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SACRAMENTO — Explosive allegations of pay to play in the capitol fizzled Tuesday when the attorney general’s office filed minor charges against a Gray Davis appointee accused of frustrating an investigation into ties between the former governor and Oracle Corp. Kari Dohn, who was Davis’ policy director, was charged in Sacramento County Superior Court with 12 counts of altering a public document. Dohn, who now works as a lobbyist for Rose & Kindel, is scheduled to surrender today. Her lawyer, Allen Ruby, of San Jose’s Ruby & Schofield, called the charges “groundless.” At a press conference Tuesday, AG Bill Lockyer would not say whether investigators believe Dohn covered up references to meetings between Davis and Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. “Probably speculation about motives shouldn’t happen here,” said Lockyer, who also wouldn’t go into details about evidence. The AG noted, however, that the charges marked the “possible conclusion” of the entire investigation. That means that unless some new evidence falls in the laps of investigators, several lawyers linked to the controversial Oracle deal are now free and clear. That includes Steven Nissen, the former State Bar executive director who served as Davis’ director of planning and research in 2001, when the state signed a no-bid contract with Oracle worth $97 million. Nissen left in the midst of the controversy to become a partner in the Los Angeles office of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, where he had previously worked. Oracle hired Manatt to be one of its three lobbyists in Sacramento in July, according to filings at the Secretary of State’s office. Neither Nissen nor Manatt Managing Partner Paul Irving returned calls seeking comment. Other lawyers with ties to the Oracle debacle include Arun Baheti, who was Davis’ technology adviser, and lobbyist Ravinder Mehta, formerly with Arter & Hadden and once chair of the Fair Political Practices Commission. Baheti resigned after it was alleged he accepted from Mehta a $25,000 contribution to Davis. At that time, Oracle had a lobbying contract with Mehta’s firm, Capitol Advocates, according to filings at the Secretary of State’s office. After the controversy was brought to light, the $97 million contract was rescinded. Baheti did not return a call Tuesday. Mehta could not be reached for comment. Steve Maviglio, a spokesman for the recalled Gov. Davis, said the inquiry proves there was no wrongdoing by administration officials who worked on the contract. “After almost two years of investigation � what we’ve come up with are two technical charges,” Maviglio said. Dohn faces six counts of a penal code violation — felony falsification of evidence — and six counts of breaking government code — falsifying public records. Davis himself had called for the investigation into the Oracle contract and cooperated with Lockyer’s investigators, said Robin Johansen of San Leandro’s Remcho, Johansen & Purcell. Davis hired Johansen to work out issues of executive privilege as the AG’s office gathered evidence. Lockyer alleges Dohn modified her computerized schedule after the Legislature began looking into allegations that the contract between the state and Oracle was related to the contribution to Davis. Dohn could face anywhere from probation to 20 years in prison if convicted on all counts, Lockyer said. Ruby, her attorney, said he was eager to see the AG’s evidence. Asked if his client was being made a scapegoat in the matter, Ruby said that was a question that needs “to be asked by others and to others.” At the press conference, reporters pressed Lockyer about why such a long and involved investigation only resulted in charges against Dohn. “If crimes weren’t committed, crimes weren’t committed,” Lockyer snapped. “We’ve spent 22 months, tens of thousands of hours of time � looking into the claims of or suspicions of illegality in connection with the � contract with Oracle,” Lockyer said earlier. “What we have found is no evidence of illegality with respect to that contract by either the state officials involved or the company.” .

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