Councilmember Friedman’s Home Searched In Fake Instagram Account Investigation
Investigators with the District Attorney’s office executed a search warrant yesterday at the home of City Councilmember Lester Friedman as part of an investigation into an Instagram account impersonating City Council candidate Sharona Nazarian, Friedman confirmed to the Courier.
“I was informed by the District Attorney’s office that an investigation of an Instagram account entitled ‘Sharona4Gascon’ is ongoing,” Friedman said. “As part of the investigation, my residence was listed as one of eight locations that search warrants were issued [for].”
Friedman added that the search warrant “was not directed nor did it name me” and that he and his campaign were “fully cooperating with the investigation.”
The DA’s office declined to comment.
Friedman, an attorney who has served on the City Council since 2017, is poised to retain his seat on the Council after the June 7 election. He practices as a workers compensation lawyer.
Nazarian, who previously served on the Public Works and Human Relations commissions, stands to win a City Council seat, with current vote totals placing her in second place.
In April, a fake Instagram account using Nazarian’s name and photo surfaced online. The account, Sharona4Gascon, included photos of embattled District Attorney George Gascón with supportive captions like, “This man is a hero and doing wonderful things for the City of Beverly Hills and humanity!”
Though initially vague on her stance regarding Gascón, Nazarian has since called for his recall.
When asked if he had any connection to the account, Friedman answered, “Absolutely not.”
Friedman declined to say what investigators seized as a result of the warrant, only saying that they “did not take anything of mine.” He said that the warrant was very general, listing “everything under the sun.”
The Beverly Hills Police Department (BHPD) did not participate in the search warrant, but “we were aware of the the police activity at the council member’s location,” according to Public Information Officer Lt. Giovani Trejo.
Trejo declined to provide more information, but said that “the investigation is being handled by the DA’s office.”
City Spokesperson Keith Sterling said he had no knowledge of the details of the warrant.
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information comes out.