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Redman Lawyer Calls Charges Double Jeopardy

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A lawyer for developer Marshall Redman argued Thursday that authorities cannot prosecute him for land fraud because he has already been punished as the result of a 1994 lawsuit.

In a motion, defense attorney Harland W. Braun said that forcing Redman to defend himself against seven felony fraud and theft charges in an alleged Antelope Valley land sales scheme would violate his constitutional protection against double jeopardy.

“You may not like Marshall Redman, but what I don’t like is a sneaky government,” said Braun, whose high-profile clients include one of the officers in the Rodney G. King beating case, former auto executive John Z. DeLorean and “Twilight Zone” director John Landis.

Redman appeared in Los Angeles County Municipal Court on Thursday for a pretrial hearing on seven charges of theft and fraud in the sales of undeveloped parcels to working-class Latinos in Los Angeles, Kern and San Bernardino counties.

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Between 1978 and 1994, authorities have alleged, Redman’s three real estate firms took in millions of dollars annually while failing to deliver on promises about zoning and utilities.

Redman has pleaded not guilty to the charges. A preliminary hearing is set for July 29.

Last summer, Redman agreed to pay $580,000 to settle a civil lawsuit brought in 1994 by Kern County prosecutors and the Los Angeles city attorney’s office.

He also agreed to turn over his three firms to a court-appointed receiver.

In a statement, Los Angeles Dist. Atty. Gil Garcetti said the civil case was filed in an attempt to protect the interests of the victims and to stop fraudulent sales.

Redman was accused of misrepresentation and unfair business practices. The receiver is attempting to clear title to the land for the buyers, or provide alternative land or a refund.

Garcetti said that if his office had filed criminal charges against the developer sooner, “Redman’s assets could have been easily diverted or concealed.”

Braun disagreed. “They basically sandbagged him,” he said. “They played a game of tag-team prosecution. After neglecting the case for years, prosecutors hit him with a civil case. He paid big bucks in fines. They took over half his businesses. When he’s done with that, they say, ‘Oh, by the way, we’re arresting you and taking you to jail.’ There’s something dirty going on here.”

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Braun said he will argue that prosecution is also barred by the statute of limitations because authorities knew of Redman’s activities for more than a decade before taking any action to stop him.


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