MARTINEZ -- A federal judge on Friday threw out a lawsuit lodged by a Contra Costa deputy district attorney who claims he was maliciously prosecuted on rape charges.

Martinez resident Michael Gressett, who is currently on paid leave, alleged in court documents he was the victim of a widespread conspiracy. But U.S. District Judge Edward Chen said that simply was not the case.

Gressett was arrested in May 2008 and later indicted on charges that he raped a junior colleague while on their lunch break. The case was dismissed in October 2011 when a judge ruled that state prosecutors should have told the grand jury that indicted Gressett that the woman who accused him of rape received a $450,000 settlement from Contra Costa County. The state Attorney General's Office never said why in February 2012 it declined to refile charges.

In May 2012, Gressett filed a federal civil lawsuit against the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office, retired District Attorney Bob Kochly and police officers and attorneys involved in the case against him.

Gressett alleged that defendants were politically motivated to pursue rape charges and ignore contradictory evidence. His lawsuit claimed the defendants were attempting to politically maim the campaign of Gressett's friend Mark Peterson, who was running for Contra Costa County district attorney. Gressett alleged the defendants thought Peterson's association with him would taint Peterson's image and as such would prevent him from being elected.


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Chen wrote in his opinion Friday that Gressett's accusations suffered from a "fatal flaw" in that they were not backed up by proof or facts to support his claims. He added that Gressett's claims largely depended on the existence of a conspiracy involving all the defendants, yet there was no evidence to suggest the defendants "conspired to maliciously prosecute him and subject him to false arrest."

"All of his causes ... rely on each defendant having some degree of knowledge that (Gressett) did not commit rape," Chen wrote. "Yet he largely does not plead facts suggesting they had any knowledge, instead simply concluding that all defendants 'knew' that the woman accusing him of rape had reason to lie."

Contact Katie Nelson at knelson@bayareanewsgroup.com.