The People vs. Pasquale Rotella begins today.
Although many may have forgotten, the Insomniac founder’s trial has been scheduled to begin today for a while now. Included are L.A. Memorial Coliseum event manager Todd DeStefano and promoter Reza Gerami, all of whom are being charged for alleged bribery and conspiracy and paying $1.9 million in payoffs to DeStefano as an exchange for helping them put on the original EDC raves at the stadium.
The case has been delayed multiple times, initially as Judge Kathleen Kennedy needed time to oversee the Grim Sleeper trial and again after the District Attorney’s office was charged with prosecutorial misconduct. In May of last year, Deputy District Attorney Dana Aratani had to be pulled off the case after reading emails between Rotella and his own attorney, Gary Jay Kaufman.
The mistake was pounced on by Rotella’s attorney, who asked the judge to throw out all the charges he was facing and to punish the DA’s office for fostering “an environment where the prosecutors and investigators not only reviewed attorney-client-privileged emails willy-nilly but also failed to keep any records of the privileged emails that they read.”
While Judge Kennedy didn’t throw out the charges, it was inevitable that she would approve the replacement of the prosecuting attorneys, delaying the trial by over a year. It is noted that Rotella and Gerami are also being sued by the commission that owns the building, a case originally thrown out by a 2013 LA Superior Court Judge but then reinstated by a state appellate court in 2015.
In July 2015, an attorney for Gerami asked the judge to stop the civil trial, believing and arguing that it might force the defendants to incriminate themselves ahead of their criminal trial. Judge Delila C. Lyons however has refused to delay the trial, ruling that it will continue as scheduled in November of this year.
It is alleged for both cases that Rotella and Gerami supposedly paid DeStefano and former GM Pat Lynch to hold raves at the stadium, while little money was actually being paid to the owners of the building.
The allegations were a result of an investigation in the building’s finances that began when a 15-year-old girl died at Electric Daisy Carnival 2010. In 2012 Lynch pled guilty to the charges to avoid a prison sentence and is expected to testify at the trial.