search
Sections List
American Journal News

White supremacists target Muslim prosecutor over false claim she covered up assault case

Loudoun County, Virginia, Commonwealth’s Attorney Buta Biberaj has received death threats over her handling of the case.

By Josh Axelrod - November 02, 2021
Share
Buta Biberaj

In the lead-up to the extremely close Virginia gubernatorial election, Republicans have seized on a sexual assault case in a Loudoun County school, placing the county’s top attorney in the crosshairs of a right-wing disinformation campaign.

In 2019, Buta Biberaj became one of the first Muslims to be elected to public office in Virginia when she unseated a Republican incumbent in the race for commonwealth’s attorney for Loudoun County. In recent weeks, Biberaj been excoriated by right-wing media in attacks that have been boosted by Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin. Article after article falsely accuses Biberaj of bungling or attempting to cover up a sexual assault, silencing the father of the victim by having him arrested, and pocketing money from investor George Soros.

On Oct. 26, a judge ruled against the 15-year-old defendant in the first of two sexual assault cases against him in Loudoun County. In the first case, the boy had been charged with assaulting a female student in a school girls bathroom. The defendant is awaiting trial in the second case and will be sentenced after it is done.

With the gubernatorial election in Virginia just days away and media coverage of Loudoun County heating up, Biberaj told the American Independent Foundation, she began receiving death threats on her personal and work cell phones as well as her office line. According to Biberaj, callers have left messages such as, “We’re coming for you, bitch,” “You don’t have to watch your back, we’re going to come at you from the front,” and “You deserve everything you’re going to get.”

“Those individuals are highlighting the fact that I’m a woman, I’m of the Muslim faith, I’m … an immigrant,” Biberaj told the American Independent Foundation. “We’ve had threats and comments and harsh communication from white supremacist groups. So you see that and know that this is intentionally done to rile people up in that realm.”

After bringing the threats to the Virginia attorney general’s office, the Virginia State Police, and the FBI, Biberaj said she has had to reevaluate the way she lives her life in order to protect her safety.

Among those campaigning against Biberaj is VDARE, which the Southern Poverty Law Center calls an “anti-immigration hate website” that “regularly publishes articles by prominent white nationalists, race scientists and anti-Semites.”

On Oct. 11, VDARE published an article under the headline “White Father Arrested In Loudoun Protesting Daughter’s Rape In School Bathroom By ‘Teen’ In Skirt. Muslim Immigrant Prosecutor Buta Biberaj Wants To Jail FATHER.” The following day it shared a link to the article in a tweet that called Biberaj a “Soros-backed immigrant Muslim prosecutor who is trying to jail a white father.” And on Oct. 17, the VDARE account replied to a tweet from the Youngkin campaign about ties between Biberaj and Soros and noted that she was “an Albanian Muslim immigrant from Montenegro.”

Right-wing media has latched on to the Loudoun County sexual assault case as validation of a common false conservative talking point: that allowing trans people to choose the bathroom that matches their gender will result in cisgender males masquerading as trans females to assault girls in bathrooms and locker rooms. Experts have time and time again debunked claims about “bathroom predators” as a myth.

Though the boy in the case was reported to be wearing a skirt at the time of the assault, Biberaj said, he was not identified as transgender during the trial, and the assault took place after the girl had invited him to meet her in the bathroom, after which he “exceeded the permission and consent of the girl, which is what made it sexual assault,” she noted.

Another right-wing talking point is the supposed persecution by Biberaj of Scott Smith, the victim’s father, after his arrest by Loudoun County sheriff’s deputies at a Loudoun County School Board meeting in June on charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest after a fight broke out among those at the meeting.

A Virginia website called the Republican Standard wrote on Oct. 27 in a supposed “fact check” that Biberaj “must have understood why Smith, who attended a Loudoun County School Board meeting on June 22 looking for answers, would’ve gotten upset after the district superintendent said the student suspected in his daughter’s assault didn’t exist. And yet, she appeared in court personally to push for jail time, a fine and anger management classes.”

“The narrative just keeps changing to fit what the goal is. … If you look at everything that’s out there, we knew nothing about the May 28 incident until July 9,” Biberaj said. “So all those narratives are intentional disinformation.”

Right-wing media has also claimed over and over that Biberaj worked to cover up the sexual assault and blamed her for placing the offender in another school where he allegedly committed another assault.

In reality, Biberaj said, her office simply asked the court that the student not be allowed to return to the same school as the girl. She said she had no say over where and how he would be placed.

As for the right-wing finger-pointing about the first case being covered up when the second assault was immediately publicized, the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office released this statement on Oct. 13: “The October 6, 2021 incident at Broad Run High School did not involve complex circumstances, the arrest was immediate, and the arrest was reported to the community as information released was unlikely to disclose the identity of the victim. However, the May 28, 2021 investigation was different in that the suspect and victim were familiar with each other, the investigation was complex, and a public announcement had the potential to identify a juvenile victim.”

Republican gubernatorial candidate Youngkin has called for Biberaj’s resignation and demanded a state and federal investigation into the Loudoun County School Board. Biberaj said the candidate’s rhetoric is intended solely to incite division.

“The most frustrating thing is, we look to our leaders to create healthy communities. When individuals take incidents like this which are harmful, hurtful, as well as traumatic to families, and you’re going to take that and let that be your rally cry, just to promote something, then that means your political interests are greater than your people interests,” Biberaj said. “And, that to me, is not a sign of good leader[ship], because once this election is done, I don’t think Mr. Youngkin or any of the candidates may be in our day-to-day lives here in Loudoun County. But these families are still living here. The hurt that they’re causing will still reside here.”

She added: “That’s not leadership.”

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


Read More
Dan Patrick rails against spending as state drops thousands on his office upgrades

Dan Patrick rails against spending as state drops thousands on his office upgrades

By Jesse Valentine - May 22, 2024
Former Sen. Kelly Ayotte took job at Caterpillar after tax fraud probe

Former Sen. Kelly Ayotte took job at Caterpillar after tax fraud probe

By Jesse Valentine - May 21, 2024
Youngkin vetoes bills on contraception access, skill games, Confederate heritage rollbacks

Youngkin vetoes bills on contraception access, skill games, Confederate heritage rollbacks

By Graham Moomaw, Virginia Mercury , Nathaniel Cline, Virginia Mercury , Charlie Paullin, Virginia Mercury and Charlotte Rene Woods, Virginia Mercury - May 20, 2024
Evolution denier Mark Robinson could reshape North Carolina’s education system

Evolution denier Mark Robinson could reshape North Carolina’s education system

By Jesse Valentine - May 16, 2024
SC governor to sign bill banning hormone therapy for transgender youth into law

SC governor to sign bill banning hormone therapy for transgender youth into law

By Skylar Laird, South Carolina Daily Gazette - May 09, 2024
Ohio Gov. DeWine said he didn’t know of millions in FirstEnergy support. Is it plausible?

Ohio Gov. DeWine said he didn’t know of millions in FirstEnergy support. Is it plausible?

By Marty Schladen, Ohio Capital Journal - April 29, 2024
AJ News
Latest
Republican Bernie Moreno’s rags-to-riches story exposed as a lie

Republican Bernie Moreno’s rags-to-riches story exposed as a lie

By Jesse Valentine - May 24, 2024
What happens to clinics after a state bans abortion? They fight to survive.

What happens to clinics after a state bans abortion? They fight to survive.

By Chabeli Carrazana and Shefali Luthra - May 22, 2024
Former Sen. Kelly Ayotte took job at Caterpillar after tax fraud probe

Former Sen. Kelly Ayotte took job at Caterpillar after tax fraud probe

By Jesse Valentine - May 21, 2024
Alabama OB-GYN residencies dropped over 20% after Dobbs, state abortion ban, says analysis

Alabama OB-GYN residencies dropped over 20% after Dobbs, state abortion ban, says analysis

By Alander Rocha, Alabama Reflector - May 21, 2024
House GOP celebrates National Police Week while pushing to defund local law enforcement

House GOP celebrates National Police Week while pushing to defund local law enforcement

By Jesse Valentine - May 16, 2024
Evolution denier Mark Robinson could reshape North Carolina’s education system

Evolution denier Mark Robinson could reshape North Carolina’s education system

By Jesse Valentine - May 16, 2024
Republican Jay Ashcroft backs anti-abortion clinics that push lies and disinformation

Republican Jay Ashcroft backs anti-abortion clinics that push lies and disinformation

By Jesse Valentine - May 14, 2024
Republican Sam Brown’s assault on teacher unions could backfire

Republican Sam Brown’s assault on teacher unions could backfire

By Jesse Valentine - May 09, 2024
Florida abortion ban puts GOP Rep. Anna Paulina Luna’s anti-choice views in spotlight

Florida abortion ban puts GOP Rep. Anna Paulina Luna’s anti-choice views in spotlight

By Jesse Valentine - May 07, 2024
Trump leaves door open to banning medication abortion nationwide

Trump leaves door open to banning medication abortion nationwide

By Jennifer Shutt, States Newsroom - April 30, 2024
Republican Caroleene Dobson wants Alabama abortion ban to go nationwide

Republican Caroleene Dobson wants Alabama abortion ban to go nationwide

By Jesse Valentine - April 30, 2024
Ohio Gov. DeWine said he didn’t know of millions in FirstEnergy support. Is it plausible?

Ohio Gov. DeWine said he didn’t know of millions in FirstEnergy support. Is it plausible?

By Marty Schladen, Ohio Capital Journal - April 29, 2024
GOP Rep. Zach Nunn suggests laws against hate crime aren’t needed

GOP Rep. Zach Nunn suggests laws against hate crime aren’t needed

By Jesse Valentine - April 15, 2024
GOP Senate candidate Hung Cao blames racial equity for Baltimore bridge tragedy

GOP Senate candidate Hung Cao blames racial equity for Baltimore bridge tragedy

By Jesse Valentine - March 29, 2024
GOP Rep. Jennifer Kiggans donates thousands to far-right extremists

GOP Rep. Jennifer Kiggans donates thousands to far-right extremists

By Jesse Valentine - March 08, 2024
Ohio senate candidate Bernie Moreno: “Absolute pro-life no exceptions.”

Ohio senate candidate Bernie Moreno: “Absolute pro-life no exceptions.”

By Jesse Valentine - March 07, 2024
Anti-China Republicans pocket thousands from Chinese owned conglomerate

Anti-China Republicans pocket thousands from Chinese owned conglomerate

By Jesse Valentine - March 04, 2024
Republican Eric Hovde makes inconsistent statements about family history

Republican Eric Hovde makes inconsistent statements about family history

By Jesse Valentine - February 26, 2024
Republican David McCormick invests millions in website that platforms Holocaust denial

Republican David McCormick invests millions in website that platforms Holocaust denial

By Jesse Valentine - February 09, 2024
Lawmakers will again take up bills expanding, tightening gun laws

Lawmakers will again take up bills expanding, tightening gun laws

By Annmarie Timmins, New Hampshire Bulletin - January 31, 2024
UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

By Ashley Murray, States Newsroom - January 24, 2024
Republicans Sam Brown and Jeff Gunter sling mud in Nevada senate primary

Republicans Sam Brown and Jeff Gunter sling mud in Nevada senate primary

By Jesse Valentine - January 17, 2024
A Young Texas Woman Almost Died Due To The Texas Abortion Bans – Now She’s Battling To Save Other Women

A Young Texas Woman Almost Died Due To The Texas Abortion Bans – Now She’s Battling To Save Other Women

By Bonnie Fuller - January 10, 2024
Health care legislation preview: Maryland advocates want to focus on access, patients in 2024 session

Health care legislation preview: Maryland advocates want to focus on access, patients in 2024 session

By Danielle J. Brown, Maryland Matters - January 08, 2024
How GOP senate hopefuls try to excuse the  January 6 insurrection

How GOP senate hopefuls try to excuse the  January 6 insurrection

By Jesse Valentine - January 05, 2024
NH lawmakers will be taking up major voting bills this year. Here are some to watch for.

NH lawmakers will be taking up major voting bills this year. Here are some to watch for.

By Ethan DeWitt, New Hampshire Bulletin - January 04, 2024
Republican US Senate candidates want to make Trump’s tax cuts permanent 

Republican US Senate candidates want to make Trump’s tax cuts permanent 

By Jesse Valentine - December 22, 2023
Rand Paul went all in on the Kentucky governor’s race. It didn’t work.

Rand Paul went all in on the Kentucky governor’s race. It didn’t work.

By - December 15, 2023
Texas governor and attorney general do little to curb state’s chemical plant crisis

Texas governor and attorney general do little to curb state’s chemical plant crisis

By Jesse Valentine - December 08, 2023
Likely GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde proposed tax hike for poorer workers and retirees

Likely GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde proposed tax hike for poorer workers and retirees

By Jesse Valentine - December 07, 2023
Whitmer signs specific criminal penalties for assaulting health care workers into law

Whitmer signs specific criminal penalties for assaulting health care workers into law

By Anna Liz Nichols, Michigan Advance - December 06, 2023
105 Republicans voted to expel Santos for things Trump has also done

105 Republicans voted to expel Santos for things Trump has also done

By Jesse Valentine - December 05, 2023
For Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another Trump term is another chance to kill Obamacare

For Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another Trump term is another chance to kill Obamacare

By Jesse Valentine - December 04, 2023
Florida Sen. Rick Scott backs Donald Trump in revived push to repeal Obamacare

Florida Sen. Rick Scott backs Donald Trump in revived push to repeal Obamacare

By Jesse Valentine - November 30, 2023
Tate Reeves took donations from power company that hiked customer rates

Tate Reeves took donations from power company that hiked customer rates

By Jesse Valentine - November 06, 2023
Daniel Cameron ran on depoliticizing the Kentucky AG’s office. He made it more political.

Daniel Cameron ran on depoliticizing the Kentucky AG’s office. He made it more political.

By Jesse Valentine - November 03, 2023
Republican operatives sound every alarm on current trajectory of 2023 governor’s race

Republican operatives sound every alarm on current trajectory of 2023 governor’s race

By Adam Ganucheau, Mississippi Today - October 24, 2023
Louisiana declares abortion drugs ‘dangerous substances’ to add harsher penalties

Louisiana declares abortion drugs ‘dangerous substances’ to add harsher penalties

By Greg LaRose, Louisiana Illuminator - May 24, 2024
These U.S. Supreme Court cases could affect abortion access nationwide

These U.S. Supreme Court cases could affect abortion access nationwide

By Charlotte Rene Woods, Virginia Mercury - May 24, 2024
Mike Rogers’ ties to Chinese telecom giants fuel hypocrisy scandal

Mike Rogers’ ties to Chinese telecom giants fuel hypocrisy scandal

By Jesse Valentine - May 23, 2024
New rules protect pregnant workers, but red states sue over abortion provisions

New rules protect pregnant workers, but red states sue over abortion provisions

By Anna Claire Vollers - May 22, 2024