In a Dec. 18 email to her campaign supporters, Western Judicial Circuit Deborah Gonzalez wrote that she is “the most hated woman in Oconee because of the work I am doing.”

She claimed that she can’t walk alone in the Watkinsville area because “white supremacists are out to get me.”

The email was sent two days after a man was assaulted at an Oconee restaurant where the Oconee Democratic Party had been congregating. The victim was a white man, and the attacker resides in Athens-Clarke County.

Following backlash on social media, Gonzalez met with Oconee Board of Commissioners Chairman John Daniell and Commissioner Chuck Horton on Dec. 29 for over an hour. She invited former Democratic Rep. Jonathan Wallace to the meeting as well. 

Horton, who earlier in his career was the University of Georgia chief of police, told The Oconee Enterprise that only two commissioners met with Gonzalez in part because three or more would have constituted a quorum and required a public meeting.

Oconee Sheriff James Hale said he was aware of the meeting but was not invited to participate.

As a result of the meeting, the District Attorney’s Office and Oconee County released a joint statement last week

“District Attorney Gonzalez deeply regrets the unfortunate choice of language used in a recent email,” according to the statement. While DA Gonzalez only intended to single out the actions of a few, she understands why Oconee County was offended by these comments. It was not her intent to cause such offense, and DA Gonzalez apologizes.”

“She looked straight at me and said she was sorry,” said Horton. “ I didn’t get the feeling that she was not being sincere with me and John.”

For more on this story, see the Jan. 20 edition of The Oconee Enterprise, on sale now at convenience stores and grocery stores and newspaper boxes throughout Oconee County. To subscribe, call (706) 769-5175 or visit the tab on our website. 

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