Deputy District Attorney Albert Serrato said the investigator questioned council members Rich Cline, Peter Ohtaki, and Kirsten Keith, but that Ms. Fergusson declined a request for an interview. Reportedly not wanting to pay an attorney to oversee the interview, she instead provided copies of e-mails and public statements she made regarding the violation.
The Almanac broke the story of the violation in December. The councilwoman solicited support to be chosen as mayor in one-on-one conversations with fellow council members Rich Cline and Peter Ohtaki. Both said they were unaware that she had spoken to a majority of the council.
She may also have asked a third party to approach Ms. Keith as an intermediary, but Mr. Serrato said the investigation didn't uncover that person's identity.
After the city attorney confirmed the violation, Ms. Fergusson stepped down as mayor on Dec. 10 and the council held another vote, this time choosing Mr. Cline.
The DA then opened an investigation at the request of local Brown Act watchdog Peter Carpenter. Although the investigator confirmed the serial meeting, Mr. Serrato said no collective decision or commitment was reached, so the criminal provision of the Brown Act wasn't violated.
"Mr. Ohtaki did not vote for Ms. Fergusson, but more relevant here, he did not agree or commit to voting for her in his discussions with her," the attorney told The Almanac.
The district attorney's office considers the investigation closed after announcing its findings on Feb. 1. Does Mr. Carpenter? He told several newspapers, including The Almanac, "If I, as a public official, felt compelled to exercise my Fifth Amendment rights against self incrimination when asked about my behavior in office then I would also feel compelled to resign my public office."
Ms. Fergusson issued a statement thanking the district attorney's office for its thorough investigation. She again described the Brown Act violation as an "inadvertent mistake," although as former Councilman John Boyle pointed out in December, the council had received specific training on the issue of serial meetings during the previous year.