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On his first day in office, Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón stood before a podium in a largely empty room and described his plan for reimagining criminal justice in the nation’s largest prosecutor’s office, announcing sweeping changes to the way the office would file cases, seek bail and pursue charges.

One year and one day later, Gascón was flanked by progressive prosecutors from around the country as he stood before a room full of reporters during a 90-minute news conference meant to celebrate what he saw as his successes during his first 12 months on the job.

But on the heels of weeks of high-profile crimes, including the killing of a beloved Beverly Hills philanthropist, an explosion of gunfire that left one child dead in Wilmington and viral videos of smash-and-grab robberies at retail stores, Gascón instead spent much of his time sparring with reporters and trying to counter questions about criticism levied by those seeking to recall him.

Gascón stood firm, saying there was no link between his policies and what he called the inaccurate perception that crime is rising in L.A. County.

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