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As he’s faced increased criticism from law enforcement, elected officials and his own staff, Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón has staunchly defended his handling of a politically fraught case: the prosecution of a transgender woman charged with sexually assaulting a child in a Denny’s restroom.

Gascón insisted as recently as last week that he was right to allow 26-year-old Hannah Tubbs to plead guilty in juvenile court, where her sentence was two years behind bars. Tubbs was 17 at the time of the attack, and Gascón told a reporter Wednesday that, in keeping with his policy of not trying juveniles as adults, he thought “the Tubbs case still does not belong in adult court.”

Then Sunday evening, deep into a long holiday weekend, the reform-minded prosecutor made a dramatic shift. In an emailed statement, Gascón said his approach was incorrect: “The complex issues and facts of her particular case were unusual, and I should have treated them that way.”

The sudden reversal came after Gascón’s staff learned that Fox News was preparing to publish jailhouse recordings in which Tubbs crowed about receiving a light sentence and spoke derisively about the victim, a 10-year-girl she attacked in a Palmdale bathroom.

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