The former co-chairman of Universal Pictures is hoping the indictment last week of two LAPD officers on multiple charges of rape will in turn help clear his name, which was besmirched by a bizarre incident involving one of the officers.
Brian Mulligan sued the LAPD for excessive force after an altercation outside an Eagle Rock hotel, but headlines labeled him the "Bath Salt Executive," saying he was high on drugs. Officers testified that his extensive injuries were a result of his falling "face first" onto the ground.
Mulligan admitted at the time to having used a form of bath salts days earlier, but said he was not under the influence on the night of the altercation. His suit claims his injuries — a broken nose and shoulder, along with bruises and cuts that left him hospitalized — were outside the scope of an arrest.
The LA County District Attorney’s Office declined to file charges against Mulligan. Two years later, Mulligan lost his civil case against the Los Angeles Police Department.
The case involved Officer James Nichols, one of two LAPD officers who has now been indicted on charges of raping several women while on duty between 2008 and 2011. At the time of Mulligan’s original trial, Nichols was already under investigation by the department.
"We were aware of the sexual assaults," said attorney Skip Miller, whose firm represents two of the four women who have accused Nichols of sex assault.
But his record was not allowed to be entered into evidence.
"The lawyer for Nichols described him as a choir boy," Miller recalled. "They destroyed the guy’s reputation."
Mulligan is now appealing the verdict, arguing the previous conduct of the police officer was never taken into consideration.
"We now know the way James Nichols operated," Miller said.
In court documents from the earlier trial, Nichols and other officers described restraining Mulligan, who "fell to the ground face first" and was "completely uncontrollable," during the 2012 altercation.
Mulligan insists he was not high on bath salts, even though two canisters of the drugs were found in his car. It took a jury just a few hours to reach a unanimous verdict that the officers did not use excessive force.
"I really don’t want to be doing this for four years," Mulligan said of his lengthy legal fight.
It was a rare disclosure from Mulligan, who remained silent during his interview with NBC4 at his attorney’s request.
"I’ll be better when this is all over," he said. "And I will be that guy again."
Nichols, 44, and Luis Gustavo Valenzuela, 43, who worked as partners in the LAPD's Hollywood Division, have pleaded not guilty in the sex assault cases. They are due back in court March 16.
Both officers have been "relieved from duty" without pay but are still with the department.
Universal Pictures is owned by NBCUniversal, the same parent company as NBC4.