Tue. Sep 27th, 2022

Los Angeles County George Gascón’s claimed Wednesday that many DA’s were “bullied” into supporting the ultimately failed recall. 

Gascón made the comments during an interview with FOX 11 Los Angeles, two days after the recall attempt failed because organizers were unable to collect enough valid signatures for the proposal to be put on a ballot. 

Gascón told FOX 11 that even though nearly 98% of LA prosecutors were ostensibly in favor of the recall, many of them were “badgered” and bullied.” 

“Even when there was a vote of no confidence I happen to know a lot of people called me and reached out to me and said they were being badgered. If they had not responded they were being singled out they were being harassed in the workplace,” Gascón said. 

Asked to clarify that the DDA’s were being “bullied,” Gascón said, “some people said as much.” 

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Jon Hatami, Los Angeles deputy district attorney, pushed back against Gascón’s claims, “calling them completely false.” 

“The vote of the DDA’s to support or not support his recall was done over the internet, individually and confidentially. There was no way anyone would know how anyone else voted, where they voted, when they voted, or even if they did or didn’t vote,” Hatami told Fox News in a statement. 

“George is completely embarrassed by the vote and he lacks the ability to lead this office by example,” he said. “He continues to lie, gaslight and deflect from his failed and dangerous policies which have only made Los Angeles less safe. He knows it. His DDA’s know it. And the public knows it.”

It was the second attempt to qualify a recall election that could remove Gascón, after an initial attempt failed last year. In a tweet, Gascón wrote that he was “grateful to move forward from this attempted political power grab.”

“My primary focus has been & will always be keeping us safe & creating a more equitable justice system for all,” he wrote.

Recall organizers needed to gather nearly 570,000 valid petition signatures to schedule an election. But county officials found only about 520,000 were valid, well below the threshold, after disqualifying nearly 200,000 signatures turned in.

Gascón, a former San Francisco police chief who then became DA in that city, won office in Los Angeles in November 2020 as part of a wave of progressive prosecutors elected nationwide.

He ran on a criminal justice reform platform after a summer of unrest following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Los Angeles is a heavily Democratic city known for its progressive politics, but Gascón faced criticism from business leaders and prosecutors in his own office for policies that they saw as ineffective to stem rising crime. His moves to sharply restrict when prosecutors can try juveniles as adults or seek life sentences angered victims-rights groups.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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