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A California gang member accused of murder was recorded speaking to his mother in court lockup stressing that he needs to cut a plea deal quickly before District Attorney George Gascon is potentially recalled.
“I told you last time that [Wilkerson’s defense attorney] wanna hurry up and try to get something did before they re-elect somebody else besides Gascon and bring back that bulls–t life without parole and death penalty,” Willie Wilkerson is heard telling his mother on May 31 in audio obtained by Fox News.
“If he could get manslaughter, then sh–!” Wilkerson continued.
“Manslaughter only carries 6, 9, and 12 [years],” he said in the audio taken immediately following Wilkerson’s court hearing last week.
Wilkerson is accused of shooting and killing 21-year-old Elijah Martin during a home invasion robbery in Lancaster, California, in February of last year, Fox News has learned. He was also charged with the attempted murder of two other people who were shot during the home invasion.
Under Gascon’s policies, Wilkerson was charged with murder, with no gun or gang enhancements and no special circumstance allegations that would carry life without parole. Gascon ushered in sweeping changes to the DA’s office when he was sworn in in 2020, including restricting how prosecutors could use sentencing enhancements and ending new death penalty prosecutions.
LA County Deputy District Attorney Eric Siddall told Fox News’ Bill Melugin that he is seeing more defendants and their attorneys eager to cut deals while Gascon is still in office, fearing his soft on crime policies will go away if the district attorney is recalled.
“If you’re a violent criminal in Los Angeles right now, your biggest ally is not your defense lawyer. It’s not the judge. It’s not the jury. It’s George Gascon. That’s who your biggest supporter is. That’s the reason why criminal defendants all throughout Los Angeles County want George Gascon to give them a deal because they know that he is their biggest cheerleader,” Siddall said.
Gascon is facing his second recall attempt since taking office in 2020, with locals and opponents blaming him for the recent crime surge due to his progressive policies.
The Recall George Gascon campaign said it collected 500,000 signatures as of Monday, meaning 67,000 more are needed from registered voters by the July 6 deadline. If they obtain the required signatures, a question on recalling Gascon is eligible to appear on the November General Election ballot.
The recall effort against Gascon intensified this week after fellow progressive California District Attorney, San Francisco’s Chesa Boudin, was recalled by voters on Tuesday. A Los Angeles deputy district attorney predicted that Gascon will be next following the Boudin recall vote.
“I think that people need to realize that the way the situation is going, the best thing for everybody here in Los Angeles is to recall George Gascon and get him out of office,” LA Deputy DA Jon Hatami told Fox News this week. “Even if you want some of the reforms that he wants to implement, I still believe that it’s better to get him out.”
Gascon has previously dismissed the recall effort as one driven by “fearmongering.”
“DA George Gascon is focused on doing the important job of improving safety and justice for all in Los Angeles County, not on political diversions,” Gascon’s office told Fox News earlier this week.
Gascon’s office did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment on the audio of Wilkerson.
Fox News’ Matt Leach contributed to this report.