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California Recall Debate Takes Awkward Turn As GOP Gov. Candidate Gets Served With Subpoena

California Recall Debate Takes Awkward Turn As GOP Gov. Candidate Gets Served With Subpoena

John Cox, a Republican candidate challenging California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom in the upcoming state recall election, had the spotlight stolen from him by a private investigator who served him with a subpoena.

The incident took place during the gubernatorial debate on the evening of August 17.

Los Angeles Times reporter Melody Gutierrez was on hand to capture the moment.

The video shows Cox speaking on stage before Aman Choudhry, a private investigator interrupts the proceedings to declare the following:

"John Cox, you've been served; San Diego Superior Court order by the judge."

The subpoena relates to prior campaign work related to Cox's unsuccessful gubernatorial bid in 2018.

Cox was the Republican candidate for governor in 2018 but lost to Newsom by a final tally of about 3 million votes, or 61.9 percent to 38.1 percent.

San Diego Superior Court Judge Daniel F. Link has ordered Cox to pay $97,587.43 to Sandler-Innocenzi, an Alexandria, Virginia, company that specializes in political ads.

That amount covers the cost of nearly $55,000 for political ads produced during that time as well as almost $43,000 in attorney's costs, interest and other fees.

The subpoena contained orders for Cox to appear at a debtor's examination, which will give attorneys for Sandler Innocenzi the opportunity to question Cox about his assets.

Speaking to NBC News, founding partner Jim Innocenzi said he looks to recoup production costs.

"[Cox] used the work, [Cox] benefitted from these commercials running on TV."
"The original $55,000 was for all of these vendors, people we hired out of California, hard-working Californians, the same people John Cox said he was running to protect because they'd been ignored by the special interests."
"So he ignored them too, he just stiffed them."

Cox was swiftly ridiculed.

The internet took glee in his very public humiliation.

Cox, for his part, continued with his remarks, though he later called the incident "a garbage thing."

He also didn't take responsibility.

Despite the judge ruling he should pay Sandler-Innocenzi for services rendered, Cox said:

"It's one creditor who didn't get paid from the 2018 campaign because he didn't deserve to be."

We'll see how the story develops but it's safe to say California's recall election is interesting for reasons beyond the actual recall.