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Home / lawsuit

Veteran prosecutor ties demotion to opposing Gascón reforms

A veteran prosecutor is suing Los Angeles County, alleging District Attorney George Gascón demoted her from supervising hundreds of employees to overseeing a secretary in retaliation for objecting to his reform directives.

Victoria Adams’ Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit seeks unspecified damages. A representative of the District Attorney’s Office declined to comment on the suit filed Tuesday because it is pending litigation.

Adams was hired in 1985 and eventually appointed to the position of assistant district attorney. She was the only member of the executive management team under administration of former District Attorney Jackie Lacey who remained after current DA Gascón was sworn in in 2020 and she was the only one with any management experience, the suit states.

Despite what she believed was chaos on the team, Adams tried to work with her colleagues and mentor them, the suit states.

Adams later accepted Gascón’s offer to take the position of chief of staff while continuing to supervise three bureaus, according to the suit.

However, Adams repeatedly complained to Gascón during executive management team meetings that some of his progressive directives, including those involving the three-strikes law, cash bail for misdemeanor crimes and resentencing were unlawful, the suit states.

Adams also expressed concern about Gascón’s hiring in early 2021 of criminal defense attorney Lawrence Middleton to investigate officer-involved-shooting cases that Lacey had declined to prosecute, the suit states.

In July 2021, Gascón without warning removed Adams from her chief of staff position and gave it to someone with less experience, the suit states. Gascón later “effectively removed” Adams from the executive management team and she no longer received information about the team from Gascón and his top advisers, according to the suit.

Gascón also ended Adams’ supervision of the Bureau of Prosecution Support Operations as well as the murder resentencing unit, the suit alleges.

“Had plaintiff not repeatedly disclosed the unlawfulness of Gascon’s various special directives … Gascón would not have taken any of these adverse actions against her,” the suit states.

In May, Gascón demoted Adams from assistant district attorney of special operations to assistant district attorney of special projects, meaning she went from supervising hundreds of attorneys and other staff members in multiple bureaus to overseeing a secretary, the suit states.

Adams does not supervise any attorneys, has no oversight of cases, provides no input on any policy matters and basically does clerical work, the suit states.

“No one in the DA’s Office communicates with plaintiff in any meaningful way,” the suit states. “Plaintiff has been banished onto an island where she has no meaningful work to perform.”

Adams will “never recover from this completely humiliating demotion, which will be the tragic end of her dedicated and accomplished nearly four-decades-long history of service to the county of Los Angeles,” the suit states.

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