Rebecca Grossman accused of illegal conduct from jail, prosecution wants phone privileges revoked

City News Service
Tuesday, March 19, 2024
Rebecca Grossman accused of misconduct from jail after conviction
Rebecca Grossman, the woman convicted in a Westlake Village crash that killed two young boys, is now accused of illegal conduct from jail.

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. (CNS) -- Prosecutors filed court papers asking a judge to revoke Rebecca Grossman's privilege to make telephone calls while in jail, contending that she has used the calls to "engage in wholly improper conduct or potentially illegal conduct" after being convicted of second-degree murder and other charges involving a crash that killed two young boys in Westlake Village.

A hearing is set Friday in a Van Nuys courtroom involving the prosecution's request involving Grossman, a co-founder of the Grossman Burn Foundation.

In a 16-page filing first reported by the Los Angeles Times, Deputy District Attorneys Ryan Gould and Jamie Castro wrote that Grossman's recorded phone calls include "admissions to violating the court protective order regarding the disclosure of evidence on the internet and to the press" and also "document numerous potential criminal conspiracies such as requests to disclose more protected discovery, discussion of various attempts to interfere with witnesses and their testimony and attempts to influence (the judge) in regards to sentencing and motions for a new trial."

Grossman, 60, was taken into custody Feb. 23, within minutes of a jury finding her guilty of two counts each of second-degree murder and vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and one count of hit-and-run resulting in death involving the Sept. 29, 2020, crash that left 11-year-old Mark Iskander and his 8-year-old brother, Jacob, dead.

Socialite Rebecca Grossman has been found guilty of murder in the 2020 crash in Westlake Village that killed two young brothers, ages 8 and 11.

The prosecutors cited a series of phone calls in which Grossman spoke to her husband, Peter, and her daughter, Alexis, between Feb. 23 and Feb. 25. Those included a Feb. 23 call in which she told her daughter that she wanted her to "unblock the videos" and "put everything out" and another the following day in which asked her husband if a person she identified as "Tom" could call the judge and "ask him to please let us have a new trial," according to the prosecution's filing.

In a call the day after the verdict, Grossman told her daughter, "These were the worst jurors. I knew they were bad jurors ... Every single one of them, I could just tell. They weren't on my side from the beginning. I just knew it," according to the court papers.

The prosecution is requesting the judge grant a proposed court order that Grossman be housed in a portion of the jail where she has no access to a telephone and is not eligible for calls or visits other than with her attorneys, and that all of her incoming and outgoing mail be screened prior to distribution. The prosecutors contend that the same types of conversations can be conducted through those methods.

"While in custody the defendant immediately began using her phone privileges to engage in wholly improper conduct or potentially illegal conduct," Gould and Castro wrote.

"In-custody phone privileges are just that, a privilege, and the defendant is using this privilege to make phone calls in an attempt to commit crimes and unduly influence witnesses and this court. Therefore, this court should revoke this privilege."

The prosecution also alleges that "the defense is actively attempting to engage in jury tampering," writing that it is "clear" that a private investigator working for the defense showed up at three of the jurors' homes and was "not properly identifying himself as working for the defendant, Rebecca Grossman, which can only mean he is intentionally trying to mislead the jurors that he has contacted."

The deputy district attorneys contend that the court should immediately require Grossman's defense team to turn over all personal identifying information of jurors, noting that their names, addresses and telephone numbers were "sealed by operation of law upon recording the jury's verdict in a criminal case."

Grossman -- who has remained jailed without bail since being taken into custody last month -- could face up to 34 years to life in state prison. Sentencing is set April 10.

Prosecutors argued during the trial that Grossman and her then-boyfriend, former Dodger pitcher Scott Erickson, had been out for drinks earlier that evening and were speeding toward her nearby home in separate vehicles when Grossman's white Mercedes-Benz SUV struck the boys while they were crossing Triunfo Canyon Road with their parents in a marked crosswalk.

"We're very thankful, and it's now time to do good in the name of Mark and Jacob," said Nancy Iskander.

Prosecutors said Grossman continued driving after striking the boys, eventually stopping about a quarter-mile away from the scene when her car engine stopped running.

Grossman's lead attorney, Tony Buzbee, contended that it was Erickson who struck the boys first with his black Mercedes-Benz SUV.

Erickson was never called to testify in the case.

The prosecution alleged that Grossman was speeding at 81 mph in a 45-mph zone just seconds before impact, and that data from the vehicle's so-called black box showing that she was driving 73 mph at the time of the crash was reliable.

In her closing argument, Castro told the jury that Grossman "continued driving as far as her car would let her" before the vehicle's engine cut off about one-third of a mile away.

But Grossman's lead attorney had told jurors in his closing argument that Grossman was traveling at 54 mph "at best" and that she didn't know why her airbags had deployed. He said the vehicle rolled to a stop after the collision, and disputed the prosecution's contention that she was impaired and fled the scene.

Buzbee alleged that authorities failed to properly investigate the crash and determine who actually hit the boys.

He called the case a "rush to judgment," saying they "put their blinders on" and didn't consider that anyone else might be responsible for the crash.

Again referring to Erickson, the defense attorney noted that "You couldn't keep me away from this courthouse" to clear his own name if someone were accusing him.

In a recorded phone call two days after the verdict, Grossman told her husband, "You should call Scott Erickson and tell him to get on a video and that he needs to confess ... I have a family," according to the prosecution's filing.

The deputy district attorneys wrote that Peter Grossman told his wife, "I know he needs to confess, but right now, I can't even talk about the case, but that guy needs to ... you're in jail for him, and it drives me crazy," and warned her that they "have to stop talking about the case on the recorded line" from county jail.