D.A. asks judge to revoke Rebecca Grossman’s bail, alleges evidence leak

Prosecutors asked that the bail of Rebecca Grossman be revoked in her murder trial Friday, saying that while the jury was deliberating she orchestrated the release of sealed evidence that jurors have not seen.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Joseph Brandolino said he would investigate the matter but was not inclined to jail Grossman, although he admonished her that she cannot give reporters evidence that is barred from disclosure.

“You don’t want to be remanded,” the judge told the Hidden Hills woman charged with double murder. Grossman is accused of driving her sport utility vehicle at more than 70 mph into two young brothers, Mark and Jacob Iskander, in a Westlake Village crosswalk.

After the judge spoke, Grossman began to interrupt, saying, “Can I put it on the record?”

But several of her attorneys quickly tried to quiet her, and her husband — Dr. Peter Grossman, who was sitting in the audience — bellowed in a stern voice, “Rebecca.”

During a hearing outside the jury’s presence, Deputy Dist. Atty. Ryan Gould requested that Grossman’s $2-million bail be revoked because she violated a protective order that barred disclosure of evidence under seal, including a video captured of deputies at the scene.

Gould told Brandolino that Grossman had asked for a business card from a reporter for a local TV station, and then that reporter received a video that was not allowed to be used at the trial. He said prosecutors learned of the incident after a broadcast Thursday evening in which the reporter discussed it on air.

“It was a deliberate attempt to influence the jury,” Gould said. The prosecutor said his office had also found a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department body camera video that was covered by the protective order on a Facebook page connected to Rebecca Grossman’s Case Facts website, which was set up in part by her daughter.

Jurors deliberated for a second day Friday on Grossman’s guilt or innocence on two counts of second-degree murder, two counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and one count of hit-and-run driving resulting in death. If convicted of all charges, she faces 34 years to life in prison.

Grossman is accused of driving her white Mercedes SUV at speeds reaching 81 mph in a 45-mph zone on Triunfo Canyon Road before hitting the brothers. Her lawyers say her then-boyfriend, Scott Erickson, whose Mercedes she was following, hit the brothers first.

At the hearing Friday, Gould also alleged that unredacted security video that was under seal from a boathouse on Triunfo Canyon Road had also been made public. That video, Gould said, was in the sole possession of Grossman and her lawyers.

John Hobson, one of Grossman’s lawyers, told the judge it was the first they’d heard of alleged leaks of sealed materials and if a reporter received an email, that did not mean it came from his client.

“I do not believe it’s the attorneys who violated the protective order. It was Ms. Grossman,” Gould said.

The prosecutors’ request was prompted by a segment Thursday evening on Fox 11.

In a story about the first day of jury deliberations, reporter Susan Hirasuna revealed that Grossman had talked to her and asked for her card. Not long after that, she received an email that Hirasuna characterized as providing information that had been kept from the trial that would have helped bolster Grossman’s defense. The message included a video and documents related to a civil case filed by the family of Mark and Jacob Iskander.

The Los Angeles Fox affiliate did not play the video, but a discussion between Hirasuna and anchors revealed that it was of deputies at the collision scene.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Jamie Castro told the judge that the latest action was part of a pattern of behavior and that Grossman had previously complained to reporters about prosecutors.

Last Friday, in Grossman’s first comment on the six-week trial, she told an L.A. Times reporter that prosecutors didn’t care about getting to the bottom of what happened. Through tears, she said the prosecutors “aren’t truth seekers” as they blocked efforts by her attorneys to ask questions about evidence that was barred before trial by the judge.

Judge Brandolino said defendants have a 1st Amendment right to talk to reporters, but they cannot disclose materials under a court protective order.

Source link