LA DA’s ‘catastrophic incompetence’ could botch case against convicted double child killer, lawyer warns

May 16, 2024 | U.S. | 0 comments

Speeding down a residential road in a street race against her former Major League Baseball player boyfriend, Los Angeles socialite Rebecca Grossman had drugs and alcohol in her system when prosecutors say she slammed into two children in a crosswalk, killing both, in Westlake Village, California.

Their mother, California biotech executive Nancy Iskander, grabbed her third boy and dove out of the way.

After a murder trial that ended in February, jurors found the 60-year-old guilty of killing Jacob Iskander, 8, and his brother, Mark, 11, in a 2020 crash.

She has not yet been sentenced but faces up to 34 years in prison – a punishment that critics say may be in jeopardy because of alleged corruption and “incompetence” in the office of Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon, whose former No. 3 aide indirectly supervised the prosecution and now has the same defense lawyer as the convicted killer.

‘WOKE’ CALIFORNIA PROSECUTOR ‘IRONICALLY IN CHARGE OF ETHICS’ CHARGED WITH FELONIES

“You’ve created a conflict of interest in the middle of your case, which is insane,” said Nathan Hochman, a former federal prosecutor and the challenger to Gascon in November’s election. “You just got a conviction for a woman who killed two kids. And you’re going to jeopardize that? Shame on you, Diana Teran.”

The scandal also opens up the door for appeals in countless other cases prosecuted under Teran’s supervision, he said.

“That’s the magnitude of what we’re dealing with,” he said. “I view [Gascon’s] incompetence at the catastrophic level.”

State prosecutors announced 11 felony charges against Diana Teran last month. She was previously the head of the ethics and integrity unit in the DA’s office and was also atop the chain of command in charge of the team that prosecuted Grossman at trial. Her attorney, James Spertus, joined Grossman’s defense in March to handle post-conviction matters.

FORMER MLB PITCHER SCOTT ERICKSON MADE THREATS AFTER HE WAS SEEN HIDING NEAR FATAL CRASH, DAUGHTER SAYS

“What’s going to happen is every single defendant who ever had a case in which Diana Turin was a supervisor is now going to file a new trial motion to try and get a new trial based on her own prosecutorial misconduct,” Hochman said.

Most prosecutors would have flagged the potential conflict of interest immediately, and the judge would likely have prevented Spertus from joining Grossman’s team as a result, Hochman said. But in this case, the trial prosecutors weren’t aware of the issue until they saw Spertus’ name come up in news coverage about Teran’s arrest.

It’s unclear when Gascon learned of the connection, and his office has declined to specify when it first knew of the charges against Teran. A law enforcement source previously told Fox News Digital that the case had been referred to the state attorney general’s office due to a conflict of interest, indicating leaders in the DA’s office knew about the investigation well before charges were filed.

“Literally, he never defended or personally prosecuted a case in his entire life,” Hochman said. “He’s probably woefully unqualified to understand the whole issue of dealing with conflicts, and he clearly must have been relying on Diana Teran to assess these conflicts, where she is incredibly biased in making [decisions]. And these are the type of people he’s relying on.”

Instead of disclosing her connection to Spertus, Teran allegedly kept mum.

CALIFORNIA SOCIALITE REBECCA GROSSMAN ORDERED TO STAND TRIAL IN HIT-AND-RUN DEATHS OF 2 CHILDREN

“Already Gascon has an anti-victim perspective on how he deals with stuff,” Hochman said. “But now he’s adding a level of incompetence that would endanger any conviction that the DA’s office gets.”

After the line prosecutors approached their superiors about a motion to have Spertus removed from Grossman’s case due to the potential conflict, they were removed without warning Friday, according to Garrett Dameron, their supervisor. He said he was speaking on his own behalf, not for the DA’s office.

“Friday morning, I was told through my chain of command that the three of us were off the case, and I specifically asked, does this mean on all things or does this mean on just this conflict issue,” Dameron told Fox News Digital. “And it was brought back to me that it’s on all things, and down the road, maybe there’d be reconsideration.”

REBECCA GROSSMAN PLEADS NOT GUILTY TO MURDER CHARGES IN CRASH THAT KILLED 2 BOYS

In an email to his boss, Gascon’s Chief Deputy DA Joseph Iniguez, Dameron called the prosecutors’ removal “unbelievable, unprofessional, and unwarranted.”

“For months, Ryan Gould and Jamie Castro sacrificed their lives, time during work hours and after work hours, missed family events, and gave their blood sweat and tears to this prosecution,” he wrote. “I myself was involved every night, after work, for hours working with the trial attorneys on dealing with the day’s events and preparing for the next day.”

Teran, on the other hand, had a limited role – until in March, after Grossman hired Spertus, when she allegedly prevented investigators from interviewing a new witness in the case as allegations emerged that Grossman was trying to tamper with jurors from behind bars.

The scandal appears to have caught the victims’ mother, Nancy Iskander, by surprise. She welcomed the reversal in a post on X on Tuesday, crediting public support for the move.

Spertus, who denied having any conflicts of interest in the Teran or Grossman cases, told Fox News Digital even that allegation against Teran wouldn’t create one.

“That might have been something that Ms. Teran did or didn’t do that is consistent or not consistent with DA policy,” he said. “That has nothing to do with me. My duty to Ms. Teran and to Ms. Grossman cannot be affected by whether or not Ms. Teran properly or improperly allowed witnesses [to be] interviewed.”

The family, however, sees things differently.

“Spertus is the conflict, that’s how the family feels,” said Julie Cohen, a close friend of the Iskanders. “What did she tell him? Not only does he know the judge and socializes with the judge, he’s had a professional relationship with Teran since 2019.”

In local interviews, the Iskanders have said they believe Grossman hired Spertus to push the issue.

Iniguez told Fox News Digital this week that the two lead prosecutors, Ryan Gould and Jamie Castro, would still be assisting with the case and that the chain of command had been moved from a division previously under Teran’s control to the major crimes unit, where she had no involvement.

“The People v. Grossman matter was re-assigned to the Assistant Head Deputy of the elite Major Crimes Division, Habib Balian, who has over 25 years of experience in the Office and has been in MCD for over 13 years,” Iniguez said in a statement. “The trial attorneys, Jamie Castro and Ryan Gould, will remain on the case and assist the Major Crimes Division.”

TOP ADVISER TO LEFT-WING CALIFORNIA DA CHARGED WITH NEARLY DOZEN FELONIES

Iniguez insisted the change “was necessary to address any perceived internal conflict over past issues of supervision.” He said he expected Grossman to be sentenced as normal.

“That’s not what I was told on Friday,” Dameron said. “I understand that they are saying this now that the victims’ family has spoken out.”

While some critics fear Spertus’ involvement in the case could lead to a slew of appeal opportunities for Grossman and other criminals convicted under Teran’s supervision, Dameron said that it’s likely any damage will be minimized since he joined the case after the end of the trial – and there’s nothing barring his team’s replacement prosecutors from asking the judge to remove him anyway.

“The two trial lawyers just died for this case in terms of their effort, and it would be absolutely horrific if something were to happen to the conviction,” he said. “So, thank God all of this is happening after the verdict.”

LA DA GASCON HIRES LAWYER WHO CALLED LAPD ‘BARBARIANS,’ SAID PRISONS SHOULD BE ABOLISHED

Teran had been elevated to Gascon’s No. 3 as part of “a pattern of catastrophic incompetence,” Hochman said, leveling more criticism at Iniguez, who was named alongside Teran in a lawsuit from the Los Angeles Association of Deputy District Attorneys, and Gascon’s chief of staff, Tiffiny Blacknell, who has been criticized for past anti-police statements.

LA PROSECUTOR SAYS BOSS GASCON SENT POLICE TO INTIMIDATE HER AT HOME AFTER BLOWING WHISTLE ON SOFT-ON-CRIME MEMO

Hochman noted the huge publicity surrounding the case. At the time Grossman mowed down the Iskander children, she was the estranged wife of a prominent doctor and was a socialite. The boyfriend she was convicted of racing against in the crash was former Major Leaguer Scott Erickson, who pitched for several teams over 16 seasons, including a stint with the Los Angeles Dodgers near the end of his career, as well as the Minnesota Twins, for whom he won 20 games in 1991.

“If this is the way that they’re dealing with a case that has media scrutiny already, imagine how they’re dealing with cases that don’t have this type of scrutiny,” he said.

Grossman is due back in court Friday.

Spertus said it’s up to the DA’s office to articulate any potential conflict in court before a judge. Until that happens, he plans on contesting the conviction as Grossman seeks a new trial.

Teran faces an 11-count felony indictment for allegedly stealing confidential information on a group of Los Angeles deputies when she was employed in the sheriff’s office and then inappropriately using that information while working in the DA’s office years later.

Gascon has maintained that his office is cooperating with the attorney general’s office on that case.

Spertus previously told Fox News Digital that he expected to beat the state’s charges against Teran.

A former top LA prosecutor facing 11 felony charges has the same defense lawyer as a convicted killer whose trial she oversaw, which has sparked conflict-of-interest concerns.[#item_full_content]

Stock Market Overview

Economic & Market News

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Black Conservative Boogeyman

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This