Former Bakersfield mayoral candidate T.J. Esposito will not be charged over allegations he obtained a document containing private medical information about a Republican political consulting firm member and tried using it against him to influence public policy on pot.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Mark Pafford said there's insufficient evidence and the D.A.'s office doesn't believe it could secure a conviction based on what they have.
Esposito, an advocate for the local legalization of marijuana, and Mark Salvaggio, a former Bakersfield city councilman, are currently the subject of a lawsuit from Matthew Martin in connection with the release of the medical records.
Martin is an employee of Western Pacific Research, a Republican political consulting firm that represents a number of clients who have voted against marijuana.
In his court filing, Martin accuses Esposito of acquiring a document containing Martin's "protected health information." That information, according to an email obtained by The Californian, included that Martin has a doctor's recommendation to use medical marijuana.
Martin said Esposito emailed him and "made threats and demands on Martin and insinuated that Martin should attempt to influence the clients of his employer and attempt to influence public votes and public policy in favor of Esposito and the proliferation and commercialization of marijuana or the protected health information … would be illegally disseminated to the media, business owners and others."
That email was later sent to Salvaggio, Martin claims, and Salvaggio illegally distributed it to "third parties."