Longtime District Attorney’s Office spokesperson Alex Bastian is leaving San Francisco to join his former boss George Gascon in Los Angeles.
Bastian, deputy chief of staff for the office who served under three top prosecutors from Kamala Harris to Chesa Boudin, tendered his resignation last week to accept a role as a special advisor for Gascon, the newly elected district attorney of Los Angeles.
“I am very excited about joining him on his mission to advance public safety and equity in the criminal legal system in Los Angeles, California and nationwide,” Bastian tweeted Monday. “That being said, I will always treasure my time at the SFDA’s office.”
Bastian spent more than a decade with District Attorney’s Office. He began handling communication for Gascon in 2013 after working for more than three years as an assistant district attorney prosecuting felony and misdemeanor cases.
He was a voice for Gascon as the district attorney sought to position himself as a reform-minded prosecutor and took criticism from different sides for surging auto burglaries, or declining to charge officers in police shootings.
“Being the district attorney of San Francisco is one of the most challenging jobs in politics in the country,” Bastian told the San Francisco Examiner. “You’re always in the pressure cooker.”
Bastian will be following Gascon to Los Angeles at a time when the district attorney faces opposition from inside his own office. In late December, the union representing Los Angeles prosecutors filed a lawsuit after Gascon implemented a policy ending certain sentencing enhancements.
Looking back on his time in San Francisco, Bastian pointed to the success Gascon had expunging decades-old marijuana convictions in 2019. It was an unprecedented step in California that has since been followed in other jurisdictions.
He also recalled the various high-profile trials prosecuted under Gascon, including the case against Binh Thai Luc, the man convicted of murder for killing a family of five in Ingleside.
In an interview, Boudin said Bastian has made “a tremendous mark on everyone he has come into contact with in the office as well as in the press corps in The City.”
“Beyond that he’s played a tremendous role in helping the public to understand and keep informed about the difficult and sometimes otherwise boring activity that happens day in, day out at the Hall of Justice,” Boudin said.
Bastian’s last day is Jan. 20. He has not said exactly what his advisory role will entail in Los Angeles.
Rachel Marshall, an assistant district attorney and director of communications, remains a spokesperson for Boudin.