The attorney representing alleged serial stalker Bill Gene Hobbs has requested a venue change for his upcoming trial, blaming “negative” media reports.
Hobbs' public defender Max Breecker said news articles about his client's behavior and continued coverage of Hobbs' court appearances has made it impossible to have an unbiased jury in San Francisco, according court documents seen by The Standard.
“The complaining witnesses have become celebrated symbols of the fight against sexual harassment broadly, whereas Mr. Hobbs has been demonized as an evil stereotype of a creepy, potentially violent, misogynistic man,” the motion read.
Breecker went on to say in the motion that the case has "become intertwined with local politics," pointing to an Oct. 14 tweet by District Attorney Brooke Jenkins where she called Hobbs a "threat to public safety" and promised to hold Hobbs "accountable for the harassment and crimes he committed."
Hobbs will be held accountable for the harassment and crimes he committed against women across San Francisco. We will seek pre-trial detention because he is a public safety threat and we must send a strong message that this type of behavior and harassment will not be tolerated. https://t.co/CNEm7lOzjr— Brooke Jenkins 謝安宜 (@BrookeJenkinsSF) October 14, 2022
"It is evident that the current District Attorney has sought to send a message through Mr. Hobbs and has invested herself personally in the outcome of the case," the motion adds.
One alleged victim, who said Hobbs followed her and made her feel uncomfortable roughly six months ago said that she did not have any strong feelings about the request to relocate the trial.
"I just hope he gets arrested and goes to jail for what he did. I don't really care where the trial is held," said the victim, who requested anonymity.
The Standard contacted several other alleged victims for comment.
Hobbs was arrested on Oct. 14 and faces more than a dozen charges, including a felony charge of false imprisonment, as well as misdemeanor charges of sexual battery. A judge dismissed several misdemeanor charges against Hobbs in November due to insufficient evidence.
Hobbs was detained pretrial, with the DA's Office deeming him a public safety risk unless he remained in custody.
The relocation motion will be heard on Jan. 20 when Hobbs' is due to next appear in court, according to the San Francisco Sheriff's Department website.
The trial is set to begin on Jan. 30 although opening arguments will be made at a later date, a DA spokesperson said.
Garrett Leahy can be reached at [email protected]