A George Soros-backed prosecutor in Virginia played dumb during a recent interview when asked why attorneys are leaving his office in droves, despite reports that his leadership has alienated staff and harmed victims.
In an email reported on Tuesday by a Fox affiliate, a Fairfax County assistant commonwealth's attorney wrote to his superiors months before he resigned in March that he felt "incredibly overwhelmed and completely unprepared" in his role and had been "making numerous mistakes and missteps due to a lack of experience." But when interviewed by Fox 5 reporter Lindsay Watts, Fairfax County commonwealth's attorney Steve Descano (D.) first acted as if he had not seen the email and then said he couldn't comment on it because he didn't "have it in front of [him]."
"The idea that somebody would feel untrained or unsupported is not anything that, quite frankly, I've heard from anybody in this office," Descano said.
The Washington Free Beacon reported last week how departures of seasoned attorneys from Descano's office have saddled mostly unpracticed prosecutors with a growing number of serious criminal cases. Four of the five deputy commonwealth's attorneys have resigned since Descano took office in 2020. Fox 5 confirmed with his office that at least 29 attorneys have left.
Assistant commonwealth's attorney Nathan Freier wrote the email following a repeat sex crime offender case in September. The Fairfax County judge overseeing the case said the victim had been molested twice because Descano's office let the offender easy in a plea deal after the first incident.
"I have reached the end of my mental rope handling this many serious sex cases with limited training and no idea how to handle them," Freier wrote in the email after the case. "I fear that at best I'll mess up one or more of these serious cases. At worst, I fear I'll mess up in a way that will cause me to lose my license."
Descano told Fox 5 the implication that his office hasn't rendered justice to victims "hurts me personally." But in conversations with the Free Beacon, former members of Descano's office said he has warned prosecutors not to trust victims.
"Don't listen to victims," Descano said during one staff meeting on sex crime cases. "They're overly dramatic."
Freier graduated law school in 2018 and had only worked for two years as a prosecuting attorney in Danville, Va., before heading to the Fairfax County commonwealth's attorney's office. Descano maintained during the interview that Freier is "an experienced prosecutor," but his office last month blamed Freier's resignation for its failure to prosecute a case involving head trauma to a two-month-old baby.
Members of Fairfax County law enforcement told Fox 5 the defendant had already confessed to the crime.