The OC District Attorney's Office's Legal Deceit

[Moxley Confidential] More evidence proves prosecutor hoodwinked grand jury for indictments in bizarre Newport Beach blackmail case

It's not just that Roper has given contradictory versions of events. He also misled the grand jury when, with Olivieri's prodding, he claimed that Toledano's conduct wasn't recognizable as aboveboard legal work. Roper testified he didn't know of any case in which a civil attorney sought a financial settlement prior to filing a lawsuit. Though the act happens thousands of times each day throughout the nation, he assured the grand jury—most of them elderly, retired folks who've been approved for service by sheriff's deputies—it never happens.

In the 1980s, Jessica Hahn, a church secretary for televangelist Jim Bakker of Praise the Lord (PTL) network infamy, claimed she had been raped and sought a $265,000 out-of-court settlement. (It was a big, national scandal back in the day.) The man who represented Hahn and won the settlement by threatening to file a lawsuit: Roper.

It gets worse.

Now, the defense has discovered that Olivieri possessed but kept secret from the grand jury Roper's handwritten notes he made while meeting Toledano. Surely coincidentally, the notes help destroy her case. Her key witnesses' record nearly matches Toledano's notes, and there's no indication of extortion. In fact, Roper began his notes with "Loss [to Roberts caused by Priscilla Marconi's alleged derogatory gossip] $350,000." Toledano's own notes for the same portion of the meeting read, "Lost income, [cactus] plants for job." [1]

Yet, Olivieri won indictments by asserting all the evidence proved Toledano committed extortion on Roberts' behalf because he never voiced to Roper a legitimate legal cause of action against Priscilla.

"Not allowing the grand jury to see that evidence was materially and profoundly prejudicial and a clear violation of Toledano's constitutional rights to a fair hearing," wrote Toledano attorney David E. Swanson in a brief filed this week in Orange County Superior Court. "That indictment, based on testimony that completely misrepresented the actual facts of the case, should be set aside."

Given that it's unlikely Olivieri will surrender, the decision to do the right thing is now up to Orange County Superior Court Judge David A. Hoffer, a former Assistant United States Attorney. Hoffer's an honorable man. But if he allows the DA's office to proceed, let's hope that an alert jury is smart enough to not send two innocent men to prison after a scheduled April trial.

* [1] This portion was corrected to reverse Roper and Tolendano's notes. Jan. 11, 2013.

[2] Rebecca Olivieri's name has been corrected throughout. Jan. 11, 2013.

[3], [4], [5], [6] Though Olivieri was a lead prosecutor on the McGill case, the DA’s media office says a different deputy DA handled the grand jury sessions, so we’ve modified sentences accordingly. Jan. 15, 2013.

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