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The California attorney general’s office probably will not face sanctions for allegedly falsifying a court document, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Yolanda Northridge said in a tentative ruling Friday. Northridge denied a plaintiff attorney’s request to issue an order to show cause why the attorney general’s office shouldn’t be held in contempt after allegations a staff member fabricated a December letter in a Proposition 65 case to make it appear as if it had been sent in August. The judge’s final ruling is expected in a few days. Friday’s tentative ruling took place one day after Deputy Attorney General Edward Weil, who heads the office in question, filed a supplemental brief with the court stating that after an internal investigation his office could not prove the letter had not been tampered with. While the staff member, Christine Soo, could face internal discipline for allegedly falsifying the document and later lying about it, both sides said Northridge wasn’t prepared to hold the AG’s office culpable. “[Northridge] indicated she would deny the motion for sanction,” said attorney Clifford Chanler, who brought the forgery allegations against the office in January. “My sense is she’s going to deny it.” Chanler, who has butted heads with the office in the past, sought sanctions after he received notice from the attorney general’s office in December that it could not evaluate a settlement agreement in one of his cases because he had failed to respond to an Aug. 6 letter. Chanler said he never received that letter, and when he requested a copy, he said it was a fabrication. Although Chanler said he tried to make the case Friday that it was impossible for the entire office not to know about the manufactured document sent to him in December, he said the judge only wanted “really brief” arguments. “She didn’t let me run with it,” he said, adding that he probably wouldn’t appeal a decision against him. Weil, the Oakland attorney in charge of reviewing Proposition 65 cases for the state, didn’t return calls for comment Friday, but Sandra Michioku, an attorney general’s spokeswoman, said the office brought the matter to the court’s attention as soon as it suspected that the letter may not have been sent in August. “A concern was raised and we responded,” she said. After a month of vehemently denying that a letter had been forged, Weil told the court Thursday that he couldn’t prove it hadn’t been back-dated by Soo. He asked, though, that his office not be sanctioned since he had no way of knowing the document wasn’t genuine. Michioku wouldn’t comment on Soo’s situation, but Soo has been advised to seek legal counsel, according to court documents.

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