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George Gascon likely to enter L.A. County district attorney’s race on Monday

George Gascon
Former Dist. Atty. George Gascon speaks during a news conference in San Francisco.
(Eric Risberg / Associated Press)

Former San Francisco Dist. Atty. George Gascon is widely expected to announce his bid to become Los Angeles County’s top prosecutor Monday morning during a news briefing slated to take place outside one of the county’s largest jail facilities.

Gascon, who resigned from his post in San Francisco earlier this month, will speak near the Men’s Central Jail in downtown L.A. around 10 a.m., according to a statement issued Sunday night. The statement did not detail the event, describing it only as a “public announcement.”

Gascon, a Cuban emigre who grew up in Los Angeles, has long been considered a top contender for Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey’s seat.

A former assistant chief of the Los Angeles Police Department, Gascon also served as the top cop in Mesa, Ariz., and San Francisco before he was appointed district attorney in 2011. Progressive activists have been courting him to challenge Lacey for months.

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When he enters the race, Gascon would become the third challenger seen as flanking Lacey from the left. Los Angeles Deputy Dist. Attys. Richard Ceballos and Joseph Iniguez both announced their candidacies early in 2019. The two men have proposed similar platforms, positioning themselves as reformers who can repair a criminal justice system that disproportionately affects communities of color, a divide they say has worsened under Lacey.

Lacey, a Democrat and Los Angeles native, has served as district attorney since 2012, when she succeeded Steve Cooley. The veteran prosecutor enjoys broad support in the law enforcement community and has already earned endorsements from some of California’s most powerful elected officials.

Gascon’s star rose in San Francisco as a champion of criminal justice reform. He co-authored Proposition 47, the controversial 2014 ballot measure that downgraded a number of low-level, nonviolent crimes from felonies to misdemeanors, reducing sentences for thousands of defendants. Gascon has also drawn praise for vacating marijuana convictions after recreational use of cannabis was legalized in California and for advocating for the end of cash bail.


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