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EXCLUSIVE: Embattled Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón transferred top prosecutors who say they were demoted for publicly criticizing his soft-on-crime policies — including John McKinney, who won a murder conviction against the man who killed rapper Nipsey Hussle in July, Fox News Digital has learned.
McKinney and John Lewin, both deputy district attorneys in the Major Crimes Division, and Jason Lustig, assistant head deputy attorney overseeing the Long Beach courthouse, learned Thursday that they would be shunted to low-level positions in two weeks; however, their salaries will not change.
McKinney announced in July that if Gascón was recalled, he would run as a candidate to replace him, and supported the removal effort, which failed to obtain enough signatures.
Referring to the Hussle murder case, McKinney said, “I am only a month and half away from having prosecuted one of the highest profile cases in our office in recent memory, and I’m being reassigned to a job of literally no consequence.”
McKinney, who has served in the district attorney’s office for the past 24 years, was informed on Thursday by a supervisor that he will be transferred to a small area office overseeing misdemeanor prosecutions, and the cases he is currently working on will be reassigned to someone else.
“The DA is reassigning me to retaliate against me for calling attention to the fact that he’s incompetent and not following the law in the state of California,” he explained, adding, “Gascón hopes no one will hear from me or see me when he tries to position himself for re-election in 2024.”
“This act of retaliation will not silence me,” McKinney vowed.
Speaking out on Twitter, McKinney wrote on Friday, “George Gascon has been playing politics with your safety for 2 years now. He also brought the same partisanship into the District Attorney’s Office by retaliating against employees who even question the legality of his policies.”
George Gascon has been playing politics with your safety for 2 years now. He also brought the same partisanship into the District Attorney’s Office by retaliating against employees who even question the legality of his policies. pic.twitter.com/i9VP0aWnPt
— JOHN MCKINNEY #PROPORTIONAL JUSTICE (@johnmckinney_) September 23, 2022
The report further explains that Lewin and Lustig are also being transferred to lesser positions.
Lustig has worked with the office for 33 years, and spearheaded the unsuccessful recall effort against Gascón. Now he’s being bumped back to a position he held in 1994, his fifth year in the DA’s office.
“They’re destroying morale, destroying operations of the office. They’re instilling fear in anyone who might have the courage to speak out against this DA and his policies,” Lustig said.
Senior LA prosecutors say they were demoted by DA Gascón after publicly criticizing him: ‘Instilling fear’https://t.co/1uJ3HD2kRQ
— Bernard B. Kerik (@BernardKerik) September 23, 2022
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