SANTA ANA (CNS) - As Orange County supervisors are poised to ask their Office of Independent Review Today to investigate a phone contractor responsible for the improper recordings of phone calls from jail inmates to their attorneys, the defendant at the center of the unfolding scandal said he wants to clear his name and not just get free on a technicality.
In a phone call to City News Service from jail, Joshua Waring, the son of former “Real Housewives of Orange County” cast member Lauri Peterson, insisted he was innocent of the attempted murder charges filed against him.
Waring's attorney, Joel Garson, is trying to get the charges dismissed based on an allegation of outrageous governmental misconduct tied to the recordings of his phone calls when he was representing himself without a lawyer in the case and to calls to his attorneys when he was in custody.
Prosecutors have recordings of 44 phone calls when Waring was acting as his own attorney from the end of November 2016 through the early part of 2017.
Waring represented himself in his first preliminary hearing during that time and was ordered to stand trial. Later, Garson got the charges dismissed based on issues with that preliminary hearing but prosecutors refiled the case against Waring, so if Garson gets the charges dumped again, prosecutors will not be able to charge him again.
Waring said his defense was largely based on an argument that someone else did the shooting and that authorities either did not check him for gunshot residue or buried the evidence because they wanted to use him as an informant in other cases.
Waring argues that Bryan Jason Goldstein shot then-35-year-old Daniel Lopez outside a home in Costa Mesa on June 20, 2016. Two others escaped injury in the drive-by attack.
In August 2016, Warning said he called his mother to insist, “I need to get this gunshot residue (because) it'll show that I didn't fire the gun and Bryan Goldstein did fire that gun,” Waring said. “They heard me say Bryan Goldstein's tests were going to show he fired the gun.”
Waring said he and Goldstein were together earlier the night of the shooting, but split up and he got a call from a friend asking for a ride after she was thrown out of the house where the shooting took place.
“I said, `Go to Del Taco. I'll have my friend pick you up and I'll go back to the street to find your belongings” that were discarded outside the home, Waring said.
Waring claims Goldstein returned to the house, which he hadn't expected, and, “I remember looking in the rear view mirror and seeing flashes coming from his car.”
Goldstein has a lengthy criminal history involving drugs, leading police on a chase and being a felon in possession of a gun dating back to 2004, according to court records.
Waring argues that Goldstein is being protected by prosecutors because they needed him as a witness in an attempted murder case in Anaheim.
“How do I get a fair trial when they know what witnesses I'm going to call” in his case leading up to the preliminary hearing, Waring said. “They know everything. They know what I'm going to do at trial. They've had two years to circumvent my defenses and find a way to still get a conviction.”
Waring is concerned how he will be viewed if he is successful in getting his case dismissed.
“I don't want the public to think this is a violent person who is trying to get off on a technicality,” Waring said.
Waring added, “I didn't shoot that night... I've never shot a handgun in my life... BB guns, paintball guns, yes, I know all about them, but don't know anything about guns. It's just not who I am.”
Waring admitted, “I have a drug problem. I'm the first to admit it.”
Waring is representing himself on drug charges, and in that case he said he was “pepper balled” while in custody June 24 because he had called some deputies as witnesses.
“They opened my legal mail, which they're not supposed to,” Waring said. “My legal mail is always opened.”
A few days after subpoenaing some deputies about the legal mail, his cell was pelted with pepper balls “in the middle of the night,” Waring said.
“It sucked all that powder in my cell. I thought I was going to die,” Waring said. “You start getting mucus out of your eyes and nose and you can't breathe. And I'm pushing the emergency button and they're ignoring me.”
Waring said he slapped a wet towel over his face “and just dealt with it.”
Orange County sheriff's investigators are continuing to review the allegations, said Carrie Braun of the Orange County Sheriff's Department.
Last week, George McNitt, vice president of technical services for Global Tel Link Corp., testified that he and his brother authored the software the sheriff's department now uses for its jail phone services. He blamed an unspecified “human error” for the failure to transfer over phone numbers that should have been kept confidential from a switch from an old system to a new one.
Two law enforcement agencies in Florida reported the same problem with phone calls from inmates to attorneys being recorded, McNitt testified. Officials in Los Angeles County have also requested an audit to see if phone calls were wrongly recorded there as well.