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The chummy relationship between California Attorney General Bill Lockyer and Gov.-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger headed south Thursday when Schwarzenegger accused the AG of violating attorney-client privilege for talking about sexual abuse allegations against the actor-turned-politician. Lockyer discussed the alleged improprieties at a news conference Thursday morning. He said they would continue to be a problem and said he had advised Schwarzenegger to enlist an independent investigator to clear things up. “I think that it’s a stain on his reputation and administration to still have these doubts,” Lockyer said. Schwarzenegger shot back a few hours later, when his spokesman Rob Stutzman accused Lockyer of violating attorney ethics by divulging what the pair had talked about in a series of meetings held since the Oct. 7 recall. Stutzman said he didn’t know why Lockyer would breach lawyer-client confidentiality but that maybe the AG was motivated by politics or just “poor lawyering.” Stutzman also announced that Schwarzenegger will indeed hire an independent investigator, but now the results of the inquiry might not be turned over to Lockyer, as the new governor had planned. The AG’s office said the discussions between the two men are not privileged at all. “The attorney general was giving advice to a friend. It’s nothing that he hasn’t said publicly and privately,” said Lockyer spokeswoman Hallye Jordan. Legal experts backed up the AG’s interpretation. Santa Clara University School of Law professor Gerald Uelmen said the AG is not the governor’s personal attorney, so there’s no privilege. The AG represents the state, Uelmen explained. “They were so lovey-dovey last week,” Uelmen said. “This is a surprising turn.” Stutzman said that even though Schwarzenegger hadn’t yet been sworn in, he believed that his discussions with Lockyer were private. “The governor-elect has not waived his privilege,” the spokesman said. But Chip Nielsen, a partner in the Marin, Calif., office of Nielsen, Merksamer, Parrinello, Mueller & Naylor, said there couldn’t be that kind of privileged relationship because Schwarzenegger is still a private citizen and hasn’t yet taken the governor’s oath. “I would hope somebody brings the two together to kiss and make up. They have more important things to do in the next two weeks,” Nielsen said. Thursday’s exchange opened a rift between the two men, who otherwise had seemed on their way to an excellent relationship. Schwarzenegger and the AG have known each other for some time — Lockyer helped push the governor-elect’s education initiative last year — and the pair has seemed to put aside partisan differences since the recall in favor of take-out dinners together and other socializing. Now the governor-elect’s people say those were lawyer-client meetings, and that Schwarzenegger “is extremely disappointed” with Lockyer. Although the AG had called for the investigation, he also met with Schwarzenegger several times and indicated he hoped to have a better relationship with the Republican than he did with fellow Democrat Gray Davis. Lockyer revealed he voted for Schwarzenegger after voting no on the recall, and even downplayed the alleged sexual misconduct by calling it “frat-boy” behavior. Lockyer even apparently gave his blessing to Schwarzenegger’s selection of the AG’s top lawyer, Chief Deputy Peter Siggins, as the new legal affairs secretary. Thursday was Siggins’ first day with the transition team. He did not return a call seeking comment. At the morning news conference, Lockyer tried to correct public perceptions of the “frat-boy” comment. He said he hadn’t meant to trivialize the allegations against Schwarzenegger, and that for Lockyer, such a characterization includes everything from drunken rowdiness to rape. “As a prosecutor, I should not accuse people of crimes without evidence, [but] I have reason to be concerned. The complaints won’t go away unless there’s some third-party assessment,” Lockyer said. Schwarzenegger has made several different responses to the allegations, including saying some things had happened, denying others, saying he didn’t remember and that the behavior wasn’t important anymore.

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