O.C. supervisors settle suit from ‘Real Housewives’ son over prison phone recording
Orange County supervisors Tuesday approved a proposed $595,000 settlement with the son of a former “Real Housewives of Orange County” cast member who sued the county, alleging that his phone calls were illegally recorded and that sheriff’s deputies set him up for an attack while in custody.
The board unanimously approved the federal lawsuit settlement.
Josh Waring, who pleaded guilty last year to a shooting in Costa Mesa to avoid more time behind bars, is a fugitive after failing to appear in court on two drug cases he picked up after his release from jail in March 2020.
Orange County Superior Court Judge John Zitney issued a warrant Sept. 10 for the arrest of Waring, 32, the son of TV personality Lauri Peterson. He could face more time behind bars for violating terms of his parole.
A message left with his attorney, Sonja Muir, was not returned.
Waring was at the center of an attempted murder case that generated multiple headlines as it revealed a major scandal with the improper taping of confidential phone calls between jail inmates and their attorneys. Waring also alleged he was retaliated against by deputies while in custody for his role in uncovering the scandal.
In his federal lawsuit, filed in April 2020, Waring alleged that his phone calls from within the Orange County Jail were illegally recorded.
He alleged that a sheriff’s deputy threatened to “choke your … ass out and get a promotion” when Waring questioned the deputy about correspondence from his attorney being opened.
“Shortly after that interaction, [the deputy] was placed on administrative leave for an unrelated matter wherein he was involved in the death of an inmate,” the lawsuit alleged. When the deputy returned to work, he was “more emboldened” and warned Waring, “You better watch the [expletive] out, I just killed the last guy who pissed me off and I got a paid vacation,” according to the suit.
Soon after, the deputy and another deputy fired off several rounds of pepper balls in the jail sector where Waring was housed, and he was denied medical treatment, the lawsuit alleged.
Waring further alleged there were other conspiracies to put him in threatening situations. Another inmate attacked Waring with razor blades in October 2019.
Waring was arrested in June 2020 in Huntington Beach and was charged that September with possession of a controlled substance — fentanyl — and drug paraphernalia, as well as falsely representing himself to an officer, all misdemeanors.
He was arrested again May 8 at Ridge Route Drive and Overlake in Lake Forest, when deputies pulled over the driver of a rental car stolen from John Wayne Airport, according to Orange County sheriff’s Sgt. Todd Hylton.
Waring, who was in the passenger’s seat, was accused of possession of fetanyl and methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia found in the glove compartment of the car, Hylton said.
Waring pleaded guilty in March last year to single counts of assault with a firearm and leading police on a chase, and to two counts of assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury, all felonies. He also admitted to single misdemeanor counts of hit-and-run with property damage and battery.
Waring resolved a separate case and pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine for sale and false personation, both felonies.
He was originally charged with three counts of attempted murder, along with a sentencing enhancement alleging attempted premeditated murder, for the June 20, 2016, shooting of Daniel Lopez, then 35, outside a home in Costa Mesa. Two other people escaped injury in the drive-by attack.
At the time of his plea deal, Waring was facing 65 years to life in prison but was sentenced to time served in jail awaiting trial.
After the plea deal last year, his mother told reporters her son wanted to pursue a career in law.
Orange County Superior Court Judge Jonathan Fish commented then on how much Waring had matured over the previous couple of years.
“I think you’ve matured a lot,” Fish told Waring. “A lot of that, if we’re being honest, is you’re not on methamphetamine.”
Fish added, “It is like there’s two Josh Warings.”
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