A George Soros-aligned prosecutor in northern Virginia faces mounting scrutiny after an aide criticized her handling of three child endangerment and domestic abuse cases in private meetings with local leaders.
Jason Faw, a lawyer who logged 16 years as a Loudoun County prosecutor before stepping down in 2020, told the chairwoman of the county board of supervisors that Commonwealth's Attorney Buta Biberaj and her soft-on-crime policies are a threat to public safety, according to emails obtained by an oversight group and shared with the Washington Free Beacon. Biberaj is separately under fire for her work on a school sex abuse case, and she has refused repeated requests to answer questions from the press.
The cases Faw identified, first detailed by the Free Beacon, show Biberaj and her top lieutenants steering a troubled minor with a history of sex abuse back into a home with other children, obtaining a lenient sentence for a drunk driver who jeopardized a child's life, and agreeing to the release of a defendant who attacked a police officer and was subsequently arrested for strangling his own son.
"Ms. Biberaj cannot be salvaged (thru an intervention or anything else) but instead we merely need to survive the next three years and then she has to be replaced," Faw wrote in an Oct. 14, 2020, email to board chairwoman Phyllis Randall. The emails were obtained by the oversight group Virginians for Safe Communities. The messages indicate that Faw and Randall met privately and in-person to discuss his concerns prior to their correspondence.
Biberaj is one of a set of Soros-backed prosecutors who are scrambling to defend their reform agendas amid a nationwide surge in violent crime. Her practices have made waves even among fellow progressives in Loudoun County, who say her lax approach to domestic violence cases in particular is a disservice to the community. Soros's Justice and Public Safety PAC donated $659,000 to Biberaj's 2019 campaign for commonwealth's attorney. She is one of several Soros-backed prosecutors elected in Virginia.
One case Faw identified in his correspondence with Randall involves a drunk driving and child endangerment incident that ended when the defendant lost control of his car. The defendant, William Evans, was driving between 80 and 90 miles per hour with a blood alcohol content of .22 while his young son was in the car. The car flipped over when Evans lost control. First responders had to extract the defendant and his son from their vehicle.
Biberaj's office offered Evans a plea deal of just two days in prison. Loudoun County Circuit Court judge Stephen Sincavage rejected the arrangement on the grounds that it was too lenient, according to the emails and court records. Evans ultimately pleaded guilty in September 2020 to first-degree DWI and abuse of a child. He spent two days in jail, as originally agreed, followed by probation. His license was also suspended for one year.
"I think that the prosecutors in that office are so scared that if they don't give the defense everything they ask for there is fear that the defense attorney will go to Buta and complain that the [assistant commonwealth's attorney] is being too hard," Faw wrote of the Evans case.
Other cases Faw identified seed doubt as to Biberaj's purported interest in defendant rehabilitation and "restorative justice," which emphasizes repairing harm caused by crime in the community.
One such case is that of an unnamed 12-year-old found to be regularly molesting his 7-year-old brother. According to Faw, "a large group of officials with a stake in the case" in January 2020 lobbied Biberaj to refer the 12-year-old to the juvenile justice system, where social services would be available to him. By Faw's telling, nothing was done in the matter. The underaged offender went to live at his father's home in neighboring Prince William County, where he remained unstable and in need of help. Faw told Randall that "a number of minor children" live in that household.
Randall, who was a therapist before entering politics, keyed in on the case in her response to Faw, saying that the child should be referred to a secure foster setting with intense therapy.
"A 12 yo is exactly the type of person that he can help," Faw replied, referencing a juvenile justice system colleague whose name was redacted. "Too often he gets 17 yo [sic] who age out of his program before he has a chance to really work with them."
The third case Faw flagged ended tragically. It involves a repeat offender, Shawn Hitteman, who was arrested in 2018 for assaulting a police officer. According to local press accounts, a sheriff's deputy approached Hitteman early in the morning on Sept. 23 after observing that Hitteman was drunk. Hitteman bum-rushed the officer, forced him to the ground, and tried to steal the officer's stun gun. Hitteman then fled to a wooded area nearby and hid out in a shed until a police dog found him.
According to county court records, his case proceeded in fits and starts for the next year and a half, until Hitteman bonded out of custody on April 8, 2020. Faw attributed Hitteman's release to Biberaj's goal of releasing as many inmates as possible from the county jail to mitigate against COVID transmission.
Just two months after his release, Hitteman was arrested again on June 10, 2020, for a bevy of domestic abuse charges, including abduction, cruelty and injuries to children, and violation of protective orders. Describing the case to Randall, Faw said Hitteman "damn near strangled his son to death."
Hitteman hanged himself in the Loudoun County jail three days later.