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The effort to recall Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon may have failed, but the movement brought attention to the prosecutor’s radical policies, a deputy DA told Fox News.
The petition to recall Gascon was about 46,000 verified signatures short of the nearly 567,000 needed, Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorded/County Clerk Dean C. Logan announced Monday.
“I think us fighting has really got a lot of media involved, and a lot of people have seen the rogue and radical policies of George Gascon,” Jon Hatami, a Los Angeles deputy DA and a leader of the recall campaign, told Fox News. “I think he’s made some changes as a result of that.”
“Fighting against George Gascon for the last 20 months has really made him change some of his policies and brought to light all the bad and horrible things he was doing,” Hatami continued.
Gascon issued a directive immediately after taking office in late 2020 that banned prosecutors from seeking life sentences without parole and trying juveniles as adults. The DA softened that blanket approach and softened that order in February 2022, shortly after the recall campaign launched.
Still, Hatami worried that Gascon’s policies endangered Los Angeles residents.
“It’s disappointing because I think that there are going to be more people that are victimized as a result of his policies,” Hatami told Fox News.
Recall organizers have said Gascon has enabled criminals with his policies, such as his earlier stance on juveniles and life sentences, as well as his orders preventing prosecutors from seeking the death penalty and enhancement allegations, which can increase prison sentences.
The campaign successfully gathered enough signatures to trigger a recall election, but nearly 196,000 were found to be invalid for various issues, such as listing the wrong address or being a duplicate, according to Logan.
Still, the recall movement was strong and represented a coalition of united Angelenos, Hatami told Fox News.
“All these individuals, hundreds of thousands of them came out, wanted George Gascon removed from office and feel like he isn’t doing the job he’s supposed to be doing,” Hatami said.
Gascon tweeted In response to the petition results that he is “grateful to move forward from this attempted political power grab.”
“This wasn’t a political power grab at all,” Hatami told Fox News. “I’m a Democrat. There are many Democrats here in Los Angeles who have been standing up to George Gascon.”
“Being a good prosecutor has absolutely nothing to do with politics,” he continued.
The recall’s organizers have a three-week window to review the registrar’s findings, according to the Los Angeles County Registrar.
“The Recall Committee intends to exercise its full statutory and legal authority to review the rejected signatures and verification process that took place, and will ultimately seek to ensure no voter was disenfranchised,” Recall District Attorney George Gascon said in a statement. “The removal of George Gascon from office has never been a matter of if, but when.”
Hatami told Fox News: “We’re going to have to get George Gascon out in 2024. “2024 is coming up sooner than you think.”
“My message to [Gascon] is: your days are numbered,” Hatami added.
Gascon’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Bradford Betz, Adam Sabes and Bill Melugin contributed to this report.