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Dumanis releases recommendation letter

San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis on Wednesday finally released a controversial college recommendation letter she wrote for the son of a foreign national at the center of a campaign finance scandal.

Dumanis had been asked to release the letter on the eve of the June 3 primary election but refused, claiming it was not a public record and citing the privacy rights of the individual who is the subject of the letter.

This week, several news organizations joined together in asking Dumanis to produce the document, threatening a lawsuit if she didn't comply.

Dumanis released the letter during a Wednesday appearance on KUSI-TV.

“Speculation over this letter has been without merit," Dumanis said in a statement. "Even though this is not a public record, but a personal letter, I have decided to release this letter in this case only. It is my hope that by doing so, we can all focus on holding the individuals charged with crimes responsible for their actions.”

She wrote the letter to University of San Diego President Mary Lyons on behalf of Susumo Azano Jr., whose father, Jose Susumo Azano Matsura, has been accused of funneling more than $600,000 to several local campaigns in 2012 and 2014.

One of the campaigns the elder Azano has been accused of funding was Dumanis' failed bid for San Diego mayor in 2012.

In her recommendation letter for Azano Jr., dated Sept. 28, 2012, Dumanis wrote, "Susumo is a bright, energetic, compassionate and genuinely well-rounded young man."

She also mentions that he volunteers annually with various charitable groups in Jalisco, Mexico, and has shown an active interest in government and politics.

"Susumo is an exceptional student and individual, one that would contribute greatly to any program," she wrote.

The letter is written on district attorney letterhead.

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