The race for Orange County’s high prosecutor is kicking off – and heating up.
Peter Hardin, a former District Lawyer prosecutor and Marine Corps lawyer, introduced Tuesday he’s working in opposition to DA Todd Spitzer in subsequent yr’s election.
It got here at a information convention flanked by the chairwoman of the county Democratic Social gathering and a sufferer of the 2011 Seal Seaside mass capturing.
Hardin and his audio system mentioned OC’s district lawyer is a whole fraud who persistently places himself above justice.
“I’m gravely involved that our present district lawyer fights extra for headlines and TV appearances than he does for actual, sensible justice. His pursuit of the headline has been at the price of the pursuit of justice,” Hardin mentioned.
“Sadly what we have now…is a district lawyer who leverages the large energy of his workplace merely for his personal private and political achieve,” he added.
He turned to an ongoing controversy by which 4 feminine prosecutors have filed authorized claims saying Spitzer – who attended Hardin’s press convention – enabled sexual harassment by selling his buddies regardless of his aides urging him to not.
“This district lawyer promoted his greatest good friend – the perfect man at his wedding ceremony – even after changing into conscious that that man had sexually harassed a number of of his feminine subordinates,” Hardin mentioned.
“When these allegations got here to mild, our district lawyer allowed his greatest good friend to quietly retire, with top-flight taxpayer paid advantages. And now, because of our district lawyer’s willful blindness, it’s no shock that he faces at least 4 lawsuits for sexual harassment,” he continued.
“Todd Spitzer is a strolling scandal and an unfit chief.”
Spitzer didn’t take lengthy to reply, happening the radio and issuing a press release saying his opponent was a pro-criminal “wannabe” of recent LA County District Lawyer George Gascón.
“As anticipated, legal first candidates are focusing on the Orange County District Lawyer’s workplace – identical to they did in Los Angeles,” Spitzer mentioned in a press release, whereas declining a request from Voice of OC to reply to the particular allegations in opposition to him.
“This explicit candidate is a legal lawyer who has already employed a number of the similar people who orchestrated Los Angeles District Lawyer George Gascon’s marketing campaign. There isn’t a doubt candidates like this can search to usher in the identical pro-criminal agenda that has turn out to be a whole and whole catastrophe for Los Angeles residents,” he added.
“Orange County has little interest in changing into Los Angeles or having a wannabe George Gascon as its District Lawyer.”
The message resonated with hosts John and Ken of KFI radio, who adopted up on a dwell look with Spitzer to inform their listeners Hardin is a “Gascón acolyte” and “Gascón man.”
It’s a critique Hardin pre-empted – and pushed again on – at his earlier press convention.
“Todd Spitzer has constructed his profession on tough-on-crime rhetoric, and utilizing concern and intimidation as a tactic. That’s [how] he’s acquired to the place he’s right this moment,” Hardin mentioned.
“I do know he desires to run in opposition to George Gascón, however my title is Peter Hardin. And we’re in Orange County, and never LA.”
It’s establishing an early – and contentious – battle for who will lead the prosecutors who deal with 1000’s of legal instances a yr starting from all the pieces from assaults to homicide to drug possession.
Spitzer, who ran in opposition to a former DA whom he known as scandal-plagued, has come below criticism as turning his again on his marketing campaign guarantees, resembling selling prosecutors concerned in an informants scandal whom Spitzer harshly criticized throughout the marketing campaign path.
Paul Wilson, whose spouse Christy was killed within the 2011 Seal Seaside capturing, appeared in marketing campaign advertisements for Spitzer’s 2018 run for DA when Spitzer was vowing to scrub up an informants scandal that led to the DA’s workplace being kicked off the case.
Now, Wilson stands as Spitzer’s most vocal critic.
“Most of all, I needed him to maintain his guarantees he made in Christy’s title,” Wilson mentioned of Spitzer at Tuesday’s information convention.
However Wilson says he later realized Spitzer had performed him in a “con recreation,” when video emerged of Spitzer – a yr into workplace – praising the snitch scandal prosecutors as “honorable males” who care deeply “concerning the ethics of our career.” Spitzer additionally had promoted one in all them.
“It was clear that Todd Spitzer was extra involved in successful over prosecutors he had appropriately criticized on the marketing campaign path, than doing what was proper,” Wilson mentioned.
“Mr. Spitzer is a fraud. He’ll say no matter he must say within the second to assist Todd Spitzer.”
Hardin mentioned he’s working to revive integrity to the DA’s workplace.
“We now have turned to prisons and punishment, and turned our again on rehabilitation, help and redemption,” Hardin mentioned of the present legal justice system in OC and throughout the nation.
Hardin criticized mass incarceration as diverting cash away from companies that assist forestall crime, like training and psychological well being counseling.
“We punish folks time and time once more for minor nonviolent offenses. This doesn’t repair the underlying points, like drug and alcohol habit or psychological well being points or homelessness. It backfires,” Hardin mentioned.
“And when it backfires, it eliminates housing and employment alternatives – making a cycle that leads from the streets to the jail and proper again out onto the streets, with out ever giving folks the instruments they should do higher in life, to reintegrate into society in a optimistic and productive approach.”
Hardin vowed to finish the usage of money bail, cease prosecuting minors in grownup courtroom, and not pursue the demise penalty.
Each side acknowledge a change is required in how habit and psychological well being are handled. In interviews last month, Spitzer mentioned arrested for drug use or psychological sickness ought to have the choice of remedy as an alternative of jail.
As the brand new candidate made his case in entrance of the county’s juvenile corridor and household courtroom advanced, it wasn’t simply his supporters who confirmed up.
Spitzer himself got here to observe his opponent’s press convention.
That introduced a rebuke from the brand new challenger.
“It’s no shock that Mr. Spitzer is right here,” Hardin mentioned. “He’s constructed a profession on having folks concern him, and intimidating folks. And we have now a number of of his victims right here right this moment.”
“The [TV] cameras are right here….He follows the cameras. However we’re not going to be intimidated.”
Nick Gerda covers county authorities for Voice of OC. You possibly can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.