Rebecca Grossman aims to keep new attorney despite prosecutors’ concerns

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

LOS ANGELES – Rebecca Grossman — who was convicted in February of second-degree murder for the deaths of two young boys — told a judge Friday she wants to stick with her new attorney, despite prosecutors’ concerns about a potential conflict of interest over the lawyer’s representation of one of their former supervisors, who is awaiting arraignment on criminal charges.

Grossman, 60, told Superior Court Judge Joseph Brandolino that she understood the courtroom discussion about a potential conflict of interest, but she wanted to continue being represented by James Spertus. Spertus replaced Grossman’s team of trial attorneys following her conviction Feb. 23 on second-degree murder and other counts stemming from the September 2020 deaths of Mark and Jacob Iskander, aged 11 and 8, while they walked with their family in a Westlake Village crosswalk.

The judge said he didn’t believe there was an actual conflict of interest between Grossman and her new attorney, despite the prosecution’s contention in court papers that a conflict existed because Spertus is also representing Assistant District Attorney Diana Teran, who was in “the chain of command” for the unit handling Grossman’s case and was a “supervisor overseeing this case.”

Teran was charged April 24 by the California Attorney General’s Office with 11 felony counts of improperly using data from a government computer system without permission.

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“The two cases clearly don’t intersect,” the judge said.

Spertus told the judge that he represents “two people in unrelated cases with zero overlap.”

Teran — who was “intimately involved” in making decisions on the Grossman case during the trial —  is no longer over the chain of command in the case, according to Assistant Head Deputy Habib Balian of the District Attorney’s Major Crimes Division, who was recently added to the case and spoke on behalf of the prosecution during the hearing.

The Los Angeles Times reported Friday that an email sent by one of the prosecutors’ other supervisors indicated that Teran had denied their request after the trial to interview a witness who “had critical information regarding Grossman’s continued efforts to obstruct justice from inside the county jail.” Balian told the judge that the prosecution has subsequently gotten permission to allow that witness to be interviewed.

Also in the Van Nuys courtroom with Balian were trial prosecutors Ryan Gould and Jamie Castro, whom the Los Angeles Times reported earlier this week had largely been removed from the case. But a day after that report, the victims’ mother, Nancy, posted on X that the district attorney’s administration “reversed their decision” and the case would continue to handled by Gould and Castro with “a different reporting line.”

Grossman blew a kiss to her husband and daughter as she walked into the courtroom in brown jail-issued clothing, then told them, “I love you so much” as she was led away after the hearing.

She has remained behind bars since shortly after the verdict.

Grossman is due back in court June 3 for a hearing on the defense’s motion for a new trial. She could face up to 34 years to life in state prison, with sentencing set June 10 if the new trial motion is denied.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.