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D.A. Calls Haidl Jury-hiring Unheard Of

Duh. Somebody finally figured out that the hiring of the ex-jurors from the Haidl rape case for a new trial smacks of impropriety at the very least. Payoffs are what we’re calling it.

Porn Valley- The move by defense attorneys in a high-profile gang-rape case to hire members of a jury that deadlocked during the first trial is “outrageous,” Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said this week.

Prosecutors say 19-year-old Greg Haidl, son of Orange County Assistant Sheriff Don Haidl and two others, Kyle Nachreiner and Keith Spann, also 19, raped an unconscious 16-year-old girl and sexually assaulted her with various objects at the assistant sheriff’s Corona del Mar home.

The six-week jury trial ended in a mistrial last month. The district attorney refiled the case the very next day.

Defense attorneys said Sunday they will likely hire 10 jurors at $50 a hour as consultants to help them prepare for the retrial.

Rackauckas said such strategy is unheard of.

“I’ve been handling criminal cases for 30 years,” he said. “I’ve been a judge. But I’ve never seen or heard of a defense team hiring jurors.”

It’s a display of wealth and power by the defense backed up by the assistant sheriff, Rackauckas said.

“It’s like trying to set a different standard for people with money,” he said. “They’re trying to send a message to the new jury that you can get on Haidl’s payroll after the trial.”

Greg Haidl’s former attorney, Joseph Cavallo, who has withdrawn from the retrial, said if jurors sign the contract, prosecutors will have to approach defense attorneys if they want to talk to the jurors.

Rackauckas said that is not true.

“If we want to talk to jurors, we can definitely do so,” he said. “It will be up to the jurors to talk. But I don’t see us trying to go out of the way to talk to them, now that they’ve gone on the defense’s payroll.”

Howard Varinsky, an Emeryville-based trial consultant who has worked on many high-profile cases, said the Haidl defense is making a rare, yet smart move.

“It’s like a focus group with the jurors,” said Varinsky, who advised prosecutors in the Martha Stewart and Scott Peterson cases. “You could learn a tremendous amount of information and conduct in-depth interviews. You could build up an accurate picture of how they reacted to the trial events, from opening statements to key witnesses and the evidence itself. Attorneys could learn how persuasive their arguments really were.”

Why, then, is it not common practice?

“Money,” Varinsky said. “It’s not cheap to do something like that.”

Greg Haidl was arrested on a misdemeanor statutory rape charge on Thursday. Prosecutors say he had sex with a 16-year-old girl he met during a party his father threw in his Spyglass Hill home the night of the mistrial.

Prosecutors are also asking that Haidl’s bail be revoked, saying that he is a flight risk and a danger to society. A hearing has been scheduled for Friday at 2 p.m. at the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana.



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