A district attorney pressing an unusual slate of conspiracy charges against anti-fascist protesters previously had a campaign site accusing philanthropist George Soros of funding anti-fascists to increase crime, reported The Daily Beast.
San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan has brought a sweeping new conspiracy case against left-wing protesters who counter-demonstrated at a pro-Trump rally in San Diego on Jan. 9. The result was a beachside brawl, during which rallygoers on the right flashed a knife and a BB gun and protesters on the left fired pepper spray. But rather than result in simple assault charges, Stephan is pressing conspiracy charges—and only against demonstrators on the left.
Stephan has a history of obsessing about the anti-fascist movement. In 2018, while running against progressive challenger Geneviéve Jones-Wright, Stephan’s campaign paid for a website that accused billionaire philanthropist Soros of supporting Jones-Wright because he “backs anti-law enforcement candidates over experienced prosecutors, trying to tip the balance to the criminals.”
The caption ran directly under a picture of black-clad anti-fascists—one of multiple such pictures that ran alongside photographs of Soros on the site.
The website, which has since been removed, drew backlash. Soros, a Holocaust survivor, is a frequent target of antisemitic conspiracy theories, including those that accuse him of funding “antifa.” (“Claims that George Soros funds antifa or is otherwise involved in fomenting civil unrest related to Black Lives Matter protests are false and touch on longstanding, sometimes antisemitic conspiracy theories,” the Anti-Defamation League notes.)
When the Times of San Diego questioned Stephan about the website and antisemitism in 2018, she walked away from the interview without comment.
In September 2020, Stephan again appeared to suggest that leftist protests were secretly motivated by nefarious interests.
“We’ve seen where there’s the peaceful protest and all of a sudden another group shows up without license plates, with generators and water, and there’s not good things that are happening,” Stephan said in 2020, adding that untoward events were unfolding “behind the scenes.”
“Somebody talked about subverting the truthful nature of the protesters, and that is going on,” Stephan said. “There are movements that are not what you would think of.”
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