Judge Pushed For Pasquale Plea Deal

The judge overseeing Pasquale Rotella’s criminal trial urged prosecutors to strike a plea deal with the EDM promoter and his codefendants after a raucous July 29 hearing in which defense attorneys presented new evidence of prosecutorial misconduct.

Photo: facebook.com/lacoliseum

“Check your egos at the door and settle this case rather than have me settle it for you,” Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy told defense attorney Gary Jay Kaufman and Assistant Head Deputy DA Sean Hassett, according to a transcript obtained by The Real.

A plea bargain was eventually reached, allowing Pasquale and codefendant Reza Gerami to walk out of court with no jail time. Todd DeStefano, the alleged mastermind of the corruption plot at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum had faced a decade or more in prison, but was given a six-month sentence in county jail.

The transcript shows the defense presented new evidence of six more instances of prosecutorial misconduct a year after Deputy D.A. Dana Aratani was caught reading privileged emails between Rotella and his attorneys.

“I’m terribly sorry,” Hassett told the judge after new allegations of misconduct arose surrounding the DA’s use of attorney-client privileged emails. “We never intended that any of this happened. Obviously it’s embarrassing for all of us, myself especially, since I stood before this court and said ‘We won’t let this happen.’ And it happened.”

While Hassett pleaded with the judge for a third chance, he also tried to block requests by the defense to call Aratani and other DAs involved in the scandal to the stand to testify about the mishandling of evidence.

“You guys are making my head explode,” Judge Kennedy said before overruling Hassett and ordering officials with the Public Integrity Unit to testify in open court about the recent misconduct.

“The D.A.’s Office had a serious problem in dealing with these huge paper cases,” she said. “This problem is not going to go away. It’s only going to get bigger.”

Kennedy scheduled the hearing for Aug. 2. When that day arrived, both the D.A. and defense attorneys appeared in court and asked for more time to prepare. Two days later, Rotella and Gerami were given no-jail plea deals, followed the next day by DeStefano’s light-sentence plea deal.

“You guys are just tripping over your feet and falling on your face on these cases,” Kennedy told the prosecution. “And it’s a shame.”

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