Hoping his reader(s) will ignore claims he was all too eager to go to work for Deadspin, former Sun-Times / AOL Fanhouse columnist/E-book author Jay Mariotti launched “Mariotti Show.com” this week, a site that includes such fresh takes as Bud Selig’s-mishandled-Alex Rodriguez, Johnny Manziel’s-a-car-crash and most curiously, plugs for a music festival featuring Macklemore & Lewis. If you’re wondering why Jay would bother with such activity after having been to the top of the journalistic mountain, he’s quite happy to explain. At length. “I’m kind of bored in paradise”, claims Mariotti, which is precisely what Kirk Van Houten said about staying at the Springfield Bachelor Arms. “I’ve chatted with Owen Wilson, talked sports with Pittsburgh homeboy Michael Keaton, viewed paintings by the Incubus singer at a gallery and watched the paparazzi harass poor Lohan in Venice,” which is apparently Jay’s way of saying he’s ready to roll up his sleeves and let the amazing observations fly. But if you thought you were getting out of here without Mariotti referencing the criminal charges he faced in 2010, a subject he’s covered repeatedly, you’re not nearly that lucky.
A Kafkaesque drama was fueled by a person’s failed pursuit of money — as I’ve explained before in several interviews and chronicled in meticulous detail in my e-book, “The System.” I’m confident we would have won at trial. But realizing the L.A. justice system is bureaucratic at best and insidious at worst, I had no interest in spending a half-million dollars on legal fees, exposing my daughters and family to what clearly was one-sided media coverage and wondering if a Google-reading jury might profile me. I took the high road, didn’t scream publicly about dirty tactics in the case, accepted the no-contest route and wrote the book in September 2011 not to make money but so all of this could be on public record. When a judge in a preliminary hearing refused to allow testimony from our witnesses and experts, wouldn’t address suspicious dealings involving the LAPD and didn’t care that I had witnesses and detailed records to counter other absurd claims … well, you live and learn.
After all the sensational stories, the case was minimized, then closed by another judge. He suggested “expungement,” said a few nice words and sent me on my way. That quickly, the system was done with me. Not surprisingly, the person filed a civil suit, and her legal team tried to have it publicized on TMZ, which wasn’t interested. Her suit immediately was dropped after we posed hard questions about her personal life and motives and made it known we were prepared to re-submit the boatload of discoveries, witnesses and experts — the elements we originally weren’t allowed to present. It’s all in the book — updated recently on Amazon.com — and I urge anyone curious about the justice system to read it. Since then, I’ve carried on in Santa Monica and Venice as my usual law-abiding self.
Bet you didn’t know any of that. In USA Today last month, critic Rem Rieder addressed how media can twist “delicious” legal stories, referring directly to George Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin coverage but also to reporting in general. Wrote Rieder: “Life is packed with nuances and subtleties and shades of gray. But the news media are often uncomfortable in such murky terrain. They prefer straightforward narratives, with good guys and bad guys, heroes and villains. Those tales are much easier for readers and viewers to relate to.” Even if a media outlet had wanted to update and close the book on my case, a dysfunctional legal system in L.A. doesn’t necessarily allow for fresh, accurate information.