Jonathan Hatami For DA, used with permission

LA County Deputy DA Jonathan Hatami Is the Lead Challenger in the Race to Unseat George Gascon

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon is about to face voters again for the first time since winning election in November 2020, and it’s not looking great for the “justice reformer.” According to a recent California Elections and Policy Poll (CEPP) taken January 21-29 showed that 51 percent of the participants disapprove of the job Gascon is doing as District Attorney.

There are multiple challengers facing Gascon in the March 5 election, which is a positive because it makes it more likely that Gascon won’t be able to get to 50 percent and win outright. However, since there are seven challengers (possibly one or two others I’m not recalling), it’s more likely that Gascon will be one of the two making it to the run-off, especially given how organized the Democratic Socialists in the area are.

One name stands out in the race and in the polling – current Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Hatami, an office veteran who has made a name for himself both for his prosecution of child murderers and for his consistent public opposition to Gascon’s policies, who’s the highest-polling challenger in the race.

Hatami’s also doing well in fundraising, and on Monday launched video ads on streaming TV services and online, and radio ads on the top three talk radio stations in Los Angeles County that will run through March 5. That’s a big deal because although Gascon is winning in the polls, with 15% of respondents saying they’d vote for him if the election were held today, 64 percent of the respondents were undecided – meaning that quite a few people don’t want Gascon, but they don’t know enough about who’s running against him to make a choice.

The poll results are as follows:

  • 15% George Gascon
  • 8% Jonathan Hatami
  • 4% Nathan Hochman
  • 2% Jeff Chemerinsky
  • 2% Craig Mitchell
  • 2% Maria Ramirez
  • Less than 1% each, all other individual candidates
  • 64% Don’t Know

Hatami posted his latest video ad to Twitter Monday morning, writing:

As a 17-year Deputy District Attorney in Los Angeles, I’ve prosecuted some of the most notorious crimes against children our county has ever seen. It has been the greatest honor of my life to fight for abused, neglected and murdered children – children like little Gabriel Fernandez.
The passion and dedication I bring when I fight for justice for children like Gabriel is the same passion I will bring to the entire county of Los Angeles as District Attorney.
So many know me as Gabriel’s Prosecutor – now I’m running to be YOUR Prosecutor, the People’s Prosecutor – The Los Angeles County District Attorney.
It’s time to restore public safety, bring transparency back to the people’s office, hold wrongdoers accountable, and make real, meaningful reforms.
I’m asking for your vote by March 5th, 2024.

In an earlier video, Hatami highlighted that George Gascon’s policies are an attack on Los Angeles’ businesses “and our way of life” – and emphasized that Gascon was “a co-author and architect of Proposition 47,” the law that lowered the threshold for felony theft and led to the current deadly wave of smash-and-grab retail thefts.

Hatami For LA District Attorney: The Video George Gascón Doesn’t Want You To See from Jonathan Hatami on Vimeo.

Hatami was the first Deputy District Attorney to publicly speak out against Gascon’s directives, tearfully telling ABC-7:

“A lot of DDAs (deputy district attorneys) are really scared. They are sending people to court to monitor what we say. They are working with the public defenders and alternate public defenders to intimidate us and document what we do and what we say.
“I just don’t understand why we’re not trying to prosecute child murderers to the fullest extent of the law.
“I believe that there needs to be some reforms, however, those reforms need to be based upon the law. They also need to be based upon the protection of the public. They need to be based upon the protection of children. They need to be based upon the facts of each case.
“I don’t want to lose my job. Unless they run me out of here or they take away all my cases, I’m not going anywhere. And I’m going to fight for all the kids.”

Hatami has also appeared on Fox & Friends and local media numerous times since then to get the truth out about how harmful Gascon’s policies have been not just for the public in general, but for crime victims and survivors. For his dedication he’s been relentlessly retaliated against by the Gascon administration and forced to file a lawsuit to get it to stop. Within eight days of taking office in December 2020 Gascon was attacking Hatami in the press.
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.”

Szabo’s words, including his comment to Silva, prompted the LA Association of Deputy District Attorneys to issue a statement condemning Szabo’s actions:

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.

Ballots for Los Angeles County elections were mailed starting February 1st to all registered voters. While there will undoubtedly be fraud, it’s still important for everyone who is sick of life in George Gascon’s Los Angeles to vote, and to vote for anybody but Gascon.

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