LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. - The top prosecutor in Loudoun County broke her silence Tuesday discussing issues plaguing her office at a press conference that was at times combative.
Buta Biberaj held the press conference following FOX 5’s reporting on a judge removing her office from a burglary case. The judge claimed the prosecutor mislead the court and downplayed the suspect’s criminal past to get a more lenient plea deal.
Biberaj said the judge had no authority to disqualify her office from the case and said she’ll appeal the ruling to the Virginia Supreme Court.
"They need to direct the Circuit Court in Loudoun County to nullify that order because it was without authority and more importantly, it was without an opportunity for the parties to be heard," Biberaj said. "Another problem with the proceedings is as follows. On June 10, this matter somehow or another was leaked to FOX 5 news with Lindsay Watts, and all of a sudden it becomes a Friday story that gets traction over the weekend so that we are at a political disadvantage as to what is happening."
FOX 5 contacted Biberaj’s office multiple times starting Friday afternoon and held the story for 24 hours to get her response.
Biberaj theorized without evidence that the court clerk’s office was linked to a leak of the public court order.
"Who else would have knowledge except someone associated with the clerk’s office," Biberaj said.
The order was issued by Judge James Plowman who is the former Republican commonwealth’s attorney for the county.
The case involves Kevin Enrique Valle, a man accused of committing 12 burglaries over ten days in four Northern Virginia counties.
"Mr. Valle is a 19-year-old boy," Biberaj said. "He could be your son, he could be your brother, he could be your child’s playmate."
The judge says the prosecutor didn’t disclose the cases outside of Loudoun and downplayed Valle’s criminal past. Biberaj defended the 6-month plea deal based on the knowledge her office had at the time.
Plowman ordered the Fauquier County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office to take over the case.
On Monday, Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares wrote a letter to the chief judge saying his office would step in to prosecute or assist with the case if necessary.
"This is a specific message to Attorney General Miyares. Stay in your lane," Biberaj said at the start of the press conference.
She went on to criticize Miyares’ work as an attorney saying, "he can't find his head out of a bag."
She also said what’s happening is political.
"Ask yourself these questions: What’s going on in these courts and who is the driving force behind it?" Biberaj said.
FOX 5 had been trying for months to talk to Biberaj about issues in her office.
Biberaj hired a registered sex offender to work as a paralegal, there are concerns about high staff turnover and there have been accusations from former employees and victims’ families that the focus here is on leniency, not public safety.
When asked what she would say to people in the county who have lost faith in her, she replied: "But for you, there’s not that many people who’ve lost faith in us."
When asked if she was considering stepping down, Biberaj said she was not.