SAN FRANCISCO -- A malicious prosecution and defamation lawsuit brought by a former Contra Costa County deputy district attorney unsuccessfully tried for rape will proceed.

U.S. District Judge Edward Chen on Thursday declined to dismiss veteran former prosecutor Michael Gressett's lawsuit against retired District Attorney Robert Kochly; former deputy district attorneys Paul Sequeira and Brian Baker; district attorney inspectors Gene Greenwald, Paul Mulligan and Darryl Jackson; and private attorney, former judge and 2010 district attorney candidate Dan O'Malley.

The judge did dismiss Gressett's cases against Martinez police Detective Jon Sylvia, state prosecutor Joyce Blair and O'Malley's law partner, Tom McKenna.

Former Contra Costa County sex crimes prosecutor Michael Gressett, right, at a 2012 press conference with his attorney Gary Gwilliam, left.
Former Contra Costa County sex crimes prosecutor Michael Gressett, right, at a 2012 press conference with his attorney Gary Gwilliam, left. ( Jane Tyska, Bay Area News Group)

"We are very pleased with these rulings, and Michael Gressett is looking forward to getting justice and having his day in court after many years of litigation," said Gressett's attorney, Gary Gwilliam of Oakland.

Gressett, a two-time district attorney candidate, alleges that Kochly and the others named in his litigation conspired to prosecute him for the rape of a colleague in order to help clear the field of potential 2010 district attorney challengers.

Kochly planned to retire and had endorsed O'Malley as his successor. But in a campaign dominated by the Gressett case, O'Malley would lose to then-deputy district attorney Mark Peterson.

Gressett was arrested in September 2008 after a junior prosecutor said he raped her in his Martinez townhouse four months earlier while they were on their lunch break. He described the sex as rough but consensual.

The veteran former prosecutor was awaiting trial in October 2011 on a 13-count felony indictment when a judge dismissed the criminal case because the state Attorney General's Office failed to tell grand jurors that Gressett's accuser had received a $450,000 settlement from Contra Costa County.

Gressett filed an initial lawsuit in U.S. District Court in late 2012, which Judge Chen tossed out last June as insufficient.

The former prosecutor subsequently refiled the case.

In the judge's Thursday ruling that the revised litigation may move ahead, Chen wrote that "there are enough questions of fact to make a dismissal at this early juncture of the proceedings inappropriate."

Gressett remains on paid administrative leave at the county at a base salary of $146,973 a year plus benefits.

Staff writer Malaika Fraley contributed to this story. Contact Lisa Vorderbrueggen at 925-945-4773 or at Twitter.com/lvorderbrueggen.