District attorney arrested for rape

October 3, 2008 7:34:17 PM PDT
Michael Gressett built his career on being tough on criminals, most recently as a deputy district attorney in Contra Costa County prosecuting sex crimes.

But now, the one-time candidate for district attorney finds himself in jail, charged with rape. The 51-year-old Gressett was arrested Thursday in downtown Martinez; police say the incident being investigated occurred in May.

"Any cases with this length of time, it makes it more difficult," Commander Eric Ghisletta of the Martinez Police Department said. "Evidence, some of the critical evidence is lost over time."

Gressett has been charged with four felonies, including rape and sodomy.

ABC7 has confirmed that Gressett's accuser is a female co-worker in the district attorney's office.

"There was a relationship," Gressett's attorney Michael Cardoza said. "Just the fact that he's been accused of this by the accuser devastates his life, I mean personally and professionally, I mean we all know, when he finally walks away from this there will always be people who go 'hmmm, I wonder.'"

As part of their investigation, Martinez police searched Gressett's condominium. Inside, they claim they found evidence to support their case.

Gressett's long-time neighbor Anna Sissun watched as police searched the home of her friend/

"We know how passionate he is about his job and how internally, he gets so upset when he is prosecuting something of this nature," Sissun said.

To avoid a conflict of interest, the case has been turned over to the California Attorney General's office to determine what, if any formal charges will be filed.

Gressett remains in jail on $1 million bail.


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