State Sen. Bob Hertzberg (D-Los Angeles) said Thursday he will cooperate with a state investigation into complaints from a former legislator that she was uncomfortable with his repeated hugs after she asked him not to touch her.
Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León said Thursday that a team of outside attorneys will investigate a complaint by former Assemblywoman Linda Halderman that Hertzberg has made her uncomfortable with hugs that were too close and lasted too long.
Hertzberg, well-known for hugging other lawmakers, said he supports having any allegations investigated by the two outside law firms.
Halderman said Thursday she was encouraged that her concerns will be investigated, but said it was “disturbing “ that attorneys for one of the law firms selected, Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher, contributed more than $90,000 in campaign funds to sitting legislators including Hertzberg.
Halderman, a surgeon, served in the state Assembly from 2010 through 2012 and said Hertzberg hugged her multiple times even after she asked him to stop because she was uncomfortable. The last incident occurred in a hallway of the Capitol, she claimed.
“I told him I don’t care to be hugged. ‘Don’t touch me,’ ” Halderman recalled. “He then grabbed me and pinned my arms to my side and used his hands to press my lower back into his groin and he essentially pinned me so I couldn’t push off of him to get away the way I ended previous hugs.”
“It was certainly so over the line,” she added.