Married lawyers Kent Wycliffe Easter and his wife Jillianne Bjorkholm Easter, whose trial for allegedly planting drugs in the car of an Irvine school volunteer is scheduled to begin in October, are suing the Los Angeles Times, the Irvine Police Department, the Orange County District Attorney's office and "John Does 1-100" for defamation. Many anonymous defendants had left negative comments on Amazon.com about the crime novel Jill Easter wrote under the pen name Ava Bjork.
The Orange County Grand Jury last October indicted the Easters, who pleaded not guilty at arraignment, to allegedly planting a bag holding Vicodin, Percocet, marijuana and a smoking pipe in the car of a volunteer at their son's Plaza Vista Elementary School in a failed bid to get the woman prosecuted and imprisoned.
Kelli Peters, who is now suing the Easters in civil court, had previously disciplined the couple's son at school. The incident prompted the Easters to sue Peters, but a judge tossed that case out.
Police and prosecutors spread many false statements that the Times published with a "reckless disregard for the truth," according to the Easters' defamation suit.
Jill Easter's book Holding House is about some buddies who devise what they believe to be the perfect crime. Among the Amazon.com reader reviews mentioned in the lawsuit is one by "SchoolVolunteer," who tweaks the plot quite a bit.
"[T]he story is about a couple of sleazy lawyers/parents that try to frame a enemy by planting drugs on that enemy and then, in a totally unbelievable narrative, manage to make every mistake imaginable and of course get CAUGHT by the police!!! I am sorry but no two people could be so stupid as to think that they would get away with their heinous acts."
"The statements are false because the book does not have a misleading description and has nothing to do with a story about 'planting drugs on an enemy' and the author, Jill Easter is not a sleazy lawyer/parent that made every mistake imaginable," reads the complaint.
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The Easters graduated from law school in 1988, Jill from UC Berkeley's Boalt Hall and Kent from UCLA's law school. Both worked at Wilson Sonsini. Jill has since let her state bar license lapse while Kent was worked at Yocca Carlson & Rauth Attorneys of Newport Beach at the time of his arrest.
The criminal trial against the Easters is currently scheduled to open Oct. 28 in Santa Ana.