Deputy D.A. files defamation lawsuit against Gascón

Jon Hatami, prosecutor for the Complex Victims Unit. Dan Watson/The Signal
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A Santa Clarita Valley-based deputy district attorney announced Tuesday he has filed a defamation lawsuit against Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón, alleging his boss has called him derogatory names that negatively impacted him both professionally and personally.  

Deputy District Attorney Jon Hatami — a long outspoken critic of Gascón since before the D.A. assumed the top lawyer job in the county in December 2020  — claimed in a lawsuit filed Tuesday morning in a downtown L.A. civil courthouse that Gascón had made comments that were “not right or just.” 

“My No. 1 job is being a Dad,” Hatami told The Signal on Tuesday. “George Gascón has adversely affected my family and my children by calling me derogatory names, attacking my character, criticizing my cases, negatively impacting my promotional status and salary, and creating an environment that makes doing my job much more difficult than it should be.” 

“And I will not stand by and allow him to harm my mental health, my family, my children, and my cases,” Hatami added. 

Officials from Gascón’s anti-recall campaign declined a request for comment for this story.  

In previous Signal stories, Hatami has alleged that during an interview with Spectrum News 1 on Nov. 18, 2020, Gascón criticized the deputy district attorney’s handling of the Gabriel Fernandez case — a case Hatami led involving the prosecution of a mother and her boyfriend for the 2013 torture and murder of an 8-year old.  

Other perceived slights on podcasts or through spokespeople have also been directed toward the deputy district attorney, who has been a speaker at a number of recall Gascón rallies and victims’ rights events in recent months, Hatami has previously said. 

“I have been fighting for abused children and serving my community for over 15 years. He’s only been here eight months. I will not tolerate a DA who acts like a bully. It’s not right or just.” 

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