Los Angeles County Deputy DA Jonathan Hatami has been the voice of hundreds of his colleagues since George Gascon was sworn in as District Attorney on December 7, speaking out against Gascon’s Special Directives on numerous talk radio and television news shows. Appearing on Fox & Friends on Thursday, Hatami basically ripped Gascon a new one.
Many people in states other than California blame Gascon’s win on liberal or uninformed California voters (forgetting that there are Soros DA’s across the country), but Hatami says the full scope of Gascon’s “reform” agenda wasn’t clear to the public:
He’s trying to affect cases involving child murderers, child rapists, very, very serious cases of people who were murdered, killed, tortured. He’s not just talking about cases involving marijuana…he’s talking about very serious and violent crimes. So I don’t believe the people knew when he ran what he was running on and what he was going to do.
He also pointed out something about Gascon that locals have commented on over the past week – Gascon’s complete lack of empathy or compassion.
What’s so shocking about that is, most police officers care about people. They care about victims. They care about their community. They’re compassionate. They show empathy. And the new DA has no compassion for victims. He has spoken to no victims. He has spoken to no victims in my cases or any cases that I know about. It’s unbelievably shocking.
Hatami’s criticisms angered Gascon, who had his spokesperson, Max Szabo, issue a retaliatory statement:
It seems Mr. Hatami has made a profound discovery rather late in his career. Like any other workplace, if you don’t do what your boss tells you to do, you may be disciplined. Mr. Gascon nor any of his aides generated, approved of, or otherwise disseminated the form in question.
Szabo also told Fox LA reporter Gina Silva that Hatami’s “delusional theories raise questions as to one’s fitness to practice law.”
First of all, Szabo is engaging in some creative wordsmithing with his denial of Gascon’s involvement in the creation and dissemination of the Google doc. We know that it was disseminated by Tiffany Blacknell, a public defender who serves on Gascon’s public policy advisory committee, and likely was created by her or at her direction. No, she’s not an aide of Gascon’s or an employee, but she is absolutely, unequivocally part of his inner circle.
Second, prosecutors in Los Angeles County aren’t hired/fired at-will, which is a rare situation. When other Soros DA’s have taken office they’ve summarily dismissed career prosecutors who disagreed with their “reforms” and done so in such a way that it sent a strong message to those who remained. As the LA Times explains:
L.A. County prosecutors are protected by strong civil service laws. They can’t openly defy directives from the boss, but they can’t be fired, demoted or disciplined without just cause. And even then, any finding of just cause would be subject to multiple layers of review.
The L.A. district attorney can hire and fire a handful of top managers without review, but the vast majority of his 1,000 lawyers and hundreds of investigators and other personnel are protected.
Now, Hatami has spoken out, but as far as I’m aware he hasn’t openly defied one of the Special Directives…yet. And, many DDA’s throughout California are of the opinion that the Directives instruct Gascon’s DDA’s to make untruthful statements to the Court, which is unethical and illegal. Is Szabo saying that DDA’s have to do what the boss says, without question? Szabo is probably a fan of the federal employees and Trump appointees who have openly defied Trump’s directives, and doesn’t recognize the logical inconsistency.
Szabo’s statements – both the one he authored for Gascon and his personal opinion – are clearly retaliatory, defamatory, and threatening. Szabo did not do his “boss” (Szabo isn’t an employee of the DA’s office, and it’s unclear how he’s paid) any favors and could end up costing the county a lot of money. He’s absolutely helping fuel recall proponents.
The LA Association of Deputy District Attorneys issued a statement Friday in which they slammed the attack on Hatami and demanded that the attacks cease.
In a statement to Fox 11, Maxwell Szabo, presenting himself as a spokesperson for the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office, attacked our member, Deputy District Attorney Jon Hatami, referring to him as “delusional” and questioning his fitness to practice law.
Deputy District Attorney Hatami is a tireless advocate for victims. He is a veteran prosecutor with a wealth of experience in prosecuting child murderers. As a prosecutor, he has tried over seventy cases before a jury. This attack by Mr. Szabo, who was admitted to the bar in May 2019, who is not a prosecutor nor even employed by the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office, and who represents that he is the spokesperson for Gascón’s “transition team,” is not only unwarranted but entirely without merit.
We demand these public attacks on our members cease.
Watch Fox 11’s report below: