Court battle continues over confrontation between Black Lives Matter protesters, ex-DA’s now-late husband

LOS ANGELES — Attorneys for the estate of the late husband of former Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey are fighting an attempt by a Black Lives Matter demonstrator to block their attempts to obtain information on her Cal State Los Angeles teaching curriculum.

In court papers filed Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court, lawyers for the estate of David Lacey maintain that the motion by Melina Abdullah’s attorneys to quash the subpoena for information on privacy grounds is both “procedurally defective and substantively without merit.”

Abdullah is a co-founder of the Los Angeles chapter of Black Lives Matter and a professor of Pan-African Studies at CSULA, where she teaches courses, among other things, on power relations in Black communities and provoking change through aggressive behaviors, according to the David Lacey estate attorneys’ court papers.

For several years, protesters, including BLM members, gathered sometimes in the hundreds outside the Hall of Justice, where Lacey’s office was located, every Wednesday to protest what they believed was an insufficient number of criminal cases brought against police officers who killed civilians. They came with signs, noise-amplifiers and drums and chanted slogans such as, “Bye, Jackie” and “Jackie Lacey Must Go.”

The suit filed in October 2020 stems from a confrontation occurred when BLM members Abdullah, Dahlia Ferlito and Justin Marks showed up at the couple’s Granada Hills residence the morning of March 2, 2020, and were confronted at gunpoint at the door by David Lacey, who died Sept. 5.

The three plaintiffs allege they suffered emotional distress from the incident.

On Oct. 19, the David Lacey estate lawyers served a deposition subpoena for production of business records on CSULA seeking Abdullah’s teaching curriculum for “topics related to protesting and provoking change through various actions and behaviors,” their court papers state.

The date of production in response to the subpoena was Nov. 14, but Abdullah’s attorneys instead filed a motion to quash the subpoena that day, according to the court papers of the attorneys for the estate of David Lacey.

“(Abdullah’s) motion is substantively meritless because Mr. Lacey is not seeking (her) employment records nor any records subject to privacy or privilege concerns,” the David Lacey estate attorneys argue in their court papers. “Rather, the subpoena seeks plaintiff Melina Abdullah’s teaching curriculum … as taught within her Pan-African study courses at CSULA.”

Without first establishing a privacy interest in a college professor’s teaching curriculum — which the David Lacey estate attorneys maintain in their court papers is widely disseminated and available amongst Abdullah’s students and CSULA students at large — Abdullah has no basis to file the motion to quash, those same lawyers assert.

A hearing on Abdullah’s motion to quash the subpoena is scheduled Jan. 19 before Judge Theresa M. Traber.

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