Lawmaker's Lurid Stories Were Lies: Lobbyist

The lobbyist linked to Mike Duvall can't believe anyone would take him seriously

By Jonathan Lloyd
|  Wednesday, Nov 4, 2009  |  Updated 6:04 AM PDT
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California State Assembly

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Assemblyman Michael Duvall is caught on tape boasting of his sexual exploits.
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It seems nobody wants anything to do with former Assemblyman Mike Duvall.

The FBI announced Monday that it won't pursue charges in the case of the Yorba Linda Republican. Duvall resigned Sept. 9, the day after the married  father of two's claim to having sex with two lobbyists was picked up by an open  microphone during a lull in a committee hearing.

The Fair Political Practices Commission also said it would not  investigate a complaint lodged by the watchdog group Common Cause. California Attorney General Jerry Brown and the Assembly Ethics  Committee also declined to investigate because Duvall had stepped down.

But there's still the matter of the woman whose name was linked to his "inappropriate" stories.

An attorney for Sempra Energy lobbyist Heidi Barsuglia said she is weighing a potential lawsuit. Barsuglia said Duvall's lurid comments regarding the alleged affairs created a "professional and personal nightmare."

"I did nothing whatsoever illegal or unethical  with former Assemblyman Duvall or anyone else," Barsuglia said in a statement. "What is shocking to me and my family is that anyone would have taken  seriously the statements of someone boasting about his alleged exploits or even  believed for a moment that they were true. I am now pleased to be  able to say publicly that the United States Attorney, the FBI, the FPPC and my  employer have all carefully examined the facts and found no violation of legal  or ethical standards."

Barsuglia has been fully reinstated to her job, according to Sempra Energy.

"Consistent with the outcome of the government investigations and  Sempra Energy's own investigation, we have closed our review of this personnel  matter and reinstated our employee to active status," a Sempra statement said.
 
This all started in September when Duvall's comments regarding his alleged exploits came to light. The comments were made to a colleague during a committee meeting. His voice was picked up by a live mic.

"The FBI has concluded its preliminary investigation concerning comments made by former California Assemblyman Mike Duvall, and no prosecutive action by the United States attorney's office is warranted," the FBI said in a statement.

Barsuglia's attorney, Malcolm Segal said his client "has been defamed  in monumental proportions. Her reputation, her job and her exemplary career  have all been placed in jeopardy by Duvall's disgusting remarks.

"Sadly, his recorded comments were clearly made in a way which lead  people to believe that she was the subject of his conversation, and his  statements after the tape became public did very little to correct the  situation. Just so there is no doubt left in anyone's  mind, what Mr. Duvall later called 'inappropriate storytelling' was just a  plain old-fashioned lie. Mrs. Barsuglia is considering all of her legal  remedies."

After Duvall resigned, he posted a statement on his website, saying he  wanted "to make it clear that my decision to resign is in no way an admission  that I had an affair or affairs.

"My offense was engaging in inappropriate storytelling and I regret my  language and choice of words. The resulting media coverage was  proving to be an unneeded distraction to my colleagues and I resigned in the  hope that my decision would allow them to return to the business of the  state."
 

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