bonnie dumanis san diego
Former District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis speaks at a county supervisor candidate forum. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

“Is this a trial?”

That was Bonnie Dumanis at one point in our interview for this week’s podcast. We were asking questions we’ve long had about the biggest campaign finance scandal we’ve seen in the last five years in San Diego.

We’ve long wondered what Jose Susumo Azano Matsura, who was convicted of illegally funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars in support of local candidates, was trying to achieve here. We came the closest with this investigation. He had long been at war with Sempra. It seemed clear he wanted San Diego officials, particularly law enforcement and federally connected politicians, to press his case that Sempra should be investigated.

But we wanted to know just what Dumanis had talked about with him, and why we got pieces of revelations about their relationship, or lack thereof, dribbled out over two years.

“I never hid anything. I’m not going to go over every single line and explain it to you,” she said.

The whole interview is something — and the tension did ease. Dumanis explained that part of the reason why she decided to step down from her job as district attorney is that she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and it made her re-think her career. But she tried to keep the information close.

“I didn’t talk much about it at the time because I didn’t want my troops to worry and they were already worried enough as it was,” she said.

She decided she had too long been on the side of dealing with people who had already gotten on the bad side of the law. She wanted to work on issues to help people before that happened.

She also apologized for pursuing prosecutions of alleged gang members for crimes other gang members committed. She has learned a lot about race since then, she said.

“In history and in time, the black community has [had] a big, huge net cast over them to find ways to prosecute and put them in jail or prison for reasons that no one can really explain,” she said.

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Scott Lewis oversees Voice of San Diego’s operations, website and daily functions as Editor in Chief. He also writes about local politics, where he frequently...

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