By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
Police who've seen the video say that while the girl was groggy but awake at the very beginning of filming, she resisted Haidl's attempts to take off her shirt and flatly told him, "no" before falling unconscious. Soon after, one of the defendants held the girl's arms up while another copulated her from behind. Later, the intensity of the sex almost forced the girl's body off the pool table.
To prove the girl was feigning unconsciousness, the defense has some tough questions to answer: Why didn't the girl recoil when the defendants shoved a Snapple bottle, juice can and lit cigarette into her vagina? Would a play-acting girl urinate on herself during group sex? Why didn't she flinch when they spread her ass cheeks and took turns poking both ends of a pool stick into her anus?
If convicted, the defendants face as little as seven years and as many as 55 years in prison. "Look at them, they wouldn't last a week [incarcerated]," one worried defense source said.
That fear shows most prominently on Don Haidl's face. The assistant sheriff, who made a fortune selling used government cars and has been a major campaign contributor to Rackauckas, was recently huddled in a courtroom hallway with defense attorney Al Stokke, a longtime DA friend. It's an open courthouse secret that Haidl's team has sought a pretrial deal with the DA; in one proposal, the boys would accept nine-month sentences in exchange for guilty pleas. But veteran prosecutors Dan Hess and Brian Gurwitz don't seem receptive to negotiations. And why should they? They've got Haidl's graphic 21-minute video.
But Haidl's defense team has an ace: John Barnett, who technically represents only co-defendant Kyle Nachreiner. If Cavallo and Scalisi are easily imagined as obnoxious bar patrons, Barnett is the consummate gentleman. He's known for succeeding in long-shot cases. Most important, a filmed record of his client's conduct has yet to defeat him. Barnett won acquittals for a police officer involved in the infamous Rodney King beating and, more recently, for the Inglewood cop who punched a handcuffed suspect. It'll be up to Barnett to prove the camera blinked.