An attorney representing Joshua Waring, son of former “Real Housewives of Orange County” star Lauri Peterson, is asking an Orange County Superior Court judge to dismiss attempted-murder charges against his client, citing “outrageous government conduct” in the monitoring and sharing of Waring’s jail communications.
Waring, 29, is facing three counts of attempted murder and other felony and misdemeanor charges in connection with a shooting at a former sober-living home in Costa Mesa in June 2016. He could face multiple life sentences if convicted.
Waring’s attorney, Joel Garson, filed a motion Monday alleging that law enforcement inappropriately monitored and recorded Waring’s telephone calls in Orange County Jail while he was representing himself in the case. He wrote that Waring discussed confidential trial strategy during the calls.
Information gathered from the calls was provided to prosecutors, Garson said.
Garson alleges Waring was being recorded from June 25, 2016, to at least Feb. 8, 2017. Waring was representing himself for about a month in 2016, according to the motion.
The recordings were done “in direct violation of a Superior Court order” that granted Waring “unmonitored collect phone calls,” Garson said in the motion.
“These actions by the prosecution team constitute outrageous government conduct,” Garson wrote.
Garson said he discovered the recordings on Friday when he received a 41-page report dated June 16, 2017, written by Costa Mesa Police Department investigator George Maridakis. According to the report, Maridakis requested and was granted permission by the jail to receive copies of Waring’s jail mail and recordings of his phone calls, Garson said. The Police Department then provided the information to the Orange County district attorney’s office, Garson said.
Maridakis’ report is sealed, meaning it is not available for public review.
Garson noted in his motion that Senior Deputy District Attorney Cynthia Nichols did not authorize the recordings and put an end to the copying once she took over the case in February 2017 from now-retired Deputy District Attorney Aleta Bryant.
On Monday, Nichols asked for time to review the recordings to determine whether law enforcement gathered information inappropriately. Judge Jonathan Fish gave her until Feb. 13.
Jury selection in Waring’s trial had been expected to begin Monday but likely will not start until Feb. 15.
Fish called the situation a “thorny and complicated legal issue.”
“This is a very important issue that needs to be researched and considered by the court,” he said.
Waring was arrested June 20, 2016, hours after a man identified only as Daniel L. was seriously injured in a shooting in the 2900 block of Babb Street.
Witnesses told police that Waring had left the house, described as a “drug crash pad,” after a confrontation with a resident but returned around 2:30 a.m. June 20 in a BMW X3 belonging to his girlfriend, authorities said. Shots were fired at three people outside, authorities said.