LA County DA George Gascón sued by assistant prosecutor
A veteran prosecutor is suing Los Angeles County for defamation, denied promotion and questioning his aptitude for lawyer for being an outspoken critic of prosecutor George Gascón’s policies.
THE ANGEL – A veteran prosecutor is suing Los Angeles County for defamation, denied promotion and questioning his aptitude for lawyer for being an outspoken critic of prosecutor George Gascón’s policies.
Assistant District Attorney Jon Hatami’s lawsuit alleges retaliation, racial discrimination, defamation and willful infliction of emotional distress.
A representative from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office on Tuesday declined to comment on the complaint that Hatami, the prosecutor on the case of Jose Cuatro and Maria Juarez, a Palmdale couple indicted on Friday, on charges of murder and torture in death was filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court by her four-year-old son Noah.
Hatami was one of two prosecutors in the trial of Isauro Aguirre and Pearl Fernandez, who were sentenced to death and life without parole for the death of their 8-year-old son Gabriel.
When Gascón was sworn in last December, he vowed to halt enforcement of California’s three strikes law, end the use of the death penalty and set up a review body to hold law enforcement more accountable. As Hatami remains critical of Gascón’s changes, alleged hostile work and retaliatory measures against him have continued, according to his court records.
“Gascón has deliberately refused to assign (Hatami) complex cases of child abuse and murder under his jurisdiction as punishment for not following his instructions,” the lawsuit said. “This in turn affects (Hatami’s) work and ability to prove yourself for desired promotions.”
In August, Gascón promoted 15 assistant district attorneys from 3rd to 4th grade but excluded Hatami, who was due for the raise due to his “perfect job record, very positive performance reviews and numerous high profile cases and litigation” on the complaint.
Gascón said during an October 27 interview with Crime Story, “Some people will be unhappy and … either become internal terrorists or they will leave. And I certainly know how to deal with both,” the lawsuit reads. The “racist” comment was directed against Hatami, who is partly Iranian and whose father is a Muslim, claims the plaintiff.
On November 18, in an interview with Spectrum News 1, Gascón said the only reason the plaintiff in the Gabriel Fernandez case sought the death penalty was because his ego was hurt by Aguirre, that Aguirre had rubbed Hatami the wrong way, that Aguirre not the “seriousness” in the case and that, according to the lawsuit, Aguirre had rejected Hatami’s plea deal.
The complaint said the comments were “knowingly wrong” and were intended to damage Hatami’s reputation and ability to perform its duties.
On December 11, Gascon’s transition team spokesman Maxwell Szabo tweeted, “The greatest threat to public safety is the cabal of rogue prosecutors and their police union friends,” according to the lawsuit alleging the comment was to Hatami. been judged.
Six days later, Szabo stated on Fox 11, “It seems that Mr. Hatami made a profound discovery late in his career,” the suit said.
Szabo continued, “Hatami’s delusional theories raise questions about suitability to practice as a lawyer,” the lawsuit said.
On the same day, Hatami wrote to District President Kathryn Barger detailing the alleged harassment and defamatory behavior he experienced, but received no consideration, according to his lawsuit.
“The county has not intervened in any way or issued an official public statement denouncing the defamatory language published by Gascon and Szabo,” the lawsuit said.
The county has also failed to intervene to prevent and stop the hostile work environment that emerged almost immediately after Gascon was sworn in as Los Angeles District Attorney, in which long-standing prosecutors harassed, intimidated, treated like informers and retaliated for Raise concerns about the legality of new policies. “
Szabo also called Hatami a “liar” during a meeting of Whittier City Council on April 27, the lawsuit said.
Hatami said he filed an internal complaint against Szabo and asked prosecutors to publicly withdraw Szabo’s allegedly defamatory statements. Hatami says he received a letter on Jan. 26 on behalf of Gascón closing the investigation.
The letter states that the facts alleged by Hatami, even if true, are not subject to the “jurisdiction” of the County of Los Angeles’ Equity Policy, which seeks to uphold the right of employees to be free from discrimination, unlawful harassment, Guard against retaliation and inappropriate behavior, depending on the suit.
Tune in to FOX 11 Los Angeles for the latest news from Southern California.