2019 News Stories and Case Updates
My News LA - Coroner: Man, 55, Who Died in Ed Buck’s WeHo Home Overdosed on Methamphetamine
A man who died at the West Hollywood home of prominent Democratic donor Ed Buck overdosed on methamphetamine and his death was ruled accidental. Timothy Dean was found dead early Jan. 7 at Buck’s apartment on Laurel Avenue. This was the second death from an accidental methamphetamine overdose at the same apartment in less than 18 months. It has prompted calles for a criminal prosecution of Buck. Sheriff's Deputies from West Hollywood Station responded to a call on the day of his death about a person who was not breathing. Paramedics pronounced Dean dead at the scene. Another person, Gemmel Moore, was found at the same apartment in July 2017. The coroner’s office also ruled his death an accidental methamphetamine overdose.
Dmitry Gorin, a Los Angeles defense attorney and former deputy district attorney, told the Los Angeles Times there is a high bar to prove someone is culpable in a death involving drugs and that typically, there needs to be a witness who saw the accused administer or furnish the substance that caused death. Read Story Here.
Variety - Felicity Huffman’s Bond Set at $250,000 for Alleged College Admissions Bribe
Felicity Huffman appeared in a Los Angeles federal courtroom facing charges of paying a bribe to boost her daughter’s SAT score. The judge set her bond at $250,000. Her husband William H. Macy, who was not indicted, was in the courtroom. “Full House” actress Lori Loughlin was not in courtroom, but her husband Mossimo Giannulli’s bond was set at $1 million. They both posted bond and were released. The next court date is set for March 29 in Boston. Both were prohibited from traveling outside the United States. She answered “yes” when asked if she understood the charges. Federal prosecutor argued that a $250,000 bond was warranted, due to the value of their real estate assets. Federal prosecutors filed charges against 33 parents, some who allegedly paid millions of dollars to get their kids into elite universities.
Criminal defense attorneys say the admissions scandal has few precedents and there haven’t been many cases like this. “In a high-profile case like this, it can be hard to convince prosecutors to treat clients like anyone else,” said Dmitry Gorin, a partner at Eisner Gorin LLP. “Just because someone is a celebrity, doesn’t mean they should get punished more.” Read Story Here.
Los Angeles Times - The National Enquirer pushed the envelope with Bezos, but was it a crime?
Legal experts claim the National Enquirer undoubtedly pushed the envelope when it comes to its dealings with Jeff Bezos, but proving an actual crime of extortion could prove difficult. The Amazon.com chief executive who also owns the Washington Post, took the extra step of publishing emails between lawyers on his security consultant and the Enquirer on the website Medium. Afterwards, he used his twitter to post a link to it. He wrote that the Enquirer’s parent company wanted him to make a false public statement saying that he and the consultant had no knowledge for suggesting that AMI’s coverage was politically motivated or influenced by political forces. He refused, saying that rather than capitulate to extortion and blackmail, he decided to publish exactly what they sent in spite of cost of and embarrassment they threaten.
Is this extortion? Former Los Angeles prosecutor Dmitry Gorin said that, while blackmail seems sexy as a crime, it is one of the hardest kinds of cases to prosecute and, when it comes to extortion and lawyers, the legal landscape gives a lot of protections. "A civil lawsuit, in the end, is probably going to be Mr. Bezos’ best redress against the Enquirer.” Read Story Here.
Los Angeles Times - Nipsey Hussle shooting: O.J. Simpson prosecutor’s new legal drama defending suspect
Attorney Christopher Darden, who helped prosecute O.J. Simpson over two decades ago on murder charges in the "trial of the century" is now invloved in another high-profile celebrity homicide case. He is now the criminal defense lawyer representing the man charged with killing rapper Nipsey Hussle. Eric Holder was charged in Los Angeles County Superior Court with one count of murder, two counts of attempted murder and possession of a firearm by a felon in the shooting death. Police say Holden was involved in a dispute with Hussle at the rapper’s store and returned with a gun and starting shooting. Mr. Hussle was killed and two others injured. Surveillance video of the attack shows a gunman approaching Hussle and two other men in front of the store where he opened fire. Hussle immediately falls to the ground while the other men flee the scene.
Dmitry Gorin, a former Los Angeles County deputy district attorney, who is now a criminal defense lawyer, said “the defense will have a challenge in rebutting both the video and eyewitness testimony showing the suspect returned with a weapon after his dispute with Hussle.” One possible argument is that the shooting resulted from the “heat of passion” or a “provocation,” which might open the door to a reduced charge of manslaughter, and allow Holder to avoid a life sentence. “The video evidence appears devastating to the defense,” explaining that the video of the shooting indicates intention and callousness. ”Arguing for manslaughter to a jury because Holder felt disrespected will be tough.” Read Story Here.