ASHBURN, Va. (7News) — Bob Anderson is running for Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney and on Friday he slammed Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney Buta Biberaj, who’s running as an incumbent, for being hostile towards the press and judges.
“The politics is exactly what’s driving what’s going on. Buta Biberaj is hostile with everybody — the media, which you can’t be, with the judges,” said Anderson. “There is a level of hostility that I quite frankly have not seen before. The reason I’m in [this race] is because I’m watching this and it absolutely is a situation that I believe needs to be fixed. And if it isn’t fixed, it’s gonna get worse, because it continues, keeps going on and on. That’s wrong.”
“I am the Republican, proud Republican candidate for Commonwealth’s Attorney,” Anderson said. “But let me just say this. It doesn’t matter whether or not it’s Republican or Democrat. The operation of this office is not political.”
Anderson previously served two terms as Commonwealth’s Attorney, and he said the Commonwealth’s Attorney Office has gotten too political under Biberaj.
In a new recording obtained by 7News, Biberaj is heard criticizing judges during a conversation on Election Day 2022.
“Judges are not pro us, they are all Republicans,” Biberaj is heard saying. “Oh yeah. Like the former prosecutor got a judgeship because they knew he was gonna lose. And the same thing for the second judge up there who was a former prosecutor out of Fauquier. They knew that as well. So they put him up there. They just play into their games. Come on. It’s crazy.”
“A statement made like that, about the judiciary is appalling,” said Anderson. “There is absolutely no room for any of that. And that again erodes the confidence in the judicial system here in the county. That can’t happen. That is absolutely wrong. And it should be addressed. I can tell you that it is totally inappropriate for that kind of comment to be made. I’ve been in courts with many people within this community. And decisions made by the court may not be agreed with, but they are respected. And there’s no question, none, as to whether or not these judges are basing decisions off political considerations. None. And there shouldn’t be.”
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Anderson also thinks threats made against Loudoun County residents need to be addressed.
7News has shown how some members of the Loudoun Love Warriors Facebook group have doxed parents, discussed ways to get people fired from their jobs, and even threatened some people because of what they said at school board meetings.
Some members of the Facebook group appear to be associated with a number of elected officials, including Biberaj.
READ MORE | Loudoun Co. parent says she’s getting more threats after speaking at school board meeting
To be clear, elected officials did not personally make the threats.
The Loudoun County Sherriff’s Office is investigating threats made in the Facebook group.
“There is an investigation,” said Anderson. “It hasn’t been completed yet. But I will tell you this. From what I’ve heard so far, it appears to be a potential there for an issue involving force, threat, or intimidation to affect the political outcome. That is not going to be tolerated. If that investigation is complete and shows probable cause and I’m elected there will be some action taken on that case. My understanding of that is there is an attempt – or was an attempt – to force, threaten, intimidate to affect the political outcome. These people were voicing their own viewpoints and ended up being subjected to various threats.”
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7News has reached out to Biberaj several times for an interview on this topic. Biberaj has not agreed to do an interview.
“It is pathetic that Sinclair Broadcasting is choosing to run a story based on audio surreptitiously recorded by a Republican operative using a fake name and posing as a Democratic volunteer,” Biberaj’s campaign manager Chris Smith said in a statement emailed to 7News. “Buta is proud to stand up for Loudoun’s values of inclusivity and opportunity for all. We look forward to WJLA’s investigation into why Buta’s opponent has broken Virginia law and refused to reveal her secret right-wing donors for 39 days past the state deadline.”
MORE | Virginia AG is monitoring Loudoun Love Warriors ‘very closely’ as investigation continues
Biberaj is currently running for re-election. Right now, Biberaj is facing off against Democrat Elizabeth Lancaster in the June 20 primary. Biberaj’s campaign manager is accusing Lancaster of breaking Virginia law.
“I have absolutely nothing to hide,” Lancaster told 7News. “I look forward to seeing what new mental gymnastics they [Biberaj’s campaign] jump through when they realize I’ve only raised about 10k, all from local citizens in the amount of $50-$100. I’m certain their [Biberaj’s campaign] new attack ads will be as bereft from facts as their current attack ads: courteously paid for by out-of-county resources. I intend to represent all Loudoun citizens. Not just those that believe what I do on issues that have absolutely nothing to do with being a prosecutor.”
You can watch 7New’s candidate forum with Lancaster online. 7News invited Biberaj to participate in a candidate forum last week, but she refused.
Lancaster and Anderson have criticized Biberaj’s turnover rate within the Commonwealth’s Attorney office.
“Turnover of personnel, you’ve got 85% of the people leaving in the course of two years,” said Anderson. “And so the question then becomes, are these cases properly prepared? Are they in a situation where they’re properly analyzed?”
“We are in a situation right now and it’s very dangerous here in Loudoun County,” added Anderson. “And the reason I say that is there have been so many mistakes made in the course of the operation of this office. I’ve lived in this county for 35 plus years. I’ve raised a family. I have grandkids, kids, and I threw my hat back in the ring because I felt this needs to get fixed.”
Anderson told 7News that when he was in office, morale in the Commonwealth’s Attorney office was the highest within Loudoun County government departments.
“When I was in the Office of the Commonwealth Attorney, we had the highest morale rating within the county,” Anderson said. “We had people that were truly operating as trial professionals, which is what they should be. And now what you’ve got is a system of just total hostility and a lack of transparency. This office prosecutes cases that are brought into the office from nine different police agencies. You’ve got to have adequate communication, high-level communication, coordination, and cooperation. And that’s not what’s here right now. The other issue that really bothers me, is transparency. If you’re not honest, openly, truly to the point that you can talk to people and tell them what’s going on. Having that question as far as being truthful or not, then you’ve got an issue with credibility. And we have an issue with credibility here in this office as to whether or not the Commonwealth’s Attorney now, when you’re talking to her, even is telling the truth in these cases, so that needs to be fixed. And if it isn’t fixed, it results in less respect for the office.”
Anderson also claims services have been reduced under Biberaj.
“One of the things that really irritates or bothers me is the fact that in the course of the operation of this office, the county did a survey in fiscal year 2021,” Anderson. “And the survey analyzed what individuals within the county had voluntarily terminated their services for the county. On a county-wide level that was 7%. On the Commonwealth Attorney’s level, it was 56.7% and it didn’t get any better in fiscal [year[ 2022 because the percentage for the county then was 10. And the percentage for the Commonwealth Attorney was 30. The fact of the matter is those numbers speak a message. You can’t possibly operate an efficient office when the management produces those kinds of numbers, as far as disaffection of people deciding to leave the office and quit. So it is a dangerous situation. Part of that turnover has resulted in huge issues that have come up, issues like a convicted sex offender on the registry, on probation, being hired in the Commonwealth Attorney’s office as a paralegal with access to files of victims, and witnesses. The only way that the Commonwealth knew about that was the fact that the probation officer came back and said what’s going on? Those are mistakes that can be made. The individual that was charged with the murder being released, walking out of the jail and being captured then in Savannah, Georgia and being charged.”
Earlier this year, 7News reported on a blistering analysis completed by the Loudoun County Department of Human Resources that showed the Loudoun County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office has a high voluntary turnover rate under Biberaj’s leadership.
READ | Loudoun County CA Buta Biberaj responds to criticism that she’s an ‘HR nightmare’
“As outlined above, turnover is an area where the [Commonwealth Attorney] appears to be experiencing challenges greater than the average County department/agency,” the report stated. “While the County saw a significant increase in overall voluntary turnover from FY 21 to FY 22 (7.68% to 10.90%), the CWA’s voluntary turnover rate (FY 21: 56.70% and FY 22: 27.98%) significantly exceeded the County’s overall voluntary turnover rate for both fiscal years. This suggests that other factors, beyond the Great Resignation, are negatively influencing the CWA’s employee retention.”
Biberaj argues that the turnover in her office does not imply instability in her office.
“If you look at the numbers between 2021-2022, the county, they went up above 20% in their turnover rate,” Biberaj told 7News in February 2023. “We eventually got down almost 50%, so we’ve gone down from 57% to 28%. So I would say to you that our trajectory actually is much more positive and stabilizing than that of the county. One of the things that’s lost in this statistic is the fact that with any new administration, there’s always a change. We look at presidents, we look at the county administrator’s office when we have a new board, those changes come to place. I actually would ask the county to show us their stats for the sheriff’s office, social services, the county administrator’s office and HR.”
“I came in and made a commitment that we were going to change the culture in the office in the Commonwealth’s Attorney,” added Biberaj. “And as everybody knows what that the new administration comes new people. What we’re trying to do is we’re trying to build a team that has a different cultural approach to Criminal Justice. In Loudoun County, crime is down by 12%. Safety is up. That means that we are working and doing the job that citizens and voters have hired us to do and that’s success.”