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One of the subplots to the frenzied reaction to yesterday’s Union-Tribune editorial criticizing City Attorney Mike Aguirre’s campaign fundraising was the threat by Executive Assistant City Attorney Don McGrath to sue the newspaper or its editorial page editor, Bob Kittle, for libel.

Don “The Rat” McGrath

McGrath said he was penning a letter to Kittle informing him of the steps he would have to take in order to avoid being sued for damages.

“I want a newspaper,” McGrath said.

Kittle, in an interview, said he had not heard from McGrath and also offered up advice for Aguirre’s top legal lieutenant.

“I would say this to Mr. McGrath: In the state of California, truth is an absolute defense against libel,” Kittle said.

Kittle defended the editorial, which was criticized by campaign finance attorneys yesterday, saying the charter section being downplayed by the lawyers is “law of the land” and that other legislation regarding elections fail to trump it.

He also said he found it ironic that Aguirre was criticizing the charter in this instance after claiming it supreme to typical rules for attorneys, which has allowed him act independently of other city officials.

“For our city attorney to brag about not complying with City Charter is at least an ethical breach,” Kittle said.

EVAN McLAUGHLIN and ANDREW DONOHUE

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