California

Defense Alleges Misconduct in Sexual Assault Trial of ‘Rehab Mogul’

What to Know

  • A new motion filed by the defense lawyer for Christopher Bathum, the self-described drug rehab mogul convicted earlier this year
  • The evidence, a 15-second video clip recorded several years ago, shows one of the assault victims, a key witness in Bathum's trial
  • The motion asks the court for a month delay before sentencing

A new motion filed by the defense lawyer for Christopher Bathum, the self-described drug rehab mogul convicted earlier this year of sexually assaulting seven women, claims the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office and Sheriff's Department withheld a piece of evidence related to a key prosecution witness.

The evidence, a 15-second video clip recorded several years ago, shows one of the assault victims, a key witness in Bathum's trial, being prompted by another man to say she was drugged and raped by Bathum, and the lawyer said this week the clip was never provided by prosecutors during the pretrial exchange of evidence.

"Counsel has lost trust in the veracity and good faith of the Sheriff's Department and Los Angeles County District Attorney's office," defense attorney Carlo A. Spiga wrote in a document filed with the court.

The District Attorney's Office declined to comment to the NBC 4 I-Team Friday afternoon. The motion asks the court for a month delay before sentencing so the actions by prosecutors and LA County Sheriff's detectives, along with the video clip can be investigated.

Bathum is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 15 and could face up to 65 years in prison. He's also charged in a separate fraud case that alleges he and a former employee used the rehab clinics to bilk insurance companies out of more than $150 million.

It is one of the largest insurance fraud case in California history. Bathum's former accomplice, Kirsten Wallace was sentenced to 11 years in state prison follow a plea deal to multiple counts of money laundering, theft of personal property, identity theft, and insurance fraud earlier this year.

The video at the center of the legal filing was Cliff Brodsky, an investor in Bathm's business claims he was ripped off by the rehab mogul. Brodsky made a short video with a woman who claims she was drugged and raped by Bathum.

"Will you please tell the camera, tell the world that you were raped by Chris Bathum, tell them what you told ME! Because she was all spun and she couldn't think what to say, so she said I was drugged and raped by Chris Bathum," Brodsky said Friday.

"I said 'see!'" Bathum's defense attorney, Carlo Spiga, says a source notified him that prosecutors were given a copy of the video but never revealed it him before trial.

Spiga says this has caused "lost trust in the veracity and good faith of the Sheriff's Department and Los Angeles District Attorney's Office."

Spiga is asking the court to appoint an investigator to assist him in determining if Bathum should request a new trial.

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