LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Lawyers representing the six men charged in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum corruption case came out swinging after the 29-count indictment charged their clients with embezzlement, bribery and conspiracy.
The indictment was unsealed Friday.
It alleges that millions of dollars that should have been paid to the Coliseum was diverted instead into companies connected to top Coliseum managers, including former General Manager Patrick Lynch and former Events Manager Todd DeStefano, whose attorney claimed the charges are “pure fantasy, like something out of a Jack Nicholson movie.”
“This isn’t the Mexican drug cartel case, you know. This is a dispute and we’re going to fight back in this case,” said Defense Attorney Michael Nasafir.
Three new defendants were named as well.
Among them, Insomniac Inc. CEO Pasquale Rotella and former technical manager Leopold Caudillo Jr. They join Lynch, DeStefano and rave promoter Reza Gerami — all of whom were arrested on Thursday.
CBS2/KCAL9 Political Reporter Dave Bryan reports that court papers filed by prosecutors drew a picture of rampant open bribery and embezzlement involving the rave promoters and the coliseum managers, charging, “Defendants Gerami and Rotella paid DeStefano in excess of $1.8 Million in order to continue to hold events they promoted at the Coliseum.”
“What we’ve seen so far is what we’ve always felt that this case is being overblown and overcharged. First of all, our client received permission to do what he did from his superior. Secondly, there were no public monies involved in this case whatsoever,” said Defense Attorney Richard Hirsch.
Prosecutors say the Coliseum’s financial loss as a result of the alleged bribery and embezzlement could exceed $2.5 million.
The next hearing in the case is scheduled for Wednesday.