Screwy Backstage Stuff

I should never have gotten started.

Looking back through my notes of 20 years ago to refresh my memory about the Rosa Lopez days in court, I started reading about some of the screwy things that went on that weren’t book worthy. Here are a couple from February 28, 1995:

“Friday, I got a phone call from Sgt. Smith. Message said media better stop trying to do interviews on 9th floor or their media passes would be pulled. I got back to the courtroom late (good thing, considering everything that happened Friday night!) ABC’s Cynthia McFadden told me that she and several other medias got into an elevator w/prosecutors and sheriff’s deputies only to have a deputy (actually, Sgt. Smith) order them out, saying they couldn’t interview in the elevator. Press folks began to get out but remained crowded at the door, trapping McFadden at the door. She says Smith grabbed her by the arm and pushed her, saying she’d better get out of the doorway. She said she couldn’t because of the people behind her, blocking her. She said Smith’s grip left red imprints on her arm and that he also poked his finger on her several times, continuing to tell her to get out of the way. She said she was frightened because of the elevator door, afraid it would close on her. She said she was so upset she didn’t know what to do, so talked to Linda Deutsch, who advised her to let me and Ito know. My feeling was it wasn’t Ito’s problem and that [Criminal Courts Supervising Judge James] Bascue should be alerted of possible complaints from the media — [Joe] Bosco reportedly went on TV — KTLA — immediately after the incident to tell about it. I told Ito as an informational item only and planned to tell Bascue. I left a phone message for him to call me, but before I heard from him, Smith called. He had gone to see Bascue (earlier in the courtroom, a deputy had asked me the names of McFadden, [Joe] McGinniss and Boscue — no doubt at the direction of Smith who can view courtroom spectators via a security camera). Smith started out saying how disappointed he was that those 3  people (he had their names on a Post-It note) would try to use their positions since they were high up in media circles to tell such a story and get away with it. I asked him to tell me what happened since all I got was his phone message. Turns out no one tried to interview anyone on the 9th floor or in the elevator, but that Smith (my guess) over reacted to a rush and crowding situation. I don’t know if he grabbed or poked McFadden, but I don’t think his hands were as squeaky clean as he tells it.”

“Also on Friday, the first day Rosa Lopez was in court, she testified that she had no place to stay, that she had lost her job because of the case and was planning to leave L.A. for El Salvador. Her and Cochran’s sob story prompted dozens of phone calls to our office — and I’m sure to other court phones, as well as to the defense and probably the D.A. offices — offering jobs, places to stay, including the offer of an unused mobile home and an offer of $1,000. We referred many of the calls to Rosa’s attorney, Carl Jones. I related that to him just before court convened for the late afternoon session. At the end of the last session, [L.A. Times reporter] Andrea Ford stopped me, asking about almost verbatim what I’d told Jones — and what I’d told Ito’s law intern. I asked Ford where she heard that. She said she wasn’t telling. I said, “If you aren’t telling, I’m not telling,” and I walked away. (I was interested in knowing if the intern had told her.)”

And that was just one afternoon of days and weeks and months of screwy stuff happening.

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