One of the greatest miscarriages of justice in at least recent Orange County history involved Michelle Hadley, who was falsely accused of stalking, harassing and nearly arranging the rape of her ex-fiancé’s wife.
It's a case that the Weekly covered beginning with Hadley's arrest, through the allegations of craigslist "rape fantasy" recruitments and concluding with her recent exoneration. If you missed our stories—or are not much of reader—you probably aren't reading this now but I will still let you know that the sordid mess is getting the NBC Dateline treatment TONIGHT.
For more on all the f'd up events that unfolded over many months, click on the related story link in a box somewhere near this text.
Once you have done that—or if you are already up to speed—check out spokesman Sgt. Daron Wyatt's defense of how the Anaheim Police Department handled Hadley and—to hear Orange County prosecutors now tell it—the real villainess here, Angela Diaz.
Wyatt comes off in the piece that local law enforcement was not at fault for keeping Hadley unjustly locked up for several months.
“Our detective didn’t create the situation. Angela Diaz did," Wyatt tells Dateline. "We did what we had to do as the circumstances came about and as the evidence presented itself, up to and including continuing to investigate and exonerate Michelle.”
But Hadley is not tossing out any atta-boys to Anaheim PD, as this exchange with correspondent Dennis Murphy shows:
DENNIS MURPHY: Were the apologies enough? Your county authorities … saying “we got this terribly wrong.”
MICHELLE HADLEY: I appreciate the apologies. But the apologies don’t rebuild your life and the apologies don’t undo what’s been done. I’ll carry this around for the rest of my life and there’s still that question of what’s ahead.
Hadley has filed a claim against the City of Anaheim, which is generally the first step in a lawsuit.
Diaz is now facing two felony counts of kidnapping, two felony counts of false imprisonment by menace, fraud, or deceit, one felony count of perjury, one felony count of grand theft, two felony counts of forgery, two felony counts of possession of a forged check over $950, one misdemeanor count of falsely reporting a crime to a police agency, and 21 misdemeanor counts of falsely reporting a crime to a peace officer.
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A conviction could send her to state prison for 12 years and eight months—plus up to 11 years in county jail.
Dateline NBC's "Diabolical,” which airs tonight at 10, also features interviews with Hadley’s parents Suzanne and Michael, Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, Hadley’s defense attorney Michael Guisti, Diaz’s defense attorney Allison Margolin and Daily Beast reporter Kate Briquelet.