Prosecutors’ fury at Rebecca Grossman’s lawyer after he told the jury her lover Scott Erickson was ‘hiding in the bushes’ after the accident which killed two young boys – without telling the prosecutors first
The murder trial of a Los Angeles socialite got off to a tumultuous start Friday with prosecutors and the defense arguing over what the jury could be told — and the defense claiming an associate of the accused was ‘hiding in the bushes’ after the murders.
Rebecca Grossman (60) is charged with second degree murder over the accident on September 29, 2020 in which Jacob Iskander (8) and brother Mark (11) died.
Prosecutors allege the The married socialite had a nice lunch with her former LA Dodgers star lover, Scott Erickson, before she got into her Mercedes SUV and fatally struck the two boys in Westlake Village.
But Grossman’s defense on Friday, in their opening statements, said they intend to show that it was Erickson — who was driving a separate vehicle at the time of the crash, after their lunch — who struck and killed the boys.
Grossman’s attorney, Tony Buzbee, infuriated prosecutors by telling the jury that Erickson was found “hiding in the bushes” after the fatal crash — a detail prosecutors say was unknown to them.
“Scott Erickson’s car hit those kids – that’s what we’ll prove and that’s what the science will show in this case,” Buzbee said.
Rebecca Grossman, her husband Dr. Peter Grossman, and their daughter and son are seen outside the Los Angeles Superior Courthouse on Friday, on the first day of her murder trial
Los Angeles socialite and philanthropist Rebecca Grossman is seen leaving court flanked by her son and daughter during a luncheon during her murder trial on Friday.
Tony Buzbee, Grossman’s attorney, was reprimanded by the judge Friday afternoon for introducing evidence not disclosed to prosecutors
The socialite is accused of driving 81km/h in a 45km/h zone before plowing into the boys at a junction and damaging her white Mercedes (pictured)
Buzbee said Erickson stopped his vehicle and hid in the bushes to see what police were doing after the crash.
At the end of Friday’s hearing, the jury left for the day and prosecutors then turned on Buzbee, demanding that the judge punish him for introducing new evidence.
The prosecution, led by Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Ryan Gould, accused Buzbee and his team of “unethical” behavior and “making a mockery” of the justice system.
They were furious with Buzbee for mentioning some details they had agreed would not be disclosed.
And they were also angry about Buzbee introducing the new detail, about Erickson ‘hiding in the bushes’.
Gould told the judge: “This is the first time the people are hearing about it.”
Buzbee denied any unethical behavior and Judge Brandolino – while not imposing sanctions – scolded him.
“This shouldn’t happen,” the judge said. “We cannot have the defense violate pretrial rulings.”
Buzbee, a high-profile attorney who ran for mayor of Houston in 2019 earlier Friday and defended impeached Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton last year, told the jury he would prove Grossman was not responsible for the death of the two sons do not.
He mocked a prosecution video reconstruction of the crash showing Mark and Jacob being hit by Grossman’s white Mercedes.
Mark Iskander (11) and his younger brother Jacob (8) died in the accident in 2020
Grossman is accused of killing brothers Mark, 11, and Jacob, 8, Iskander, after plowing her Mercedes into the two boys in Westlake Village in September 2020
The Iskander brothers ‘didn’t have a chance,’ prosecutor Ryan Gould said in opening statements in Rebecca Grossman’s trial
“No science could ever support that,” Buzbee said.
He accused the police of ‘taking the easy way out’ and blamed Grossman in a ‘rush to judgement’.
Buzbee called the police investigation into the crash ‘absolutely terrible’ and added that ‘there is not nearly enough evidence to convict Grossman.
‘She didn’t drop anything and someone else did. The prosecution is trying to fit a square peg in a round hole,’ he said.
Buzbee argued that the Westlake Village crossing, where the boys were killed, is “dangerous” and “improperly marked.”
And he also claimed that Mark and Jacob were not actually at the crossroads, but 50 feet north of it when they were hit.
He refuted the prosecutor’s claim that Grossman tried to ‘flee the scene’.
And Buzbee said witnesses will tell of hearing two impacts, adding that while prosecutors “suggest that one vehicle did it, it’s scientifically impossible.”
He also said he plans to present expert witnesses who will say Grossman was only traveling at 52 mph — not the 81 mph the DA claims.
He said Erickson’s car, which was ahead of Grossman’s, had done “more than 70” before the tragedy.
As for prosecutors’ claims that Grossman was impaired by alcohol and Valium, another of her attorneys, Mark Thiessen told the jury, ‘That’s simply untrue.’
Prosecutors say Grossman chased Scott Erickson (left) — who was driving a separate SUV — after a cocktail-fueled lunch at Julio’s in Westlake Village
Grossman claimed the crash was caused by a poorly lit, poorly signposted crosswalk in the photo above
Rebecca Grossman is seen with her husband, Dr Peter Grossman – a renowned plastic surgeon who runs a specialist burns unit. The pair are pictured together in October 2011
He called the police investigation “messed up” and labeled the roadside sobriety and breathalyzer given to Grossman as “misapplied.”
Thiessen argued that she was ‘polite, coherent and cooperative’ with police at the scene and she had ‘no loss of mental or physical abilities’.
‘She didn’t do anything wrong,’ he said, adding that it was a case of: ‘We have two dead children. We need someone to blame.’
However, Gould told the jury that earlier in the day Grossman drank half a margarita at a friend’s house, then a full margarita with Erickson at Julio’s in Westlake Village before they decided to drive to her house to ‘ watching a Biden-Trump presidential debate. on TV.
A witness who spotted Grossman and Erickson speeding after Julio’s before the crash recalled thinking, ‘They’re going to kill somebody the way they’re going,’ Gould said.
After the horrific crash, he said, the boys’ mother, Nancy Iskander, could see Jacob lying in the road, but she couldn’t see Mark because he was thrown so far away.
“At the speed Mrs. Grossman was going, he (Mark) was projected 254 feet away,” Gould said.
‘And she didn’t stop…she continued down the road.
‘Mark died of traumatic blunt force injuries. Jakob was decapitated internally – the force of the collision severed his spinal cord from the inside.’
Gould told the court that the black box in Grossman’s Mercedes indicated that just before the crash she was ‘flooring’ it, driving at 81mph in a 45mph zone.
“If she was going 45 miles an hour, she wouldn’t have hit Mark and Jacob,” Gould said.
Erickson played with the Los Angeles Dodgers for one year starting in 2005 and then ended his career with the New York Yankees in 2006.
Erickson, pictured with sports journalist Lisa Guerrero in 2015, was charged with a misdemeanor over the 2020 crash, and settled his case in 2022
Grossman – who is married to plastic surgeon Dr. Peter Grossman — and Erickson were headed to a Westlake Village apartment in two separate cars after lunch at Julio’s in Westlake Village where she drank margaritas, prosecutors say.
She appeared for her hearing at a court in Van Nuys, 20 miles northwest of LA, on Friday wearing a dark blue sweater over a white blouse and blue-and-white flowered skirt.
She was accompanied by her children and her husband.
She is charged with two counts of second degree murder; two counts of vehicular homicide with gross negligence; and one of hit-and-run driving resulting in death.
Grossman faces a maximum sentence of 34 years to life in prison if convicted.