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
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After the women who respond to Maryland's online ad for an office manager learn they must first work as "closers" for three months soliciting donations, Maryland reveals his strategy. "Who in SoCal wants to meet famous stars?" he writes. "Isn't the answer obvious? EVERYONE! Halle Berry and Lynda Carter are among the celebs who love us. We have celebs lining up to participate. My closers are contacting previous donors, inviting them to our HAPPY HOUR WITH THE STARS! Events are at popular, local night spots: red carpet, celebrity photo ops, terrific food—are you with me?"
The cost? A donation to Maryland, who currently lists himself as president of Mad Men, Inc.; Hollywood Helpers, Inc.; Prior Military Productions; Golden Goose Films; Don't Hit, Quit; and Fire of God Men's Ministry.
"A paltry $100 for a night of fun, Facebook bragging rights and, most of all, a serious assault on a plague that kills four women in the U.S. every day," the convicted felon wrote. "Enough is enough! If any of this interests you, contact Joanne Busch within 48 hours."
If you can't attend happy hour, Maryland and Busch also designed a "Celebrity Lunch Series," at which, they claim, donors can meet George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Sandra Bullock, Leonardo DiCaprio, Richard Gere, Johnny Depp, Cameron Diaz, Jeff Bridges, Ben Affleck, Julianne Moore, Charlize Theron and Clint Eastwood—"the list goes on and on."
Maryland and Busch say the price of admittance for a "summer pass" is $500, but they are willing to sell tickets for $400. "Hollywood celebrities are proudly pitching in to help stamp out domestic violence!" they wrote. "Space is severely limited. . . . What are you waiting for? Click on the PayPal link right now and have the best summer of your life!"
Maryland's charitable efforts don't end with domestic violence. "Are you tired of political rhetoric?" he published on his Hollywood Helpers, Inc., website. "Are you fed up with Washington? Are you fed up with the economy? Are you tired of struggling? We can help! America! Washington is BROKEN! No one cares! Alone, we are invisible! Together, we're invincible! Help us combat America's core problems: unemployment, domestic hunger, domestic violence . . . Donate now."
Beneath images of the American flag, U.S. soldiers, the U.S. Capitol Building and an Academy Award Oscar statue, he offers his "simple reasoning" to create "10 million" jobs: "If 160 million citizens give just $10 each, that's $1.6 billion! Let's bail ourselves out. . . . We can curb domestic hunger and create millions of new jobs with one program!"
Next to an online PayPal button on his solicitations, Maryland writes, "Give Liberally! God Bless!"
According to Nick Pacilio, a spokesman for California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, the charity organizations created by Maryland and Busch have failed to register and have ignored repeated delinquency notices from state regulators. "They are out of compliance," said Pacilio. "If they continue to ignore their responsibilities, there will be consequences."
An attempt to get Busch—who has been raising donations for Maryland for more than three years—to describe overall receipts and disbursements and to reveal how much has been used by Maryland resulted in swift anger. Though my only communication with her had been two, brief emails, she accused me of illegally harassing her, refused to share any of the charity's "proprietary" financial information and threatened to have a lawyer sue me if I asked any more questions.
Busch then attempted to kill this story by going to Weekly editor Gustavo Arellano. "One of your senior editors, Scott Moxley, has been hounding me for an interview and in no uncertain terms," she wrote in an email. "This charity is about taking a bad situation and doing something good. Here is a man in prison giving back. There are no covert, illegal prison operations taking place of which [Moxley] seems to be suspecting. It's a nurse and a prison inmate trying to change the landscape of domestic violence in America. Here is someone who has turned his life around and wants to stop what happened to him from happening to anyone else. . . . Why does Scott want to stop or defame stopping domestic violence and saving lives?"
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During his 2007 attempted-murder trial, Maryland rejected public-defender service, represented himself and angled to play the victim for the jury in Superior Court Judge John Conley's Santa Ana courtroom. He asked to show a homemade sex video that he said proved Valerie willingly submitted to his whims, demanded that jurors never see any photographs of her injuries and, after losing those battles, asked to change his plea from "not guilty" to "not guilty by reason of insanity." A veteran psychiatrist examined Maryland and concluded unequivocally that while he has average intelligence and grandiose self-perceptions, he knew at the time of the beatings that his actions were illegal.
Because he chose to be his own lawyer, Maryland gave an opening statement that hailed himself as "a good husband" who gave Valerie "everything she wanted." He also took advantage of his opportunity to question—retorture?—his ex-wife on the witness stand, where he kept her for nearly nine hours. He demanded that she tell the jury that sex with him was "incredible."