Interim District Attorney Summer Stephan on Tuesday denounced contributions that billionaire investor and criminal justice reform advocate George Soros made to a political action committee supporting Deputy Public Defender Genevieve Jones-Wright, Stephan’s challenger in the June 5 election.
The Soros-funded California Justice & Public Safety committee has spent $1.5 million in support of Jones-Wright since May 4, according to San Diego County campaign finance reports.
During a news conference in front of the Hall of Justice, Stephan blasted the influence of outside money and accused Soros and Jones-Wright of being soft on crime.
“San Diego is not for sale and our voices are going to be heard,” she said. “I’ve devoted my life to protecting victims of crime, to looking into their eyes and seeing pain, to restoring justice. This is not about criminal justice reform. This is about advancing the rights of criminals over the rights of victims.”
The San Diego County Board of Supervisors appointed Stephan district attorney in June after Bonnie Dumanis, who is now running for a supervisor seat, stepped down from the post.
Stephan touted her 28 years of experience in the District Attorney’s Office, and her advocacy for sexual assault victims.
In April, the D.A.’s office devoted an additional $1 million toward rape kit testing, though the money isn’t expected to cover a several thousand- kit backlog.
Jones-Wright, who advocates for testing all kits, countered that Stephan hasn’t done nearly enough to address sexual assault.
“She failed to bring justice to victims, failed to prevent assaults by serial rapists by creating a stockpile of untested rape kits and lied about and changed her position on this issue repeatedly,” according to a statement releasedby Jones-Wrights’ campaign. “The backlog is not a result of inadequate resources, it is a willful and systemic neglect on the part of the D.A.’s office.”
Jones-Wright advocates for reducing incarceration for low-level, nonviolent crimes, addressing racial disparities in sentencing, advocating for those who are unjustly targeting by police, and not seeking the death penalty.
Stephan has accused Jones-Wright of prioritizing criminals over victims. Her campaign created a website, ThreatToSanDiego.com, that features a photo of Soros superimposed over an image of protesters aligned with Antifa, a conglomeration of autonomous, self-styled anti-fascist militant groups in the United States. Numerous conspiracy theories allege, without evidence, that Soros backs the Antifa movement.
Victims and those close to victims of violence stood behind Stephan as she spoke.
Rebecca Harrison, who was raped in Balboa Park, said she was made to feel on trial by Jones-Wright, who was the public defender on her case.
Harrison said the D.A.’s office guided her through the traumatic steps involved with the legal process following the assault.
“I felt supported, respected and encouraged by not only the D.A.’s office, but the San Diego PD and the investigator assigned to my case,” Harrison said. “With their support, 48 hours after I had been raped, my rapist was in custody.”
— City News Service