One of the most embarrassing moments in the tenure of Los Angeles DA George Gascon happened in February. A 26-year-old man named James Tubbs had been arrested in connection with a crime that happened 8 years earlier when he was just two weeks shy of his 18th birthday. That’s when James Tubbs entered the woman’s bathroom of a Denny’s restaurant and sexually molested a 10-year-old girl.
After his arrest, Tubbs announced that he was transgender and would henceforth be known as Hannah Tubbs. And because the assault for which “Hannah” was arrested happened two weeks before she turned 18, DA Gascon refused to charge her as an adult. Instead she went to juvenile court and was given a sentence of about 2 years. Many observers thought that sentence was light and that Gascon’s office could easily have charged Tubbs as an adult and secured a more appropriate sentence.
That might have been the end of the story except that in February Fox News Bill Melugin got hold of some jailhouse recordings of Tubbs talking to his father about his case. In the calls, it’s clear that Tubbs is very happy about the sweet deal he got from DA Gascon.
Tubbs was convicted of sexually assaulting a 10-year-old girl in a Denny’s bathroom in Palmdale in 2014 at age 17.
In one call in November 2021 while in LA County custody, Tubbs makes extremely crude, disparaging remarks about the girl and his sexual desires for her at the time.
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) February 21, 2022
Tubbs also talked about her gender change and reminded her father to use female pronouns in court. Here’s the audio but it sounds a lot to me like Tubbs’ trans identity has everything to do with wanting to stay out of a men’s prison.
LISTEN: In another in-custody phone call, transgender child molester Hannah Tubbs instructs family to say “her” in court because “we’re trying to avoid the whole [sex offender] registering thing”, & “we’re also trying to avoid prison again.” Tubbs avoided both under @GeorgeGascon pic.twitter.com/Sniw4rUPBs
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) February 21, 2022
When this audio was released, DA Gascon suddenly felt apologetic about the light sentence Tubbs had received and even made a policy change so that, in future, some juveniles could be charged as adults. Gascon also claimed that he’d never heard the jailhouse recordings until the media published them. But Shea Sanna, the Assistant DA who handled the Tubbs case, argued that wasn’t true:
Gascón has been claiming that incendiary jailhouse recordings between Tubbs and her father — in which she appears to mock the lightness of her sentence, as Fox News first reported — weren’t shared with his inner circle early enough in the proceedings. Shea Sanna, the deputy D.A. who tried Tubbs, disputes that, strongly…
When Sanna, the L.A. County assistant district attorney, took over the Denny’s case in 2021, all of that background became known to anyone in the D.A.’s office who cared to review the details. But Gascón stuck with his blanket policy that would require Tubbs to be tried in juvenile court, angering Sanna, who became publicly vocal in his criticism of Gascón.
“I have three kids and a mortgage and a wife, but I am not going to do the wrong thing even if my boss tells to me do it,” he told me, adding that he draws a line when it comes to crimes against little kids. “This case is past that line,” he said.
So that’s the general outline here. DA George Gascon took a big hit in the media over his handling of the Tubbs case and his own ADA, Shea Sanna, undercut the excuses Gascon’s office was offering for that failure. It’s safe to say there was no love lost between the two of them.
And that brings us to today when the LA Times is reporting that Shea Sanna is under some kind of investigation for allegedly misgendering Hannah Tubbs:
The investigation into Shea Sanna, a deputy district attorney, stems from allegations that he misused county resources, released confidential information and made inappropriate public statements, said Greg Smith, Sanna’s attorney.
The allegations against Sanna, Smith said, were made in a vaguely worded letter from an outside law firm conducting the investigation. In an interview, Sanna said he “absolutely” believes the investigation is an attempt to retaliate against him, and Smith said he feared the move could have a “chilling effect” on other prosecutors who are critical of Gascón.
But Sanna has also been accused of making insensitive remarks about Hannah Tubbs, a 26-year-old transgender woman who in 2014, when she was 17, sexually assaulted a 10-year-old girl in Palmdale, according to Alisa Blair, a former senior official under Gascón who resigned last week…
Sanna was rebuked by a judge and a district attorney’s office supervisor for repeatedly referring to Tubbs in a court hearing in December by the name she used when she identified as a male, according to court records and Blair.
After being reminded by a judge that Tubbs identifies as female, Sanna curtly replied, “Tubbs is a violent sex offender,” according to court transcripts.
Blair said Sanna continually “misgendered” Tubbs in the weeks after that court hearing.
So one of Gascon’s allies, Alisa Blair, is attacking the ADA who was very critical of her boss for using the name “James” Tubbs in relation to a defendant who was James Tubbs at the time he sexually assaulted a 10 year-old in 2014.
Sanna points to the jailhouse audio recordings which suggest Tubbs transition may be a gimmick to get lenient treatment. As the story notes, “After recordings of the calls were leaked in February, even Gascón questioned whether Tubbs truly identified as female.” I suspect everyone involves knows that Tubbs is gaming the system and yet, they’re still going to leak this story about Sanna committing the sin of deadnaming a child molester as if that makes his criticisms of Gascon suspect.
This story based on allegations from Gascon’s ally and the internal investigation certainly sound like attempts at retaliation against a harsh critic of the DA. But I’m not sure why anyone would bother. Gascon has admitted he was wrong about his handling of the Tubbs case. He even changed his policy going forward because of it. So it’s not as if anyone thinks Gascon did a good job here. For his part, Tubbs is now facing a murder charge. So, hopefully, despite the sweetheart deal he got from Gascon on the sexual abuse of a minor, Tubbs will be headed for a (women’s?) prison for a long time to come.