‘Game of Thrones’ actor sues LAPD and L.A. County over false pedophile case

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Actor Joseph Gatt has appeared in numerous films and TV shows, including “Game of Thrones” and the live-action “Dumbo” movie from Disney. But in the early hours of April 6, 2022, police officers and detectives swarmed his home and arrested him.

In the days after, his face was attached to a Los Angeles Police Department news release asking the public for help to find “any additional victims,” announcing that Gatt was arrested on suspicion of communicating with a minor in a sexually explicit manner.

But over the course of the next year, the case against him fell apart.

On Thursday, Gatt sued Los Angeles County, Dist. Atty. George Gascón, the city of Los Angeles and the investigators who built the faulty case against him.

Prosecutors dropped all charges against the 52-year-old British actor in February.

When his case was dismissed, Gatt took to Instagram to say that he and his team were ready to present “overwhelming evidence” in court showing that the accuser manufactured evidence, that the search of his home was “illegal,” and that the case was marred by prosecutorial misconduct.

He wrote to Gascón, “I hope you read this.”

“It’s happening under your watch, right now,” Gatt said. “I voted for you and still believe you’re the best candidate, but this is exactly the kind of corruption you promised to clean up.”

Venusse Dunn, a spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office, said the case was dismissed due to “valid concerns regarding the sufficiency of the evidence.” She did not respond to additional questions about the investigation into Gatt. The case was dismissed “in the interest of justice” on Feb. 9, according to court records, the same day a preliminary hearing was scheduled where Gatt could have aired his allegations in open court.

Gatt’s lawsuit alleges prosecutors and police failed to thoroughly investigate the claims made against him, including failing to conduct a forensic analysis of the victim’s phone or even interview her until after the actor was arrested and faced public scrutiny over the charges.

The lead prosecutor on the case, Angela Brunson, “resigned” from the D.A.’s office shortly before the case was dismissed, according to the lawsuit. Court records now show she works for the Riverside County district attorney’s office. She did not respond to an email request for comment.

A high-level source in Gascón’s office, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case with the media, said the lawsuit has triggered an internal review of how the case was handled. The source said they “would not be surprised” if there was merit to Gatt’s allegations.

Prosecutors based their case on the allegations made by a girl in Kent, Wash., whom Gatt calls an obsessed fan. The girl’s older sister found fake Snapchat conversations on the girl’s phone about a year before Gatt’s arrest and took pictures of the conversations with her phone, according to Gatt’s 38-page federal lawsuit filed in the Central District of California.

The older sister uploaded the photos to a Google Drive and sent a link to the Kent Police Department. The older sister also uploaded two images of men who did not have clothes on, but their genitalia and their faces were not shown, Gatt said.

The men in the pictures were not Gatt, according to his complaint, but the images were taken by a second phone, thus removing the ability to verify the data through the actual photos.

When police searched Gatt’s Beverly Grove home, they took a purple blanket that could be seen in images the actor had shared on his social media accounts. One of the images taken from the Snapchat conversations on the girl’s phone showed a faceless man lying on top of a purple blanket, which looked similar to the one in Gatt’s home, but is not unique, according to the complaint.

The Snapchat conversations sent to police appeared to be snippets of the same conversations but with different responses. One supposedly showed Gatt writing that he and his partner had an arrangement that allowed him to pursue other relationships. Other screenshots show the same questions but with different responses, as though someone were trying out different answers with a software program.

“That conversation never happened; Jane Doe created it out of thin air,” Gatt said.

When Kent police tried to contact the 16-year-old girl, her older sister replied via email that “no further assistance is needed.”

Police noted in the case that they “did not find probable cause of a crime regarding the messages,” according to the lawsuit.

A month later, the girl agreed to an interview with investigators with her brother-in-law present. She admitted to police that she had a crush on Gatt and claimed that Gatt had engaged in sexually explicit conversations that turned out to be false, Gatt said.

Calls and e-mails to the Kent Police Department were not immediately returned Friday. The LAPD declined to comment due to the pending lawsuit.

Kent police referred the case to police in Los Angeles, where it was eventually presented to the district attorney’s office and Brunson took over. Gattclaims that the prosecutor has a “bias and personal animosity” against him, but he did not elaborate on the nature of the bias in his lawsuit.

As a result of his arrest, Gatt’s agent and the public relations firm that represented him dropped him as a client. He lost acting roles, and scenes he had already filmed for two other movie projects were cut or reshot with different actors, according to Gatt.

He stopped receiving any new offers for work, was forced to sell his car and received death threats, according to the lawsuit.

His lawsuit goes beyond blaming law enforcement for casting him as a “serial pedophile without any evidence or probable cause,” and accuses police and prosecutors of breaches of fundamental practices and a disregard for due diligence.

“These charges originate entirely from the unverified story of Jane Doe, a then 16-year-old whom Gatt did not know and has never actually met, and whom [investigators] did not even bother to interview or even remotely assess for credibility until almost one year after arresting Gatt and prosecuting him,” the suit said.

Gatt is seeking more than $40 million in damages.

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