that described the mayor as an ambitious politician willing to overlook these alleged encounters.
Since Ali’s allegations, The Times reported that it has interviewed two more people who claimed they have been the target of unwanted sexual advances by Jacobs.
Ali’s allegations come after Matthew Garza, a Los Angeles police officer and former bodyguard of Mayor Garcetti, filed a lawsuit in July claiming that Jacobs sexually harassed him for several years in the presence of the mayor, who did nothing to stop it.
A spokesperson for Garcetti’s office disputed Garza’s allegations, telling Fox News at the time that “the Mayor has zero tolerance for sexual harassment and unequivocally did not witness the behavior that Officer Garza alleges.”
Garcetti, who is a national co-chair of Biden’s presidential campaign, has been mulled as a possible cabinet member in a Biden administration. But the allegations against Jacobs – being in such close proximity to the mayor – threaten to hurt Garcetti’s prospects.
Following Ali’s publication, Garcetti issued the following statement: “I take seriously all allegations of harassment. Rick Jacobs has stepped away from his nonprofit and volunteer political work.”
Ali also said that after his story was published, Biden’s campaign dropped Garcetti from a planned virtual event for the Democratic nominee.
Fox News has reached out to the Biden campaign with a request for comment.