SUPPRESSED BOYARSKI COLUMN

 

[I have mentioned in a previous post that columnist (now City Editor) Bill Boyarsky of the L.A. Times wrote a column on January 12, 1998, in which he described the origin of the "Stalking Sheet" issue. I mentioned that I had sought a copy of this column at the Times' web site, http://www.latimes.com and found hundreds of other Boyarsky columns, but not this one. This must obviously be due to some technical problem in the web site, and in order to be helpful to the Times, I reproduce the missing article below. I know that the Times -- among all people and institutions -- would be the last to say that anyone should be able to escape the responsibility for their previous words, and am sure that they will appreciate my help.]

THE SPIN by BILL BOYARSKY.
The Man With the Bloodied Nose for News

Trouble follows Joe Bosco around like an old hunting dog.
I've never known anyone with troubles quite like those that have afflicted Bosco, an author I met when we were both covering the O.J. Simpson trial. There were the physical afflictions -- a dislocated shoulder suffered in an after-hours bar fight over the Simpson case and the broken neck he suffered when he dove into the shallow end of a swimming during a Fourth of July party. Added to these were Bosco's legal troubles. He couldn't go home to New Orleans because he faced jail for refusal to give up tapes and notes he'd used for a book. In the Simpson case he was hauled before Judge Lance Ito by attorney Robert L. Shapiro and asked to review his source for a story in Penthouse magazine. Bosco wiggled out of that one. Through it all, he conducted himself with the courtliness of a son of the Old South, a slow-talking man who, without warning, can be carried away by his emotions, including his temper. I was fascinated. I became Bosco's Boswell, featuring him among the cast of characters I wrote about during the trial. So, naturally, I was by his side last Monday in the Van Nuys courthouse when a bailiff grabbed his arm and evicted him from a courtroom after a display of the Bosco temper that included shouting at a deputy district attorney.

*****

The case also involved another great courthouse character, lawyer Larry Longo. Longo is a former deputy district attorney who got in trouble with his boss because of his off-hours dealing with Suge Knight of Death Row Records. The relationship became an issue because Longo prosecuted Knight in a case settled by a plea bargain. Longo, now in private practice, had invited me to the Van Nuys courthouse for a hearing in a matter he was working on as a defense attorney. Bosco was involved because he had information he felt would hurt the prosecution's case against Longo's client.
Bosco met in private with the prosecutor -- deputy Dist. Atty. Alan Yochelson, a member of the old Simpson prosecution team -- and, the writer said, passed on the information, friend to friend. Bosco said Yochelson made statements that called into question the prosecution's entire case.
Bosco told me he regarded Yochelson as an old buddy from the Simpson trial. Obviously Yochelson did not reciprocate the feeling. "I did not make the statements attributed to me," he said in court. After court was adjourned, Bosco pointed a finger at Yochelson. "Alan," he said, "You know you said that to me." That's when the bailiff grabbed Bosco's elbow and ejected him. I followed Longo and Bosco to the courthouse cafeteria, where I heard Bosco's side of the story. Bosco angrily asked how Yochelson could, in effect, call him a liar when he, Bosco, was working with the D.A.'s office on "a reinvestigation of certain aspects of the O.J. Simpson case."
That's interesting, I said. Continue. Bosco, after looking around to see if anyone in the cafeteria was eavesdropping, told me that during one of his many journalistic investigations, he interviewed a state prison convict who alleged that in January 1994, he had been hired by a "very close associate of OJ.'s" to follow Nicole Brown Simpson and then to shoot her to death. Bosco told me the convict insisted that the Simpson associate made a $7,000 down payment on the hit with a promise of $7,000 more after the murder was committed. But the hit man supposedly reneged on the deal, robbing the Simpson associate of the second payment. The hit man allegedly took off in a sport utility vehicle stolen from Simpson's post-Nicole girlfriend, Paula Barbieri. Police arrested him and recovered a diary purporting to detail Nicole Simpson's movements, a fact that came up briefly during the Simpson trial. I told Bosco that this imprisoned felon doesn't sound like a very credible witness. Bosco conceded the point but said he had corroborating evidence, which he declined to share with me.
I asked the district attorney's office about it. Spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons replied, "From time to time, Joe Bosco has contacted various people in the district attorney's office claiming to have information on a variety of cases. On those occasions he has been referred to the appropriate investigative agencies."

*****

As Bosco sees it, the D.A.'s office has damaged his credibility and he wants to redeem his honor. Who knows how far the redoubtable Bosco will go with this one? Wherever it is, the chances are that I will be there to report every outrageous minute. Why? My explanation goes to the very heart of the public's endless fascination with the O.J. Simpson case. It's a question of character -- or characters.

Dick Wagner • Van Nuys, CA (8/15/98) BOYARSKY.TXT wagner@westworld.com

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