A network of progressive prosecutors boosted by the left-wing billionaire George Soros is rushing to defend a Virginia prosecutor who lied to reduce a career criminal's prison sentence.
The Soros-funded group slammed circuit court judge James Plowman for removing Loudoun County commonwealth's attorney Buta Biberaj (D.) from a robbery case. Plowman took the unprecedented step of throwing the progressive prosecutor and her team off the case after discovering she had withheld information about a 19-year-old burglar's criminal record in order to "sell" a lenient prison sentence. In an amicus brief to the Virginia Supreme Court, Fair and Just Prosecution said the judge trampled on the prosecutorial discretion of Biberaj, whom voters elected "to reverse the course of mass incarceration."
The missive is the latest instance in which Fair and Just Prosecution has waved off attacks on its left-wing prosecutors. Biberaj in 2020 signed on to defend Arlington County commonwealth's attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti (D.) after a circuit judge demanded she submit written justification for the charging, dismissing, or settling of cases. Biberaj last December also joined dozens of progressive prosecutors to support Los Angeles County district attorney George Gascón (D.), who is facing a recall and a lawsuit from his deputies over his radical sentencing policies. Gascón and Dehghani-Tafti returned the favor and this month signed on to Biberaj's appeal.
Soros has donated more than $40 million since 2014 to help elect liberal prosecutors who have moved to lighten bail and sentencing guidelines in half of America's largest jurisdictions. But voters are turning on progressive prosecutors as crime rates skyrocket across the country. Biberaj, who ran with nearly a million dollars of aid from Soros, has come under fire for her handling of child endangerment and domestic abuse cases, freeing offenders who are a danger to the public. Her prosecutorial approach has generated a recall effort.
Kevin Enrique Valle was initially charged in Loudoun in May 2021 with two felony burglaries, a crime that carries a minimum five-year prison sentence in Virginia. But he had been arrested the same month for 10 other burglaries. Given the charges and his past convictions as a minor, Valle could have faced decades in prison. But those charges were not written up, and Valle entered into a plea agreement with Biberaj's office, which sentenced him to just six months in prison. Plowman called the plea deal "an overt misrepresentation by omission."
In its amicus brief, Fair and Just Prosecution painted Plowman's court order as political retaliation, since he had formerly held Biberaj's office as commonwealth's attorney in Loudoun County. Virginia attorney general Jason Miyares (R.) said in a letter that the Loudoun County Court "has rightfully lost confidence in Ms. Biberaj, her deputies, and her office's ability and willingness to effectively seek justice in this matter." Biberaj responded by telling Miyares to "stay in your lane."
In addition to campaign support, Soros has thrown tens of millions of dollars at justice reform groups that provide professional development to progressive prosecutors. The Tides Center, a criminal justice reform group, since 2016 has received more than $30 million from Soros's Open Society Foundations, funneling its donations to third-party entities like Fair and Just Prosecution.
Biberaj has participated in three Fair and Just Prosecution-sponsored trips since her election. She joined Dehghani-Tafti and Fairfax County commonwealth's attorney Steve Descano (D.) at the group's annual convention in Durham, N.C., shortly after the three progressive Virginia prosecutors won their elections in 2019. One year later, she traveled with the group to New York City along with Philadelphia district attorney Larry Krasner (D.). Many of the same prosecutors, including recently recalled San Francisco district attorney Chesa Boudin (D.), attended a symposium months later in Los Angeles, though Biberaj was not present. This May, she attended a Fair and Just Prosecution junket in Washington, D.C.
Virginians for Safe Communities told the Washington Free Beacon it is "fast approaching the signature threshold" to trigger a recall election for Biberaj.
"We expect to file with the court by Labor Day and put Buta Biberaj on trial for her negligence, misuse of office, and incompetence in her duties," said Sean Kennedy, the group's president. "Buta Biberaj has alienated everyone in Loudoun County, including law enforcement, Democratic Party officials, and even her own staff, so she has to rely on her Soros-funded travel buddies to defend her."
Top Democrats in Loudoun County have signaled they are ready to back a prosecutor other than Biberaj in the next election, whether through a recall or during the next commonwealth's attorney election in 2023, the Free Beacon reported in June.