SAN FRANCISCO -- A veteran Contra Costa County deputy district attorney unsuccessfully prosecuted on rape charges has refiled his malicious-prosecution lawsuit against those he claims conspired to take him down for political reasons.
The latest complaint, filed in federal court last week, is Michael Gressett's more specific account of how prosecutors, private attorneys and investigators pursued a rape case he claims they knew was based on lies.
U.S. District Judge Edward Chen dismissed Gressett's previous malicious-prosecution and defamation complaint in May, saying it lacked proof supporting Gressett's claim he was prosecuted as a part of a political conspiracy.
Gressett, 56, was arrested in September 2008, four months after a junior contract prosecutor told office administrators Gressett had raped her in his Martinez townhouse while they were on their lunch break.
Gressett was awaiting trial on a 13-count felony indictment when a judge in October 2011 dismissed the case because the state Attorney General's Office failed to tell grand jurors that Gressett's accuser had received a $450,000 settlement from Contra Costa County.
The state prosecutors could have refiled criminal charges, but instead they abandoned the case with no explanation to the public. Gressett has remained on paid administrative leave since he was ordered rehired with back pay by an arbitrator in February 2011.
Gressett is suing retired Contra Costa County DA Robert Kochly, former office administrators Paul Sequeira and Brian Baker, DA inspectors Gene Greenwald, Paul Mulligan and Darryl Jackson, Martinez police Detective Jon Sylvia, state prosecutor Joyce Blair and private attorneys Tom McKenna and Dan O'Malley.
The federal judge previously dismissed retired Martinez police Chief Tom Simonetti as a defendant, and Gressett has voluntarily dropped state prosecutor Peter Flores from the list.
The complaint alleges that Gressett's accuser never wanted to pursue a criminal case but only wanted to use the rape claim to get hired full time with the District Attorney's Office. The complaint claims the heads of the DA's office didn't believe Gressett raped the woman, but went after him anyway in hopes of smearing the election campaign of Mark Peterson -- Gressett's political ally -- in his 2010 race against O'Malley for the district attorney job.
Peterson ended up winning the race after a campaign season that focused heavily on Gressett's rape case and a culture of inappropriate workplace talk exposed after Gressett's arrest.
Attorneys for the defendants have not been commenting on the ongoing legal action.
Gary Gwilliam, Gressett's attorney, said Friday that all parties go before Chen on Sept. 6 to see if he will allow the pleading, or at least portions of it, to move forward.
"It's a complicated case and it always has been, so we have just been refining the complications, so to speak," Gwilliam said.
Contact Malaika Fraley at 925-234-1684. Follow her at Twitter.com/malaikafraley.