SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — A tripping incident caught on video in the race for Santa Clara County District Attorney is causing debate about whether or not it was an intentional act by incumbent Jeff Rosen.
The incident, broadcasted live online, took place last week at the end of a heated in-person debate between candidates Daniel Chung, Sajid Khan, and Rosen. In the video, Chung is seen attempting to shake Rosen’s hand but was initially ignored. When Rosen reaches for his briefcase off the ground, the video shows Rosen tripping Chung as he was walking back to his seat.
“After shaking Sajid’s hand, I was walking back to my seat and even tucked in DA Rosen’s chair to make sure that there was no obstacle in front of me.,” said Chung. “Initially, I was very confused about what had just happened and could not believe that DA Rosen would try to trip me in front of the public,” Chung added.
“However, it was consistent with his earlier irrational behavior where he refused to shake my hand in front of the public. Moreover, Sajid witnessed the incident and immediately called out DA Rosen for tripping me.”
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Immediately after Chung stumbles, Khan can be heard asking Rosen, “Did you just trip him?” — Rosen replied, “No, he just tripped.”
“I could see clearly and felt that Mr. Rosen intentionally stuck his leg out and tripped Mr. Chung, which is why I spoke up immediately,” said Khan. “When people criticize how you run the DA’s office, harming them is unacceptable. There is no place for this behavior in our democracy. Our people deserve better – it’s time for a new direction in Santa Clara County.”
Chung claims the trip was intentional due to past conflicts with Rosen’s office — in addition to repeatedly accusing the DA of various conflicts of interests. Chung used to work in the district attorney’s office under Rosen but was let go after publishing an op-ed in July 2021, claiming that Rosen should be investigated for several conflicts of interest violations.
He also claims Rosen had posters put up of Chung around the office in an attempt to intimidate him.
“However, beyond intentionality, this is really about upholding basic norms of respect and civility,” said Chung. “Shaking hands after a debate. Apologizing to someone if you trip him. Checking to see if he is okay.
“All things you should do regardless of whether you trip someone accidentally or intentionally,” Chung added. “That is the bigger picture here.”
Chung tells KRON4 News despite heavily criticizing Khan during the debate the two challengers still shook hands afterward. Chung said if elected as the new DA, he vows to be tougher on crime than Rosen or Khan.
“I believe DA Rosen is beginning to realize that I am the bigger threat to his office than Sajid is,” said Chung. “My campaign message of getting tougher on crime is resonating with voters, and he is beginning to realize that he may not be re-elected because a career prosecutor who is serious about prosecuting crime is challenging him and inspiring voters.”
Rosen took over the DA’s office in 2010 after he was voted in by County voters over his boss, one-term incumbent Dolores Carr.
Since taking over, Rosen has run unopposed (2014 and 2018).
KRON4 has reached out to DA Rosen’s office for a comment but did get a response in time for publication.