DA Backs Off Whistleblower Complaint After Fierce Backlash From Public Defenders

Santa Clara County DA Jeff Rosen became a trending topic over the weekend after WaPo reporter Radley Balko brought national attention to a dispute between the veteran lawman and a local defense attorney.

It all started with an impassioned column, penned by Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender Sajid Khan and published in this news outlet, which argued that the anger directed at police departments in the wake of George Floyd’s murder should extend to the prosecutors that enable systemic abuses against Black people.

The original post on Khan’s personal blog included a map of a protest route around the local jail, courthouse and government center, where the DA’s West Wing office is located.

Rosen responded to the post by filing a whistleblower complaint against Khan for allegedly threatening the physical safety of his staff.

In his column last week, Balko remarked that the DA’s complaint “seems like an odd use of a whistleblower law,” which are “intended to facilitate reporting misconduct by powerful actors while shielding the lower-ranking whistleblowers from retaliation.”

Instead, Rosen—as one of the most powerful officials in the South Bay—used the law to “seek retaliation against a lower-ranking” county employee, to quote Balko.

Though public defenders the nation over voiced support for Khan, his own union, the county Government Attorneys’ Association, played it down the middle because—in another strange twist—it represents both public defenders and prosecutors.

Scott Hechinger, a defense lawyer from Brooklyn, called the whole situation “outrageous” on Twitter: “A Muslim public defender in Santa Clara calls for prosecutorial accountability. The DA treats it like a bomb threat … A deliberate overreaction to silence defender activism. It won’t work.”

On Tuesday, Rosen finally capitulated amid public pressure.

“I am withdrawing the county complaint that addressed workplace safety and security issues caused by a county employee’s social media posts,” he wrote in a statement to media. “The complaint has become a distraction from a vastly more important aim: that we confront racism. A recent letter to me from Maha Elgenaidi of the Islamic Networks Group put it eloquently: ‘Our joint interests should be to improve our criminal justice system and to continue to have a safe and peaceful regional community.’ I, too, hope that we as a diverse community can unite behind our common fight against inequality.”

The truce may have come too late for the South Bay’s prosecutor-in-chief to shake off an unfortunate new nickname bequeathed by Alameda County Public Defender Brendon Woods, who deemed Rosen “our first DA Karen.”

Send a tip to The Fly

The Fly is a weekly column written by San Jose Inside staff that provides a behind-the-scenes look at local politics.


  1. Khan, DA’s Jeff Karen’s behavior has nothing to do with your Muslim identity. It has to do with the fact that you used to belong to his team of corruption when that was popular and now that it is not you changed team. This is how DA Rosen has always behaved to those opposing his views. He loves Muslim who are on his side even when are the extremist Muslim who have always incited violence and hate against the Jews. Talk about Ilhan Omar. DA Karen loves any one with power and ability to help him to continue in power and abusing the unprivileged people of this Country. DA ROSEN is honest and authentic in his corruption. You Mr. Khan are a clown. Jeff new name is DA Karen. Your new name is Khan Clown! Rosen plus Khan equal a big SH!T!

    • Fexxnist, your name-calling is ugly and does not reflect well on you. You don’t even seem to understand what’s going on, attributing quotes to Mr. Khan that he did not say and seeming to think that prosecutors and defense attorneys are on the same side. You make unsubstantiated accusations that seem rooted in xenophobia and racism, such as this accusation that Jeff Rosen sides with extremist Muslims who hate Jews.

      I believe in free speech, including the right of you to say what you want on here, but it is exhausting to have to constantly respond to your falsehoods in order to set the record straight. You are constantly making wild accusations with no shred of evidence to them and using those accusations to justify making self-righteous attacks. That’s the kind of thing that happens here and there when you have no limits on free speech, but when you do it constantly, in comments on every article on this website, it becomes pernicious disinformation that is harmful to the public dialogue.

      • Two cents, let me provide few names of extremists and antisemites that are also Muslims: Louis Farrakhan, Linda Sarsour, Ilhan Omar, Tlaib…This last one said she experiences a calming feeling when thinking of the Holocaust, QUE??? These are the same people that want to denie the Jews’ indigenous history and their ancestry. GIVE ME A BREAK! For these people there should be justice for all but the Jews. These are the people that want the rest of the world to believe the Jews are occupying their own land. Sorry papa but if others give these top antisemites a pass, I WON’T!

      • Two cents, I never said Jeff Rosen loves Muslims who hate Jews. I said he loves Muslims if they are on his side and anyone on his side. You have to take a reading class focusing in comprehension. It actually this piece that is implying Jeff Rosen acted this way against Khan because he is Muslim. I clearly put it there! He behaves this way with Any one opposing his views and authority. I am not the one who gave Jeff Rosen the KAREN name. I did give the Khan Clown name to Khan! I can see you are talented at changing narratives and blaming others for whoever wrote this piece!

  2. > A deliberate overreaction to silence defender activism.

    “Defender activism”?

    How about less “activism” and more professionalism.

    It’s just crazy that an institution with more lawyers per square foot than just about any place on the planet cannot agree on it’s own rules and settles its disputes with protest marches and megaphones.

    “My lawyer can shout louder than your lawyer”.

    What did your mothers tell you? “Use your words and not your fists” and “use your indoor voices, please”.

    Sajid Khan obviously has no loyalty to the institution of the DIstrict Attorney’s Office and is clearly a disruptive factor..

    If Khan had any integrity, he would resign his position with the DA’s office and pursue his “activism” career separately and on his own time.

    He cannot, at the same time, professionally conduct the business of the DA’s office AND OPPOSE the conduct of the business of the DA’s office.

  3. Mr. Sajid Khan, I am going to give you the manes of the top people in Santa Clara County who have been reporting DA Jeff Rosen’s, Courts, and law enforcement corruption for at least the past 10 years and have spoken about how this corruption has denied access to justice to some people in this county. DA JEFF Jeff Rosen knows these names too well! NAMES: Susan Bassi, Scott Largent, Ana Gabriela Hermosillo, FEXXNIST, and other groups. These are the people who have exposed for years what you want now to get credit for. You were always an insider of Jeff Rosen’s club. After the George Floyd killing, you and your extremist DeBug friends want to separate from Jeff Rosen. The politicians you guys have supported are the same that have benefitted from the SJ police union and other law enforcement groups. History is history sweetheart.

  4. The Recall of former judge Aaron Persky was a clap back at the local law enforcement, court, and other systemic corruption that have denied access to equal justice not only to victims of privileged and violent criminals in the county, Lynn Shimek, Chanel Miller, (two most notorious), and countless of other victims, but it has also denied equal due process and sentencing to unprivileged offenders. The privileged offenders in Santa Clara County have always received leniency while unprivileged offenders of similar crimes have received years in prison. Mr. Sajid Khan and DA Jeff Rosen have been the two most prominent voices of the Santa Clara County corrupted systems. Jeff Rosen has used all of his power and influence to preserve this corruption. Mr. Sajid Khan has been the most faithful supporter of this corruption. I demand justice for Lynn Shimek and other victims of domestic violence whose calls for help have for years been ignored and the crimes of their violent aggressors cover up by DA Jeff Rosen, Gilroy Police Department, San Jose Police Department and others. In this county, law enforcement can engage in all types of crimes including child porn watch, intentionally chocking women, and engaging in other crimes against women and children, and they will preserve their job positions. The Santa Clara County supervisors, judges, Zoe Lofgreen, and others have protected the preservation of this corruption by ignoring victims and protecting privileged violent offenders. You Mr. Khan have always been an insider in this group. There are hones public defenders, but you are NOT one of them. This is how I remember you Mr. Sajig A Khan!




  5. To the honest and hard working law enforcement, public defenders, attorneys, judges, and public officials, STAY! The people of Santa Clara County needs you and remember you serve all people, democrats, republicans, straight, gay, religious and non-religious, able and not, and children too. We want you to apply the law equally. To those corrupted law enforcement, public defenders, attorneys, judges, public officials LEAVE! We the people are here to stay and fight!

  6. Message to Shaun King, Jesus Cristo is the God of the Christians. Christians are in everyday part of the world in all races and cultures including the White culture. Each culture has the right to make representations of Jesus if they wish. Artists are free to express their feelings and cultures. Jesus could be any color. HE IS A JEW AND HIS PARENTS WERE JEWS. This is part of the knowledge and belief of our Christianity. We are Jesus‘ spiritual kingdom that will last until the end of times. He make us all brothers and sisters not enemies. Do not dare to torn down any of Jesus’ image White or Black. Do not attack or destroy any community of faith. NO ONE IS ABOVE OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST! NO ONE. Get to know your boundaries chico OR ELSE!

  7. Am forever grateful that the Washington Post broke a story on June 19, 2020 that our local media would not. Will continue to hold fellow journalist, publishers and editors accountable for how they were silent for the 10 years Mr. Rosen was in office.

    It was the Santa Clara County Bar Association that endorsed Rosen in 2010.
    It was the San Jose Mercury that endorsed Mr. Rosen in 2010 with the legal help of attorney Jim Towery.
    It was James Towery who supported Jeff Rosen and protected outrageous government conduct when Mr. Towery went to the State Bar.
    James Towery provided protection for unethical and corrupt lawyers in our county.
    Laughably Towery taught ” ETHICS ” courses at Santa Clara University Law School.

    Let us not forget the people ultimately responsible for allowing Rosen to create this culture in our local law enforcement agencies and our courts. Santa Clara University Northern CA Innocence Project attorney Karyn Sinunu Towery comes to mind. Sinunu Towery hired Rosen and taught him the dirty tricks that put innocent people in jail, ruined lives and ignored victims. This Rosen- Towery Dynasty has created our modern legal culture in Santa Clara County for over 20 years.

    In addition to rigging our local criminal and family courts, Rosen was willing to rig a local election to get a judge recalled. He aligned with Stanford University Professor Michele Dauber during the prosecution of Brock Tuner and the related recall of judge Persky. Our local media and the #METOO movement Dauber highjacked gave them the platform to do so.

    Rosen has two faces, one that maliciously prosecutes the innocent while botching the cases of the guilty and the other that is reserved for scripted press conferences convincing the public of his FAKE News that is then used to win cases. His job is to pursue the truth, he has spent 10 years cheating it instead!

    It is never too late to speak up. Exercising our First Amendment Rights is more important than ever. I will continue to protect the right to do just that. No matter how many times Mr. Rosen tries to shut down my social media accounts! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gB3ZXICyuM&t=861s

    Special thanks to Leah Gillis, the best Public Defender any publisher and freelance reporter could ever hope to have when reporting on a corrupt DA !

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *