Oakland police officer Giovanni LoVerde pleads not guilty in charge related to sex scandal

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OAKLAND (KRON) — Oakland police officer Giovanni LoVerde has pleaded not guilty to a charge connected with the sex scandal plaguing the department, according to KRON4’s Dan Kerman.

LoVerde pleaded not guilty to a sexual misconduct charge, KRON4 has learned. He said he wants to share his story but was advised by his attorney not to.

A lawyer for LoVerde, one of the many law enforcement officers who allegedly engaged in sexual misconduct with the teenage daughter of an Oakland police dispatcher, alleged Friday that the teenager was soliciting officers for sex.

Veteran attorney Michael Cardoza, who formerly worked for the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office and represents Oakland Officer Giovanni LoVerde, alleged that the teenager, who is now 19, “was trolling”
for officers and “Facebooked everybody” by contacting them through the social media website.

Cardoza also alleged that the teen caused Oakland police Officer Brendan O’Brien to commit suicide at his home in the Oakland hills on Sept. 25, 2015, as she was threatening to falsely accuse him of having sex with her while she was a minor.

LoVerde was in court on Friday for his arraignment on a charge of felony oral copulation with a minor.

The woman at the center of the sex scandal case, Jasmine Abuslin, dropped Pamela Price as her attorney on Thursday. Civil rights attorney John Burris will now represent Abuslin.

LoVerde, 33, has a wife, a 3-year-old son, and a 6-year-old daughter.

The scheduled bail for that offense is $50,000 but Alameda County Superior Court Judge Armando Cuellar agreed to set LoVerde’s bail at only $20,000 after Cardoza successfully argued that LoVerde has no prior criminal record and isn’t a flight risk.

LoVerde is scheduled to return to court on Dec. 5 for a pretrial hearing.

The teenage woman, who’s identified in court papers as Jane Doe [Abuslin], allegedly engaged in sex with officers from at least seven law enforcement agencies in the Bay Area and beyond.

Lawyers for the teen have filed claims against multiple law enforcement and local government agencies seeking more than $100 million in damages, including a $66 million claim against the city of Oakland and its
police department.

The woman was formerly represented by Pamela Price but the teem is now represented by Oakland civil rights attorney John Burris, who attended LoVerde’s arraignment Friday.

Burris told a group of more than a dozen reporters who covered LoVerde’s hearing that, “I came here to see what he looks like” but declined to comment on the teen’s legal claims because he’s just getting into the
case.

After the brief hearing, Cardoza said LoVerde never met the alleged victim and never had sex with her, although he admitted that LoVerde had communicated with her through social media.

In the motion he filed asking that LoVerde be granted a low bail or even be allowed to remain free on his own recognizance, Cardoza said the teen was interviewed multiple times by Oakland police and the District Attorney’s Office between the time of O’Brien’s suicide and May and she “adamantly denied” that she’s ever had sex with LoVerde.

Cardoza wrote that in June the teen claimed for the first time that she had performed oral sex on LoVerde.

He said that when investigators confronted her in July about the contradictions “she refused to answer any more questions about Mr. LoVerde.”

Cardoza wrote that O’Brien left a suicide note in which he stated, “Jane Doe was going to ruin his life and career by claiming that they had sex while Jane Doe was a minor” but O’Brien denied having sex with her.

Speaking to reporters Friday, Cardoza accused the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office of bringing charges against LoVerde and other police officers for “political” reasons.

District Attorney spokeswoman Teresa Drenick declined to comment on Cardoza’s allegation, saying, “We aren’t commenting further at this time on the ongoing criminal prosecution.”

Cardoza said what happened to the teenager was “horrific” but claimed that “she’s been affected by it” and now seems to be trying to capitalize on it.

“This case has turned into money for her,” he said. “A moral issue has turned into a monetary issue.”

Cardoza also represents Oakland police Officer Ryan Walterhouse, 26, who followed LoVerde into court Friday and pleaded not guilty to two felony counts of conspiracy to obstruct justice and one misdemeanor count of engaging in an act of prostitution.

Walterhouse is accused of tipping off a prostitute about police crackdowns against prostitution in East Oakland on Oct. 13 and 14.

Walterhouse, who was arrested at 9 p.m. on Wednesday night when he reported for work, but is now free on $20,000 bail, is scheduled to return to court on Dec. 7 for a pretrial hearing.

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