Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Hatami hosted a “meet and greet” on Sunday in which he laid out the major justifications for the campaign to recall District Attorney George Gascón.
The event was held at the Santa Clarita School of Performing Arts in Newhall and had about 50 attendees, including Santa Clarita City Councilwoman Marsha McLean and Joe Messina, president of the William S. Hart Union High School District governing board. Hatami’s wife and children were also in attendance.
It began with an hour-long speech in which Hatami heavily criticized Gascón and his policies and directives. Hatami and Gascón have been trading barbes publicly for months, and Hatami filed a lawsuit in September against Los Angeles County alleging defamation and racial discrimination as a direct result of his criticism of the D.A.
“I think the closer we get to this recall, is he gonna start doing more things to me? He is. I know it so I’m kind of ready, you know, prepping myself for it,” said Hatami. “If he was smart, he should have promoted me because then he would sort of shut me down about things I’m saying, but he’s a narcissist…and you know, he’s not that smart. Not only that he’s never prosecuted one case in his entire career. ”
According to Hatami’s suit against the county, Maxwell Szabo, a representative for Gascón, said in an interview with Fox 11 that “Hatami’s delusional theories raise questions as to one’s fitness to practice law.”
Hatami also criticized Gascón’s policies on $0 bail for misdemeanors, lack of transfers of teens accused of violent crimes to adult courts, and the lack of charges for 16- and 17-year-olds accused of possessing “ghost guns.”
“They’ll talk all this rhetoric or about guns, but they don’t really care,” said Hatami. “Ghost guns. Do you know George Gascón, if you’re 16 or 17, and you’re in possession of a ghost gun as a juvenile, he won’t charge that.”
Ghost guns have been a topic of national discussion recently. During a press conference Monday in Washington, D.C., President Joe Biden unveiled new ghost gun regulations while honoring the victims of the 2019 Saugus High School shooting.
Hatami’s “meet and greet” was meant to draw attention and garner signatures for the recall of Gascón. As of the end of March, the petition had collected more than 200,000 signatures but will need 566,856 to make it on the ballot this November. Thirty L.A. County city councils have issued votes of no confidence for Gascón so far, with Santa Clarita being the first to do so.
While the speech and Q&A was reminiscent of a campaign event, Hatami declined to answer if he was planning on running for D.A. if Gascón is recalled.
“I don’t think now is the time or the place to answer that question. I think right now it’s the time to get the signatures,” said Hatami. “There won’t be any election if we can’t get the signatures…and I am 100% dedicated to trying to do that. There’ll be a time and a place for that. It’s not right now.”