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Author Ed Leibowitz

  • Ed Leibowitz

    Writer-at-Large

    Leibowitz has written major profiles of Eli Broad, Rick Caruso, and Charlton Heston, among other subjects, for Los Angeles. He received his master’s degree from Columbia University Journalism School, where he was the recipient of the magazine writer award. The City and Regional Magazine Association named his account of convicted “eco-terrorist” Billy Cottrell as one of the best features of 2006. He has written for The Atlantic, Smithsonian, Men’s Journal, the Guardian, Time Asia, Money, BusinessWeek, and the New York Times.

 

Court Reporter

In 1993, I covered the Rodney King federal trial in its entirety for the L.A. Weekly. It was a strange predicament to be in as a reporter. Every day in the courtroom, I had to heavily discount the evidence of my eyes and ears. Yes, the defense attorneys for the four LAPD officers on trial for violating Kings rights for beating and stomping him did seem hopelessly outmatched by the prosecution team, with its unlimited budget and far greater intellect. The officers’ testimony verged on preposterous. Sgt. Stacey Koon insulted his own considerable intelligence as well as the jury’s when he explained on the stand how the brutal free-for-all was actually a feat of tactical brilliance on his part. He testified how he ordered one of his officers to slam King’s leg with a baton, at which point the victim’s leg twitched, which he interpreted as a prison karate move, prompting yet more bludgeoning.  But all that didn’t seem to matter. The jury in Simi Valley had bought all kinds of malarkey the last time around, ushering in days of conflagration and mass death.   Read more...

Postscript: The Accidental Ecoterrorist

On Thursday, September 10, a panel of three federal judges from the 9th circuit reversed their decision back in February to deny the appeal of Caltech grad student and Asperger’s sufferer Billy Cottrell, who was found guilty of the environmentally-motivated fire-bombing of several SUVs at dealerships in the San Gabriel Valley. Judges never take great pride in being flat-out wrong, and it wasn’t too surprising that, in overturning his arson convictions, the panel’s “Amended Memorandum” was earmarked “not for publication.” Read more...

Postscript: Dear Mr. Mayor

On CNN Monday, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa told Wolf Blitzer that he will not run for governor in 2010, citing two major reasons that should have led him to have made the same decision some months ago—city in crisis, and a commitment to the citizens who re-elected him in February. Villaraigosa gave short shrift to other late-breaking factors that might have influenced his decision: a raft of unfavorable press; a recent Times poll finding 48 percent of Angelenos disapprove of his gubernatorial ambitions; a 2009-2010 city budget abloom with personnel layoffs and program cuts. Then there’s that new mayoral romance with yet another newscaster, KTLA correspondent and former Miss America Lu Parker. Read my open letter to Villaraigosa in our June cover story, urging him, among other things, to stay put and serve out his second term at city hall. Read more...
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