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Video of 'tripping' incident sparks accusations in South Bay race for district attorney

Video shows 'tripping' incident between Southbay rivals in race for District Attorney 02:05

SAN JOSE (KPIX) -- The debate over whether a 'tripping' incident caught on video was accidental or deliberate is heating up the South Bay race for district attorney.

Santa Clara District Attorney Jeff Rosen is being accused of intentionally tripping a candidate after a heated debate. Rosen's campaign insists it was nothing but an "accidental bump."

Moments after wrapping up a debate Friday night, District Attorney candidate Daniel Chung reached over to shake DA Jeff Rosen's hand.

It's unclear whether Rosen intentionally sticks out his leg to trip Chung, his former deputy prosecutor.

"Respect, civility, basic professionalism, and courtesy were not extended. The live audience, the recorded audience, and everybody now is seeing it," said Chung.

Sajid Khan is a Santa Clara County public defender, who saw it all unfold.

"It was startling to see. It shows he's not fit to be our district attorney in this county," said Khan.

In the video, Khan can be heard asking Rosen, "did you just trip Daniel?"

Rosen replies, "No he did."

"DA Rosen is the boss. He's been there for twelve years and the public expects him to just be a professional," said Chung.

"This is part of a pattern of Mr. Rosen engaged in abusive retaliatory tactics," said Khan.

About 30 seconds after being confronted by Khan, Rosen can be heard apologizing to Chung saying, "Sorry about that."

The district attorney's campaign advisor sent KPIX-5 a statement.

"During a candidate forum, as they were both maneuvering in a very narrow space, DA Rosen accidentally bumped into Mr. Chung. Thirty seconds later, after the forum concluded, DA Rosen apologized to Mr. Chung and they shook hands. Then DA Rosen shook hands with Mr. Kahn. Unfortunately, DA Rosen's opponents are attempting to sensationalize a simple human interaction for political gain," wrote Leo Briones.

"It wasn't an accident. I could see clearly. There was no reason for Mr. Rosen to lift up his leg the way that he did. He lifted his leg right as Mr. Chung passed. That it's someone who is our current sitting district attorney who's comports himself in such an inappropriate childish way. That's beneath our democracy," said Khan.

This is the first time Rosen is being challenged for district attorney since being elected twelve years ago. The primary is on June 7.

Mail-in ballots go out next week. 

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