The Secret Audio Record of Barbara Burton and Her Husband, David, Discussing Their Relationship

Roots of L.A. City Council’s leaked audio scandal can be traced back decades, to a scandal involving City Councilwoman Barbara F. Burton.

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This article explores the origins of the revelations of corruption that have rocked Los Angeles this year with the airing of a secret audio recording of City Councilwoman Barbara F. Burton and her husband, David, who were recorded discussing their affair. The recording took place in late 1995 or early 1996 and was made by the television program Live with David Brinkley. The recording, which was released in redacted form last week, reveals David Burton admitting to his wife, and on video tape, to having an affair with the City Councilwoman.

On June 17, 1995, the three-hour Live with David Brinkley program was broadcast on CBS. In it, a tape was revealed recording the then-member of the Los Angeles City Council, Barbara Burton. During the taped conversation, Burton discussed her relationship with David Burton. She told Brinkley that he had been with her for 12 years and they had married when they were both “22”. In fact, Burton had been married to David Burton, a Los Angeles County deputy, since September 1979.

The leaked audio recording of Burton is now the centerpiece in an unfolding scandal involving the council, her husband, and a political consultant who was in love with her at the time. Burton is no longer an active member of the City Council.

On January 23, 1997, The Los Angeles Times published a front page story by Bill Roos alleging that Burton had been a sexual partner with the city’s top political consultant, Bob Greenstein. The story, which was based on the leaked audio recording of Burton, had been withheld from the public during Burton’s trial for corruption and perjury. The story’s lead paragraph quoted Burton as saying of Greenstein, “[He] was a man that I was attracted

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