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  1. #226
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    I did view the latest and newest movie on Lifetime the evening it premiered although, in so doing, I did not anticipate providing a critique. My disclaimer is that I do not tolerate CL all that well. It is my own fault that I hold her directly responsible for K. Cobain's suicide shot gun death. I don't like it when people get away with murder. With that in mind as my bias, a nudge was required to watch it but compassion for the boys, and they were boys when I met them, encouraged me.

    The character who played Jose, Bonito Martinez, was fantastic! Cruel, cold and conniving just as we know he was in real life. He made the show worth watching. The plot fastened to the mistreatment by their abusive parents clearly demonstrating the crazy making behavior of the brothers.

    It is sad to know the best years of a person's life are those years not meant to be experienced behind bars. No traditional marriages. No children. No grandchildren. I have a theory. The Jose Menendez seed needed to be stopped from spreading.

    Chess is a slow game. Can you imagine playing it via snail mail?
    Last edited by DeDee; 07-13-2017 at 01:31 AM.

  2. #227
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Quote Originally Posted by DeDee View Post
    I did view the latest and newest movie on Lifetime the evening it premiered although, in so doing, I did not anticipate providing a critique. My disclaimer is that I do not tolerate CL all that well. It is my own fault that I hold her directly responsible for K. Cobain's suicide shot gun death. I don't like it when people get away with murder. With that in mind as my bias, a nudge was required to watch it but compassion for the boys, and they were boys when I met them, encouraged me.

    The character who played Jose, Bonito Martinez, was fantastic! Cruel, cold and conniving just as we know he was in real life. He made the show worth watching. The plot fastened to the mistreatment by their abusive parents clearly demonstrating the crazy making behavior of the brothers.

    It is sad to know the best years of a person's life are those years not meant to be experienced behind bars. No traditional marriages. No children. No grandchildren. I have a theory. The Jose Menendez seed needed to be stopped from spreading.

    Chess is a slow game. Can you imagine playing it via snail mail?
    I'm not crazy about Courtney Love either, but she did an okay acting job. The actor who played Jose was very believable (I have to say that Edward James Olmos was terrifying as Jose in "Menendez: A Killing In Beverly Hills" in 1994) and yes, it does show how a person's upbringing can have a huge impact on how it shapes their behavior and psyche.

    Yes, it would be very slow playing chess via mail, but of course, that's the only way they can communicate with each other.

  3. #228
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    Dec 2007
    Quote Originally Posted by Noirdame79 View Post
    I'm not crazy about Courtney Love either, but she did an okay acting job. The actor who played Jose was very believable (I have to say that Edward James Olmos was terrifying as Jose in "Menendez: A Killing In Beverly Hills" in 1994) and yes, it does show how a person's upbringing can have a huge impact on how it shapes their behavior and psyche.

    Yes, it would be very slow playing chess via mail, but of course, that's the only way they can communicate with each other.
    I'm watching it now, Benito Martinez is excellent in the role of Jose. Cold and cruel, if he was really that way in real life, and if events were as depicted, how horrific. I shudder to think of those boys growing up with him as a father. And, if so, it's not hard to understand how they did what they did. Not to mention their pathetic excuse for a mother. It's really heartbreaking. And a little difficult to watch especially knowing the horror they went through their entire lives, then ending up spending the rest in prison. It doesn't seem right. Whatever happened to justice?

    As difficult as it is to watch, at least having recorded it on DVD I can fast forward through the 5 minute long Marie Osmond Nutrisystem commercials. Gawd, I'm sick of that... person.

  4. #229
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    Dec 2013
    One of the trailers for the Law & Order series focusing on the Menendez brothers. From what I have read, it will be from the point of view of the defense, an interesting and refreshing change in my opinion. Dick Wolf, the series' creator, has stated that he doesn't believe that Lyle and Erik Menendez should have been convicted of first-degree murder.

  5. #230
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    Dec 2013
    Another trailer:

  6. #231
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Dick Wolf Says Menendez Brothers Should Have Gotten Lighter Sentences

    Joe Otterson

    Dick Wolf, executive producer of the upcoming NBC series “Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders,” says the real-life brothers at the center of the series should not have been convicted of first degree murder for the deaths of their parents.

    “We’ve made some great shows ripped from the headlines. This is on a different level,” Wolf said Thursday at the TCAC summer press tour. “It’s also the only time we’ve had sort of a collective agenda, which is—this is one of the crimes of the century. It’s absolutely horrible, but when you see the information, I think people are going to realize, ‘Well, yeah they did it, but it wasn’t first degree murder with no possibility of parole.’ They probably should have been out eight or ten years ago because they probably should have been convicted of first degree manslaughter.”

    Series showrunner Rene Balcer echoed Wolf’s sentiments, saying that the series will explore in detail previously unknown aspects of the case.

    “The other part of the story that is probably not well known is the degree of implicit political collusion between the judge and the district attorney’s office in the second trial to ensure a conviction,” Balcer said. He went on to say that the DA’s office at the time was reeling from high-profile losses in the OJ Simpson and Rodney King trials and therefore desperately needed a win with the Menendez murders.

    The first installment of the new true crime anthology series will consist of eight hourlong episodes focusing on the case of Lyle and Erik Menendez, brothers who were convicted of murdering their parents and sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole in 1996. The brothers, who were 21 and 18 years old, respectively, at the time of the murders, were tried separately but eventually convicted in a third trial after no verdicts were rendered in the first two trials because of hung juries.

    Wolf will executive produce through his Wolf Entertainment banner in association with Universal Television. Lesli Linka Glatter will executive produce and direct. Peter Jankowski and Arthur W. Forney will also executive produce along with Balcer. As Variety exclusively reported, Edie Falco will star as attorney Leslie Abramson.


  7. #232
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders Aims to Change Your Attitude Towards the Infamous Killers

    NBC's upcoming anthology series Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders isn't pretending to be an objective view of the infamous murder case. Rather, creator Dick Wolf hopes to use this platform to help reverse the tendency to demonize the two killers, Lyle and Erik Menendez (played by Miles Gaston Vilanueva and Gus Halper in the series), as simply greedy, privileged kids who killed their parents for money.
    "I don't care what attitude you go in with, your mind is going to receive information that I think will change a lot of peoples' attitudes," Wolf told reporters at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour Thursday. "This is one of the crimes of the century. It's absolutely horrible, but when you see the information, I think people are going to realize, well, they did it, but it wasn't first-degree murder with no possibility of parole. They probably should have been out eight or 10 years ago because they should have been convicted of first-degree manslaughter, which is a different punishment than first-degree murder. So yes, this is a show that has an agenda too."

    After Lyle and Erik Menendez murdered their parents, Jose and Kitty, in 1989, the case immediately began dominating the news cycle -- a trend that lasted until both brothers were convicted in 1996. But while many headlines claimed Lyle and Erik committed the brutal crime out of greed, the brothers alleged that they had shot their parents in order to end the years of abuse they suffered."The defense argued that the boys had an unreasonable, but sincere belief that their lives were in eminent danger from their parents because the secret was about to come out that the father had been molesting them," showrunner Rene Balcer said. "And so under that theory of imperfect self-defense, anything from a second-degree conviction to first degree manslaughter is allowed. But this was 25 years ago. What we understood of molestation, especially of boys, is primitive compared to what we understand now... that's still an area of psychology that we don't quite understand fully. But certainly, as we said before, if instead of Erik it had been Erica Menendez who killed his parents to stop the abuse, he wouldn't be in jail."
    The series will also explore how privilege and political collusion between the judge and the district attorney's office in the second trial directly may have lead to the brothers' conviction. "The D.A.'s office had lost the McMartin case, which also had the same judge as the Mendendez case. They had lost the Rodney King case with the four cops. Again, the same judge on that case was the same on the Menendez case. And [Los Angeles district attorney Gil] Garcetti had lost the O.J. case," Balcer explained. "And so the D.A.'s office had a pretty huge chip on their shoulder and was definitely looking for a conviction by any means."

    Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders premieres Tuesday, Sept. 26 at 10/9c on NBC.


  8. #233
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    Dec 2013
    What To Expect From 'The Menendez Murders,' Your Next True-Crime TV Fix

    Longtime "Law & Order" producer René Balcer explains why the Menendez Brothers' case is just as captivating as the O.J. trial.

    When “ripped from the headlines” isn’t enough, “Law & Order True Crime” is born.

    The newest addition to creator Dick Wolf’s decades-old franchise will air on NBC this fall, the latest in a spate of TV specials aimed at revisiting famous criminal cases from America’s past. There was “The People v. O.J. Simpson,” there was “Casting JonBenet,” and now there’s “The Menendez Murders,” a miniseries that revolves around Lyle and Erik Menendez, the brothers convicted of killing their parents in a televised trial that dominated headlines in the mid-1990s.

    “Law & Order” has always offered fans of its past and present series (“Special Victims Unit,” “Criminal Intent,” “Trial by Jury, “LA”) a dose of police procedurals and legal drama inspired by real-life events. In fact, in 1991, the original “Law & Order” aired an episode called “Serpent’s Tooth,” in which two brothers were suspected of killing their businessman father and mother. This was just under two years after Lyle and Erik made their infamous phone call: “Someone killed my parents!” Lyle screamed at a 911 operator on Aug. 20, 1989.

    Longtime “Law & Order” producer René Balcer helped bring “Serpent’s Tooth” to life. This was before the yearslong Menendez Brothers case reached its media fever pitch ― before the foibles of a misconducted investigation into the assassination of a Hollywood executive and his wife came to light, and before the spectacle of their trial hit TV screens.

    In “Serpent’s Tooth,” Russian mobsters were behind the deaths; the two sons were wrongly suspected. In reality, self-made millionaires José and Kitty Menendez were indeed brutally murdered by their well-to-do young sons (then 21 and 18, respectively, and now serving a life sentence without parole), who’d allegedly endured heinous abuse at the hands of their father. Their case was drawn out and misconstrued, involving high-profile lawyers, judges and bombastic witnesses. It’s a story so wild, and yet so true (you can read a thrilling rundown of the events on Rolling Stone), that Balcer decided to resurrect the tale when Wolf greenlit his “True Crime” spinoff last year.

    Ahead of the show’s premiere on Sept. 26, we spoke to showrunner Balcer, who’ll be attending PaleyFest in Los Angeles in support of the new show next month:

    What drew “Law & Order True Crime” to the Menendez Brothers case?

    Well, back in the original recipe of “Law & Order,” the first episode I ever wrote was about the Menendez Brothers back in 1990. They had been arrested then, but we didn’t know ― it was still very early in the case ― about the abuse. We knew about the psychological abuse, but not so much about the sexual abuse, when I wrote the script. Our take on [the adapted plot] was that the Russian mob killed José and Kitty Menendez, or whatever their names were in the episode. We took that tact and it made for a pretty interesting episode. But at that time we weren’t pretending to be true crime. We were just inspired by headlines.

    For me, [“Law & Order True Crime”] was a chance to revisit that story. What drew us to it was, in the 1990s, there were two famous trials: one was O.J. [Simpson] and the other was the Menendez Brothers. They hit people in different ways. With the Menendez case [...] for parents, it was like, we do everything for our kids, and this is the thanks we get? Is this why we pursue the American dream, so our kids can kill us? It was a very rich story, and that’s what drew Dick [Wolf] and I toward it.

    You mentioned the complicated abuse allegations that surfaced during the trial. [The Menendez’ defense team claimed that José Menendez had both physically abused and molested his two sons, and that Kitty Menendez was aware of the abuse.] How did these allegations affect how the case was perceived at the time?

    At that time, people sort of understood sexual abuse of children or girls, but the sexual abuse of boys, especially by their fathers, was not understood. We were still in a macho society as far as men were concerned, as far as the state of their emotional and psychological development at that point in history. So there was a lot of resistance to the idea that boys, especially teenage boys, could be molested by their father ― that they would submit. Why wouldn’t they just fight back and run away? There was not a great understanding of the mentality of abuse victims at that time. Now, hopefully, there is a better understanding.

    What other factors complicated the case and the way it was presented in the media?

    Another force that was at play was that in Los Angeles, the DA and Superior Court justices are elected. They run either every four years or every six years, so they are very attuned to the political whims of the electorate. Here you had a judge who had presided over a hung jury in the McMartin [preschool] case, and an acquittal in the Rodney King case, which led to the riots, and who, in the first Menendez trial, had presided over another hung jury. He was kind of held to task, especially for the Rodney King case. [...]

    And the DA’s office under [Ira] Reiner, they had lost the McMartin case, they had lost the Rodney King case, and under [Gil] Garcetti, they had just lost the O.J. case. They had a big chip on their shoulder. On appeal, after the conviction of the boys, one of the appellate judges speculated that there might’ve been collusion between the DA’s office and the judge. That was never proven, but you have two political figures looking for reelection and trying to please the voters and give them what they wanted. So there was certainly a meeting of the minds. That’s a part of the case that’s not always well known.

    “Law & Order” typically tells a story from the point of view of the police and prosecution. Will the show dive into some of the nuances of this speculated misconduct?

    Well, in the original “Law & Order” recipe there was always an awareness of the abuse of prosecutorial powers. Even Jack McCoy got [punished] for overreaching. In “Law & Order” we also dealt with the issue of police malfeasance; maybe not necessarily planting evidence, but shading the truth, etc., etc. That is not foreign territory for us.

    When I was retreading the aspects of the actual Menendez Brothers trial, I was struck by more than a few stranger-than-fiction aspects of the case. For example, before the murders, Erik allegedly co-wrote a screenplay about a son who kills his wealthy parents.

    Well, the screenplay, when you actually read it, it’s like a gothic horror thing. It’s not what it was cracked up to be. It’s more in the Vincent Price kind of vein. It’s about a kid who you find out at the end of the script that, yes, he had his parents killed, but his whole thing is that he was into games of turning his friends into prey and all this kind of stuff. It was really kind of gothic horror, and in no way, shape or form a blueprint. He co-wrote it with someone else, so if it expressed anything, it was just a teenager’s fantasy about getting rid of authority figures and being a master of his own destiny. What was telling in the script was some eulogy that was given by the hero about his dead father, and some of that came straight out of Erik’s feelings toward his father, that alternately he was a great man, but also a monster.

    Were there other stranger-than-fiction aspects of the case that caught your attention?

    I think Erik’s psychologist, Dr. Jerry Oziel, and his mistress, played by Josh Charles and Heather Graham ― they are kind of the French farce aspect that impacted the resolution of the case. Basically, the Beverly Hills police had been spinning their wheels for seven months getting no real leads, no evidence, until the psychologist’s mistress spilled the beans to them, because she got in a spat with her lover. She went to the police and said, “Well, Erik confessed to Dr. Oziel.” And that was their big break. Even then ― even being given some pretty good information by this woman ― they were still unable to come up with any real evidence. They were unable to find the murder weapon, the clothes that were used, they found zero forensic evidence linking the boys to the crime. It was really because of this relationship between the psychologist and this woman that the case got broken. That’s a little bizarre!

    Tell me a little bit about Edie Falco’s character. Was she your first pick to play the defense attorney, Leslie Abramson?

    I think so. We may have made a wish list of the top five people, but she was at the top of the list, because she fits Leslie Abramson like a hand in glove. Leslie Abramson came from Queens, she kind of grew up on the streets, she’s got a quick mouth, she’s very feisty. Edie has those genetic traits, too. She’s obviously not as abrasive, but she can channel this character pretty easily, in terms of the Queens roots and the New York style of interpersonal relationships ― especially with judges and other lawyers. I had worked with Edie before; she did a number of episodes for us. She was just a natural for this.

    Edie Falco has already discussed in interviews how unpopular her character was for defending the brothers. Does the show explore how issues of sexism or media narratives affected the way she was perceived at the time?

    Absolutely. The team that represented the Menendez Brothers was Leslie Abramson, Jill Lansing, Marcia Morrissey ― there was the dream team for O.J., this was the female version of the dream team. Very competent counsel. And with Leslie Abramson, people say she was unpopular, but among the community of defense attorneys, she was very well respected. Feared might be overstating it, but prosecutors were intimidated by her. She was a fierce defender of her client’s constitutional rights and, of course, prosecutors never like that. To the press, she gave a lot of access, but when they overstepped, she gave back as good as she got. Those who have a negative view of her may change after watching this show, because she really defines what a defense attorney is. If I were ever accused of anything, I’d want her on my side.

    “Law & Order” is already famous for its “ripped from the headlines” episode plots, but Dick Wolf told the Television Critics Association that “Law & Order True Crime” “is on a different level.” What sets “True Crime” apart from the rest of the franchise, beyond the clear departure from norms ― this being an anthology series?

    First of all, the point of view is completely different. Also, it’s kind of a drama procedural ― there’s a procedural aspect, obviously ― but there are also other aspects that are pure character. It expands the definition of what a procedural might be. We go home with characters. The show is really about different kinds of families ― dysfunctional families ― and ultimately, what is being a parent all about? We have two very dysfunctional parents who were killed by their sons. The parallel story for Leslie Abramson is that at the time of the trial, she and her husband were in the process of adopting a child, and doing so with great trepidation, not only because of their age ― they were in their late 40s ― but because of certainly Leslie’s own upbringing. She was wondering if she would be a good mother. She was dealing with her own issues related to parenthood. So that helps drive her story. The story of the brothers: It’s really a relationship borne of trauma and very challenging circumstances, and how those two brothers stay together. And then you have this French farce aspect between the psychologist and his mistress. So it’s a very different kind of stew.

    Did writers or producers explore other true crime stories before landing on this one?

    This was the first one, because we knew the story and it just seemed a natural for any number of reasons to start off with.

    Dick Wolf has already mentioned that he’d like to continue making “Law & Order True Crime,” citing a few of his favorite real-life criminals [including Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, “Son of Sam” killer David Berkowitz and “Night Stalker” serial killer Richard Ramirez]. Are there any historic crimes you’d personally like to readdress if the series continues?

    Well, just before we went on for the [Television Critics Association], I pitched Dick the Timothy McVeigh story and his eyes obviously lit up. There are many different cases ― Dick mentioned a few ― and all that will parsed out between Dick and the network.

    As someone who’s been in the business of bringing crime stories to entertainment for more than a few years, what do you make of pop culture’s current obsession with true crime and revisiting trials past ― like O.J. Simpson and JonBenet Ramsey?

    There’s always been a sub genre of drama and true crime that, without giving it the full bells-and-whistles treatment, was always partly documentary, partly reenactment. The public has always been fascinated by crime. One of the most famous stories in the world ― the very first crime story ― was Cain and Abel, a murder mystery. So people have always been interested in this. It’s a lens through which we can look at society, at our bad selves and our good selves. What’s different in the last couple years is we are now giving it pretty A-list treatment. MOWs [made-for-TV movies] and miniseries in the past did this ― the Jeffrey MacDonald story and any number of them through the ’70s and ’80s. Everything’s cyclical, right?

    PaleyFest Fall TV Previews will take place Sept. 6-16 in Los Angeles. The “Law & Order True Crime” panel is scheduled for Sept. 11. The show will premiere on NBC on Sept. 26 at 10 p.m. ET.


  9. #234
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    Dec 2013
    Law & Order True Crime' Aims to Show New Side to Famed Menendez Case

    Next to the O.J. Simpson "trial of the century," the Menendez case was arguably one of the highest-profile crimes of the '90s.

    Like Simpson, the Menendez brothers quickly became media mainstays following their parents' brutal deaths, with their pictures splashed across countless newspapers and magazines in addition to their continued presence on the then-young cable network Court TV.

    Despite the wall-to-wall media coverage, the team behind NBC's forthcoming Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders contends there's another side to the Menendez brothers that the public never saw — one that the first season of the anthology drama hopes to bring to light.

    "I thought I knew the story of the Menendez brothers," star Edie Falco, who plays the Menendez brothers' equally famous defense attorney, Leslie Abramson, says in The Hollywood Reporter's exclusive video. "The further into it I looked, I realized there was so much I didn't know."

    In addition to showing some of the first glimpses at the eight-episode drama's sprawling cast, including The Good Wife's Josh Charles, Parenthood's Sam Jaeger and Switched at Birth's Constance Marie, the extended promo shows the flashbacks to the Menendez brothers' "disaster" of a home life with their allegedly abusive father.

    "You watch the news, you're fed certain facts and you realize there's a great deal that was going on that the public didn't know about, and we're trying to shed some light on those things," Falco says. "There will be plenty of those twists and turns that knock the whole storytelling piece of it on its butt."

    Executive producer Dick Wolf has made his personal feelings about the case known, including his belief that the brothers were sentenced too harshly. "When you see the information, I think people are going to realize, 'Yeah, they did it,' but it wasn't first-degree murder without possibility of parole," he told reporters at the TCA summer press tour.


  10. #235
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Why I Stayed Stories Reveal Why Domestic Violence Survivors Can't 'Just Leave'

    "But why would you stay if someone was abusing you?"

    That's a distressingly common response to revelations of domestic violence. After a video was released yesterday showing former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice assaulting his then-fiancée (now wife), Janay Palmer, and dragging her unconscious body from a hotel elevator, media pundits and online speculators have questioned why Palmer -- or any victim -- would remain with someone who abused them. The subtext: someone who stays isn't really being abused. Or equally troubling, such reactions imply that a woman can ensure her safety by simply leaving a violent partner.

    An estimated one in four women and one in seven men will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes -- and most instances of intimate partner violence are never reported. On average, a victim leaves their abuser seven times before staying away for good.

    So, when author Beverly Gooden saw people questioning the experiences of Janay Palmer and other survivors of domestic abuse, she stepped in to explain why "just leaving" isn't that easy.

    "When I saw those tweets, my first reaction was shame," Gooden told Mic. "The same shame that I felt back when I was in a violent marriage. It's a sort of guilt that would make me crawl into a shell and remain silent. But today, for a reason I can't explain, I'd had enough. I knew I had an answer to everyone's question of why victims of violence stay. I can't speak for Janay Rice, I can only speak for me."

    The author started sharing her own experiences in an abusive relationship through tweets, using the hashtag #WhyIStayed.


  11. #236
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    Dec 2013
    After reading this, I don't see how anyone can sing the praises of the late Dominick Dunne (at least on a professional basis) or believe that he was an "expert" on this case:


    - NY Post - May 14, 2004 - Vanity Fair Editor-in-Chief Graydon Carter has a new headache.

    Dominick Dunne, one of his most famed writers in the Vanity Fair stable, is being accused by a woman of paying her to lie for some of his stories.
    Dunne says she’s trying to shake him down for money. And the woman admits she has had trouble with the law in the past: in particular, she was convicted of forging checks.
    But Dunne also acknowledges he interviewed the woman, Martha (Marti) Shelton, and did give her money – four checks, amounting to about $1,600 over the years.
    “I did indeed send her money from time to time,” he said in a statement.
    “It was always after a request from her. I seem to remember that one time she had just gotten fired from a job and she was going to be evicted. There was always a hard luck story. I can’t remember the specifics. Once her furniture was put on the street, I think.”
    Shelton says she received at least $6,100 over a nine-year period as part of her “deal” with Dunne.
    “I’m a soft touch for a hard luck story,” Dunne explained. “I always have been.”
    He said it was never as payment for being a source, though she did make an appearance in two stories.
    Whatever Dunne’s motivation, it’s unusual for mainstream journalists to give money to sources, and now Dunne’s regretting it.
    He has the support of his boss. Through a spokeswoman, Carter said he’s OK with what Dunne did, since the money came out of the writer’s own pocket.
    “It was a personal relationship with this woman,” a Carter spokeswoman said. “He felt sorry for her. It has nothing to do with the magazine. Conde Nast never sent her a check.”
    Shelton, 40, who lives in Stafford, Va, says Dunne first paid her to lie for a piece he wrote about Erik and Lyle Menendez in April 1994, then paid her to keep quiet over 10 years.
    Later, she alleges, he offered to pay her to help cook up a story about the sex life of former Rep. Gary Condit.
    She is quoted in Dunne’s April 1994 piece saying she overheard Lyle Menendez tell someone, after his first trial ended in a mistrial, “We’ve snowed half the country. Now we have to snow the other half.”
    “That was a lie,” Shelton now says. According to stories in the Los Angeles Times and Washington Post in mid-May 1994, authorities searched her home to find evidence to support her quoted statement, but came up empty.
    Shelton now says she never overheard Menendez say that, but she was coached by Dunne.
    Shelton says she told Vanity Fair fact checkers at the time the quote was made up, but they were only interested in getting her tape-recorded statement owning up to the quote – which she provided.
    Shelton admits she lied in the past. “What I did was wrong,” she said, referring to the quote she gave to Vanity Fair.
    “But what he did was wrong as well. He backed out of a deal.”
    The deal, she alleges, was to give her $100,000 in return for her statements and help – an amount that Dunne and Vanity Fair call absurd.
    Shelton claims to have kept copies of Dunne’s checks, but declined a request to provide copies.
    She said she eventually hopes to sell those checks to a supermarket tabloid for $5,000. Dunne admits he sent Shelton four checks over the years, two for $300 apiece and two for $500 apiece.
    Shelton said Dunne also wanted her to lie by linking former Congressman Gary Condit to the Washington, D.C. S&M sex scene.
    Shelton admits she participates in such activities herself on a recreational basis, but added that she never saw Condit doing so.
    “I can’t lie about someone I never met,” she says.
    A Vanity Fair spokesman says it was Shelton who cooked up that story about Condit and presented it to Dunne, who immediately turned over the information to his lawyers without responding to her e-mail.
    Shelton admits she has money woes and could be facing eviction from a home that she shares in Stafford, Va., with her two children, a disabled sister – who is also a minister with Women Aglow, a fundamentalist Christian organization – and the sister’s husband, who she said is battling cancer.
    It was while in prison for the check-writing fraud in the early 1990s that she first wrote to Lyle Menendez, and they continued a friendship when she got out, she said.
    In the second trial, Erik and Lyle Menendez were convicted of murdering their parents.
    Dunne is being sued for $11 million in a libel suit filed by former Congressman Condit for comments Dunne made on three national TV talk shows and on the “dinner circuit” in which he alleged that the former congressman was involved in a plot to kill former congressional intern Chandra Levy.
    Levy’s body was discovered in May 2002 in a Washington area park, but nobody has been arrested for the murder.
    Condit’s lawyers are aware of Shelton’s allegations and what they believe are a stream of e-mails between her and Dunne discussing a plan to link Condit to the underground sex scene in Washington, D.C.
    “I have no idea at this point if the allegations are true,” said Condit attorney Lin Wood.
    “However the copies of the e-mails we have received certainly appear to be authentic – enough so that we plan to investigate and see if they are true or false.
    “We’ll also be able to find out what checks if any, he has written to her,” Wood added.
    “We’ll make an effort to inspect the computers [Dunne] uses to find out if it is a fabricated story or true…We’re going to investigate this matter thoroughly.” Dunne’s attorney, Laura Handman, counters, “When Ms. Shelton left messages demanding money and making threats, Dominick did not respond because he has nothing to hide and did nothing wrong. We look forward to getting to the bottom of this.”

    Last edited by Noirdame79; 10-01-2017 at 07:09 PM.

  12. #237
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    Dec 2013
    Journalism Or Gossip?; A Horse-Whisperer's Tale Trails Dominick Dunne

    Dominick Dunne began telling his tale of Gary Condit, Chandra Levy, the horse whisperer and the Middle Eastern procurer sometime in the fall of 2001. It was tantalizingly baroque; Mr. Dunne, the Vanity Fair columnist, mesmerized a group of New England newspaper editors with it over lunch at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut in November 2001.

    He also spun the story for Laura Ingraham, the lawyer, conservative commentator and syndicated radio host, over lunch. Ms. Ingraham promptly invited Mr. Dunne to repeat it on her show, which he did.

    As chronicler of the crimes of the rich, Mr. Dunne has become a celebrity himself. At 77 he is a prolific author, producing both keenly observed court reporting and best-selling novels. His knack for getting face time with the famous and his passionate advocacy for crime victims have made him a staple on shows like CNN's ''Larry King Live.'' He is the host of his own program on Court TV.

    It is the Ingraham appearance, however, that has come back to bite him. His comments on that December 2001 broadcast are the central element in a slander suit against him by Mr. Condit, the former Democratic congressman. And Mr. Dunne's frequent repetition of versions of this unsubstantiated tale -- on television, in Vanity Fair, at dinner parties -- raises the question of whether and when journalists can traffic publicly in rank rumor.

    Reached at his country home in Connecticut for comment on the lawsuit and on a recent Atlantic Monthly attack on him for his role in pushing for the prosecution of Michael Skakel, convicted last year of the 1975 murder of Martha Moxley, Mr. Dunne said, ''How did you get my number?'' He added: ''I just am not going to talk. This is a very bad time in my life.'' Ms. Ingraham did not return repeated calls to her radio show's office.

    Understanding the fuss requires knowing the horse-whisperer story in all its rococo glory, as told by Mr. Dunne to the radio audience. The story begins in the fall of 2001, when Mr. Dunne received a call from someone claiming to have information about Ms. Levy's disappearance. At the time the body of Ms. Levy, the former Federal Bureau of Prisons intern, had not yet been found; it was discovered last May in Rock Creek Park in Washington. The case remains unsolved.

    The caller, Mr. Dunne said, identified himself as the animal behavior expert whose professional story had been recreated in the Nicholas Evans novel ''The Horse Whisperer.'' The man, never named by Mr. Dunne, said that he worked in Dubai, where he met a man who procures call girls for wealthy Middle Easterners and Middle Eastern embassies in Washington.

    A recording of the radio show reveals that Mr. Dunne then said: ''Now some of this I can't explain, and I don't want to get into any trouble saying. But according to what the procurer told the horse whisperer who told me, is that Gary Condit was often a guest at some of the Middle Eastern embassies in Washington -- where all these ladies were.

    ''And that he had let it be known that he was in a relationship with a woman that was over. But she was a clinger. He couldn't get rid of her. And he had made promises to her that he couldn't keep. And apparently she knew things about him and had threatened to go public. And at one point he said, 'This woman is driving me crazy,' or words to that effect.

    ''And I wrote all this down at the time, and what the horse whisperer said that the procurer said is, by saying that, he created the environment that led to her disappearance. And she shortly thereafter vanished.'' Reminding his audience that ''I can't vouch for any of this,'' Mr. Dunne added that he was told that a semi-conscious Ms. Levy had been hustled aboard a private plane. The procurer, Mr. Dunne said, speculated that ''she was dropped at sea.''

    In February 2002 Mr. Dunne repeated an abbreviated version, without the remarks attributed to Mr. Condit, on ''Larry King Live.'' These remarks are also cited in the lawsuit, in which Mr. Dunne is the sole defendant.

    Legally, Mr. Condit's suit seems a long shot. For a public figure to win a defamation judgment, he must show that the remarks about him were deliberately false or made with extreme recklessness.

    L. Lin Wood, the Atlanta lawyer who represents Mr. Condit, has an affinity for crime-scene celebrities that rivals Mr. Dunne's own. He also represents Richard Jewell, wrongly suspected of the fatal 1996 Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta, and the family members of JonBenet Ramsey, the young murder victim of Boulder, Colo. In the Dunne lawsuit, he argues that Mr. Dunne knew the story was ''nothing more than unverified and unsubstantiated rumor and gossip.''

    Leon Friedman, a constitutional law professor at Hofstra University, said that two legal principles were relevant in this case. One, seeming to favor Mr. Condit, holds that ''if you pass on a rumor, even if it's three, four or five times removed, you can be held liable,'' he said. The other, seeming to favor Mr. Dunne, holds that ''if you disclose all the information that you have,'' under a 1997 federal appeals court ruling in a New York defamation case, ''it becomes a matter of opinion, because you've allowed the reader to make up their own mind about the validity of the charges.'' Mr. Condit filed his suit in federal court in the southern district of New York.

    Laura R. Handman, Mr. Dunne's lawyer and a First Amendment specialist with the firm of Davis Wright Tremaine, said in a prepared statement, ''Notably, Mr. Condit is not taking issue with anything Mr. Dunne wrote in his column for Vanity Fair, but only for comments on talk shows and at private dinner parties.'' In such contexts, she said, ''this kind of speculation is not actionable.'' Mr. Wood, who said this was the first defamation suit filed by the former Congressman but may not be the last, expects the case to be ''a close call.'' He added: ''Does our legal system sanction a society that basically approves of rumor-mongering on national television and national radio stations? Can you simply go on the air and make any accusation you choose?'' Journalists do not operate by written rules, but disseminating rumors is not a generally accepted practice in mainstream media.

    Graydon Carter, the editor of Vanity Fair, which publishes Mr. Dunne's voluminous trial coverage, high-end gossip and social commentary, issued a statement in response to a query about the Atlantic Monthly article and the defamation suit. In it he praised Mr. Dunne as ''a unique journalist with unique talents and extraordinary access to a wide range of sources.'' Mr. Carter said that Mr. Dunne ''operates with a moral compass that is born out of a personal tragedy,'' a reference to the 1982 murder of his daughter, the actress Dominique Dunne.

    Mr. Dunne, who moves fluidly among his various roles as journalist, tipster to law-enforcement investigators, novelist and raconteur, has made many friends. Few want to criticize him. Jeffrey Toobin, the New Yorker writer who covered the O. J. Simpson trial with him, said: ''I wouldn't want to see every reporter in America operate by Dominick's rules. But I wouldn't want an American journalism without Dominick.''

    Jane E. Kirtley, Silha professor of media ethics and law at the University of Minnesota, was less accommodating. ''I'm flabbergasted,'' she said. ''This is not journalism. This is repeating data that came your way -- preliminary data. How do we know how the guy who's talking here is who he purports to be?''

    But do talk shows pretend to produce journalism? Some journalists see rumors as an inextricable part of the argument that fills talk radio and television. Such shows, they argue, need more flexibility than print journalism and their audiences bear some responsibility for distinguishing fact from speculation.

    Chris Matthews, the host of a show on MSNBC, said of the horse-whisperer tale, ''That's a hell of a lot of assumption piled on assumption.'' A host, he said, must show skepticism of thinly sourced information. But considering Mr. Dunne's overall work, ''I would still have Nick on,'' he said. ''I just like Dunne.''

    Michael Kinsley, the former editor of Slate and a former panelist on CNN's ''Crossfire,'' also said he believed that ''talk radio and talk television are media where everything is a first draft.'' Without defending Mr. Dunne, he said, ''It would be too stuffy to say that they have to have the same standards of evidence and accuracy as a newspaper.''

    Which is not the same as having no standards. He said that there was a line, and Mr. Dunne's remarks ''were on the wrong side of the line.''


  13. #238
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Dominick Dunne's final book reveals secrets about Condit lawsuit

    WASHINGTON — The late author Dominick Dunne reports posthumously that he paid a “very large” sum to settle a slander lawsuit brought by former congressman Gary Condit.

    Dunne died in August. But in his last novel published Tuesday, titled “Too Much Money,” the longtime chronicler of the rich and infamous revealed secrets that ranged from his own sexuality to the guilt and pain he felt from Condit’s lawsuit.

    “The lawsuit changed him,” one character says of the Dunne stand-in. “He used to be so fun, full of stories. Now, he hardly opens his mouth at dinner.”

    Technically, Dunne’s 275-page book is a novel. With a few exceptions, the character’s names are contrived.

    But as an account of Dunne’s final years, including the circumstances surrounding the Condit lawsuit, “Too Much Money” is rooted in the facts. Many telling details, down to the dollar amount that Condit originally sought, come straight from Dunne’s own life.

    Condit sued Dunne in 2002, demanding $11 million after the author repeatedly suggested that Condit had something to do with the disappearance of former intern Chandra Levy.

    Nor are Dunne’s to be the final words revolving around Levy’s 2001 disappearance. Even as prosecutors prepare to try her accused killer, Salvadoran immigrant Ingmar Guandique, other pending accounts underscore the enduring public fascination with Levy’s fate.

    In the spring, Scribner’s will publish a 305-page book about the Levy case authored by Washington Post writers Sari Horwitz and Scott Higham. The book, “Finding Chandra: A True Washington Murder Mystery,” builds on an earlier investigative series.

    Condit, too, has reportedly been collaborating with a co-writer. The married San Joaquin Valley politician lost his House seat in 2002 following revelations about his relationship with the much younger Levy.

    “I think they’re working on a book, that’s my understanding,” political consultant Mike Lynch, Condit’s former chief of staff, said Tuesday. “I’ve read accounts about it.”

    Dunne’s roman a clef account is an invaluable but not infallible tool for understanding what happened between Condit and the author.

    Though some details have clearly been changed, Dunne’s family members are confirming Dunne used “Too Much Money” to reveal previously hidden truths. These include the fact that Dunne, as he writes in the novel, was “deep within the closet” as a bisexual man who had also been “celibate for almost 20 years.”

    “It’s just so typical of him, that he would finally come out, and then leave,” Dunne’s son Griffin said Tuesday on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

    Dunne had blistered Condit’s reputation in multiple public appearances, where the author had spun various scenarios. Some involved Middle Eastern conspirators and an individual he called a “horse whisperer,” others involved what he called “Condit’s motorcycle friends.”

    Condit’s subsequent lawsuit settled in 2005. The details have never been made public.

    “The settlement, although less by far than the millions the congressman had sued for, was still very large for someone who lived on a salary,” Dunne writes in “Too Much Money.”

    Dunne’s character, named “Gus Bailey,” feels regret and acknowledges he spread a defamatory, “bogus” story. He’s worried the lawsuit filed by the congressman, named “Kyle Cramden,” will deprive his children of money.

    Dunne writes that the editor of the fictional “Park Avenue” magazine promises to pay “Gus Bailey” a bonus that would cover legal expenses, even though the magazine wasn’t sued.

    The fictional Park Avenue magazine is based on Vanity Fair, for which Dunne wrote. As in the book, Vanity Fair was not named in the congressman’s lawsuit.

    “Unfortunately, I can’t say anything about the settlement,” Dunne’s real-life attorney Paul LiCalsi said Tuesday, adding that “although the similarities are obvious, Dominick Dunne was a much braver guy than Gus Bailey.”


  14. #239
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Tried And True - True Crime Details From A Local Menendez Juror

    It isn’t often that Sand Canyon has a prison insider. But viewers of “NBC News” following episodes of “Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders” can see local resident Betty Oldfield share what she knows about the famous trial 23 years ago. She served as a substitute on the jury for Erik Menendez during the first trial, which ended in a deadlock. After a second trial, in 1996, the brothers were convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
    NBC began airing the “Law & Order True Crime” series on Sep. 26, which will be presented in eight one-hour segments. It is a drama starring Emmy Award-winner Edie Falco as Erik Menendez’ defense attorney, Leslie Abramson. NBC’s Colleen Williams will air her interviews with jurors intermittently.
    Oldfield and another juror, Hazel Thornton, were interviewed by Williams for the segments, as well as many other shows over the last two decades, such as “Snapped” on the Oxygen Network. One of Oldfield’s first interviews after the trial was on “Larry King Live,” plus she appeared on TMZ, and she was interviewed by Greta Van Susteren on “Fox News.” Producers always send a car to take Oldfield to their studios in Los Angeles, she said, except the Reel Channel, who filmed in her Sand Canyon living room. She’s been on so many shows at this point that she’s lost count.
    While actress Edie Falco was impersonating attorney Leslie Abramson to the best of her ability, the real Abramson was reconnecting with former jury members Oldfield and Thornton, now an author with a book entitled “Hung Jury: The Diary of a Menendez Juror.” Back in 1994, to prepare for the second trial, Abramson reached out to several jurors to learn which aspects of the defense resonated with them. Oldfield developed a rapport with the attorney, as well as a friendship with defendant Erik Menendez.
    According to press about the new show, the storyline will focus on why the brothers committed murder, an attempt, in part, to humanize them. And in the same way “Law & Order True Crime” seeks to grow public empathy for the Menendez brothers, Erik has a parallel project behind bars, according to Oldfield. He works with groups of inmates to help them develop empathy for fellow prisoners.
    “One of his goals is to bring in some of the younger inmates to learn empathy for the older ones,” Oldfield explained. “He makes much time in helping others while incarcerated.”

    Over the many years Erik Menendez has corresponded with Betty Oldfield, she has become impressed by how he’s turned a life sentence into a life of productivity, including educating himself and developing his skills as a painter.
    She received a copy of a letter from a Folsom Prison official praising the younger Menendez for how he’s helping fellow inmates.
    “The prison where he is has a lot of physically handicapped individuals,” Oldfield said. “Erik said they’d be pushed in a corner and just be ignored. So, he started a group where they could all meet and socialize a bit — and now the group has grown way beyond that.”
    The role the cameras played in the courtroom during the first trial (the judge barred them from the second trial) have, doubtless, affected public sentiment about the case. And the spate of shows about the Menendez brothers will add layers to the already existing (largely negative) attitudes.
    “My slant is not what the media has portrayed,” Oldfield said. “I certainly know Erik for who he really is. He’s a very caring person. My main goal is to help people understand they are not the rich, spoiled kids from Beverly Hills. Those people have not sat through the same trial that I sat through.”
    In the case of both Lyle’s and Erik’s deadlocked juries in 1994, votes were pretty much split down gender lines. The women voted for leniency, while the men were unsympathetic to the defendants.
    “You could see (the male jurors) throw their notepads down and not bother to take any notes,” Oldfield said. “It was never a case of whether they were guilty. It was question of degree.”
    For anyone wondering how the jurors in the second trial managed to make a decision for guilt, Judge Stanley Weisberg limited testimony about allegations of sexual abuse by Jose Menendez. “I could understand how they reached a verdict,” Oldfield responded. “They didn’t hear the truth of it.”


  15. #240
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Family Members Say They 'Absolutely' Forgive Menendez Brothers

    The Beverly Hills police department says there was no concrete evidence of sexual abuse on North Elm Drive, but the Andersens are convinced the red flags were there when they visited

    Two cousins and an aunt of Lyle and Erik Menendez have watched the "Law and Order True Crime" series of what allegedly happened inside a Beverly Hills mansion.

    "It’s very true," said Kitty Menendez sister, Joan Vandermolen.

    The three tell NBC4 that the show merely scratched the surface.

    "Finally they are starting to talk about the truth," said Diane Hernandez, Erik and Lyle Menendez's cousin.

    When they learned Kitty and Jose were murdered none of them suspected Lyle and Erik. But these three women have no doubt the brothers feared for their lives.

    "You need to pay attention to your kids," Vandermolen said. "My sister could have protected her kids. That was her job."
    Vandermolen says her little sister was a vivacious girl from the Midwest who married a monster.

    "I want the world to know what this man was like. What he did to his family," Vandermolen said.

    The Beverly Hills police department says there was no concrete evidence of sexual abuse on North Elm Drive, but the Andersens are convinced the red flags were there when they visited.

    Whenever Jose was with one of his boys, especially Erik, you were not allowed to go onto that floor. No one, including Kitty," said Hernandez. "You didn’t question Jose. He was intimidating."

    Just accepted to UCLA, Erik had apparently been told by his father he could live on campus, but would have to spend several nights a week at home.

    "Lyle told me in 1976 that he and his dad were touching each other. I went to get Kitty upstairs and then she came directly back downstairs," said Hernandez. "She took him by the arm and never said another word about it."
    NBC4's Robert Kovacik asked Vandermolen if she believes Kitty molested her sons.

    "My first inclination is to say, 'No I don’t believe she did.' Then I think how could I believe she did all this other stuff and let them be beaten and abused," said Vandermolen.
    All three family members are still unforgiving towards Kitty Menendez for what they believed happened to Erik and Lyle.
    When asked if they forgive Erik and Lyle for murdering Jose and Kitty, with certainty, Vandermolen, Copley and Hernandez said "yes, absolutely."


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