Kelly Soo Park, in custody, at a previous court hearing
Continued from Pretrial 3, Part I....
October 6, 2015
I'm on the 9th floor of the downtown Criminal Justice Center. Kelly Soo Park’s mother and aunt arrive and sit on the bench directly across the hall from me. There are a few jurors and people from the general public who are walking the entire hallway, back and forth, just like they were yesterday. Paul Turley's counsel, Ariel Neuman is already here. We exchange smiles.
Lonce LaMon from Adjuster.com arrives
More of Parks family and supporters show up. I believe the tall man wearing a suit jacket and jeans is Tom Chronister. At the September 25 hearing, I confused him with another gentleman who looked quite similar to him. Maybe he was a relative of Tom's.
Mark Kassabian arrives and chats with Tom Chronister. Chronister appears to be reading a document. Two tall slender ladies, part of Parks entourage arrive. They were both here on September 25. I’ve been told one of them, Deborah von Cheave, used to work for Dr. Uwaydah. Chronister and Kassabian take a bench seat in the hall.
Ariel Neuman’s co-counsel, Benjamin Gluck arrives.
Kelly’s sister Kim arrives. She’s dressed very casually and looks like she might be tired. A totally different look from the two ladies in heels.
More people supporting Park arrive. Hugs and laughter are exchanged. One woman goes over to hug Park’s aunt and mother.
Inside Dept. 109
The courtroom opens and people file inside. Jane Robison from the DA’s office arrives.
The Park supporters here today appear to be fewer than what came every day to her murder trial. DDA Mathai chats with Gluck and Newman. Mathai turns and shakes Kassabian’s hand. DDA Mathai then leaves the courtroom and a woman seated in the gallery follows him into the ante chamber for a private chat.
We wait. There are no cameras in the gallery today. I note that I’ve never seen Judge Kennedy’s current bailiff crack a smile. He’s all serious business, keeping the gallery free of visible cell phones. DDA Catherine Chon arrives.
The bailiff comes over to a woman seated to my right, who has her cell phone in her lap. He says to her in a firm voice, “You know what I’m going to say right? Turn it off. Let me see you turn it off.”
There are a couple more DDA’s in the well that might be working on the case along with DDA Chon and Mathai.
Now DDA Chon and Mark Kassabian at at the clerks desk. A black family enters with a small child and a woman using a walker with a seat. Now, another defense attorney, who I’ve often seen at other hearings arrives. Since I'm pretty sure this defense attorney is not assigned to this case, it's a good bet there is case on calendar involving this other family.
Bail bondsman Josh Herman is here. A man who looks like he could be related to Tom Chronister arrives. This is the man who I thought was Tom on September 25. Counsel for the other case checks in with the clerk. A DDA in the other case arrives and also checks in with the clerk. Things are very busy in the well and slightly noisy in the gallery. The defense attorney in the other case stops by to speak to the woman seated beside me. More people arrive to support Park, and also the other case.
A man who was seated in the back row joins the other counsel in the well. In the bench seats in front of me, the very young, adorable little girl is talking to her mother. You can hear her high pitched voice echo in the courtroom. Another black woman enters with a child, a young boy, a bit older than the young girl. The children wave to each other.
Judge Kennedy's clerk asks, is everyone here for Park? Kassabian comes out from the custody area.
Park is brought out. She is now in jail blues. At the September 25 hearing, I overheard talk that all the women were put on a high security floor at the women's jail. That might have accounted for the orange jumpsuit. Now Park's status has changed to a lower security at the jail since she's in a blue jumpsuit.
Park's family smiles at her. Also smiling, Park turns back to look at her family several times. The court reporter comes out along with Judge Kennedy.
Judge Kennedy greets the room. “Morning,” she states.
The case is called. People v. Park. Mark Kassabian for defendant Kelly Park, present, in custody. Dayan Mathai for the people. Judge Kennedy states they are on calendar for bail review. She continues, “I’m in receipt of the letters of support filed by the defense and the people’s supplemental opposition motion.”
The court indicates to Kassabian to begin with his oral argument. “In our motion we asked the bail be reduced to half a million. Our rational is to take the 150 million insurance fraud, that [is] enhanced] because of the alleged amount by another [$?], and give credit to the seriousness of the allegations and double that.”
[I’m already lost with Kassabian’s calculations on what he thinks the bail should be, or if he’s arguing how the people calculated bail. The amount that sticks in my mind from memory that Kassabian asks for is under one million bail.]
“Is that a [more] reasonable bail verses the 18.5 million, which is excessive. ... The first issue is safety to the community. I’ve been through the grand jury transcripts. Ms. Park is barely mentioned. She is mentioned in areas regarding white collar [crimes?] related to [forgery?] and billing fraud ... and it’s very vague. She’s barely mentioned in the affidavit or in all submitted bail motions. ... Certainly, she’s not mentioned in any of the serious charges, the aggravated mayhem. ... [There’s] no allegation that she recruited any patients or the laying on the hands of the patients. ... Aggravated mayhem is a specific crime; a specific intent to harm. ... Based on what I’ve seen in the record so far ... it doesn’t compare.”
“Allegations related to Park’s alleged forgeries and fraudulent billing. ... all came back to more than six years ago. ... As you know your honor, Ms. Park was accused of murder. ... Since that time she had no involvement with Dr. Uwaydah’s business. .. [It?] all led up to this involvement ... She’s had no involvement, ... nothing in the transcript of the affidavits. ... So to give credence to an argument that her participation ... before [trial?] is a leap of [thought?].
Kassabian continues, “... that Park, who has a business and lives in Ventura County, would have to take time off to decide that, ‘I’m going to go back and get myself involved in fraudulent medical billing. ...’ She has not done that ... that’s not going to happen. ... There is no realistic [chance?] that Ms. Park, having not been involved in these businesses for six years, is suddenly going to dive into it. ... The allegations regarding safety to the community is [?]...”
“Let’s go to the main purpose of bail, to ensure that Ms. Park appears. ... That she [does not flee] and be here for all her hearings. ... And that she be here for trial. ... She has extensive ties to the community. Most of her family is here, her friends and family [are] attending. ... She is managing a business. [Kassabian says something about Park ordering supplies for "the restaurant." This must be Park's business, a restaurant in Ventura County.] ... She’s managed that business for the last six years. ... She hasn’t moved. Hasn’t changed her phone number throughout this investigation. ... We all know this has been going on for years. ... And late last night we got some declarations from the DA.”
Judge Kennedy replies, “The ones I read this morning.”
Kassabian moves forward. “There’s two general areas. One deals with Ronnie case, the ex-boyfriend, arrested various times in this investigation. ... He supposedly said he was going to be arrested, so he wore his bail slippers. ... the day before they were arrested, there were wide sale arrests in Mr. Uwaydah’s business, so it makes sense that there was communication ... But let’s look at what the consequences were of that communication. Did Mr. Case take of for Tijuana? Did Ms. Park leave? The answer is no. ... They knew they were potential targets but they just sat there. Mr. Case prepared himself to go into custody. [Law enforcement] saw Ms. Park and Mr. Chronister driving a car and Park in the passenger seat, drove out of the gated community. ... Then they didn’t see Ms. Park’s head. ... There’s no argument here. ... Assuming what the prosecution is going to argue, or going to infer, that Park was trying to evade arrest.”
Judge Kennedy replies, "I assume, otherwise, why were they going to tell me that?”
Kassabian continues to argue for his client. “... Since the acquittal, Ms. Park has had death threats, perhaps not arising to a [terrorist] level, [statements made? online?] ... she should be shot in the head; she should be dropped off the Santa Monica pier. ... A group of the victim's [Juliana Redding] friends, came and asked the DA's office to have some satisfaction ... they were asked to leave. ... [They replied/stated?] ... Oh, we know where she lives and can take care of this themselves."
Judge Kennedy replies, "The acquittal was years ago."
Kassabian continues with his argument. "If they [Park and her husband] see something that looks unusual, Park will hide."
Kassabian brings up her prior performance on bail. He mentions the "elephant in the room."
"Ms. Park was out on bond in a serious murder case where she was facing life without parole. ... Every day for every hearing she was here on time. She did not flee. She did not run away."
Judge Kennedy responds, "She did have three million reasons not to run."
Kassabian replies, "She did. And I remember, she did not run away."
Judge Kennedy agrees, "She did not."
Kassabian presses forward. "The day before the verdict, there were notes that came out of the jury room. I tried to be optimistic [but these notes] suggested strongly they were going to come back guilty. ... The next day, she was sitting where I was standing. She didn't flee then. ... And the jury, getting ready to announce the verdict ... knowing she was going through that door and all likelihood, she wasn't getting back out ... in circumstances that are much more dire than she [is facing?] here."
"Given that prior performance on bail, ... we are asking for now is perfectly reasonable. ... It will ensure her attendance in court. ... It will [?] ... safety to the community issue. ... The bail is excessive. A tenth of that is excessive."
DDA Dayan Mathai steps up to counter for the people.
"Framing for the court and counsel, that this hearing that we're doing ... the parameters set forth in the [law for bail] are very clear. ... Counsel is arguing something that the language of the statute really prohibits. ... In [penal code] 1275c, for purposes of this subdivision, unusual circumstances does not include all prior court appearances. ... As you know, this is a case where the bail schedule has dictated what the bail amount is. ... The bail that is set for Ms. Park is actually lower than the presumptive bail requires. ... We've decided to stick with it. ... The bail is already set below the bail schedule."
"I've pointed that out in our initial opposition. ... What the court must be concerned with, according to the statute here, ... public safety and the flight risk of the defendant."
DDA Mathai continues to detail the facts of the conspiracy, as revealed in the grand jury transcripts.
"This fact ... is a very complex, elaborate scheme, and various components in a conspiracy. ... Ms. Park is at the heart of the conspiracy. ... She was not [a tangential?] player. She was a principal with Dr. Uwaydah. ... She was essential. One of his trusted advisers. ... And what the evidence will show in the case, [she?[ had various keys and they were all centered around making money [schemes]. ... The money was made at all costs.
"The health of the patients in the clinics, that he runs and that Ms. Park was running ... the health of these patients wasn't even secondary. It was of no concern. ... The collaborators conducted schemes to maximize their profits and the health of the patients was of no concern. ... As his trusted adviser, the evidence in the grand jury shows she was given great authority ... in the clinics she was present at the surgery center and she attended meetings with Dr. Uwaydah where they discussed .... while surgeries were going on in another room by someone who was not trained."
"And the rationale, to justify in their own mind this criminal behavior that was occurring when she was [?] down the hall with [Uwaydah?] ... So what we have here is [criminal? conduct?] that is not the form, to justify the change [to reduce bail]."
"There is an enormous amount of evidence that Ms. Park was in a role ... there is an important part of the conspiracy that has to do with obfuscating and hiding the criminal conduct. ... That really is an important part of what Kelly Park played. ... background on the surgeries that were at the center ... the aggravated mayhem charges. ... Dr. Uwaydah had surgery privileges going back to 2005 all over southern California. ... And he traveled all over, and did so with his surgery assistant."
"Dr. Uwaydah got in trouble in one of those hospitals. It was serious trouble. He and Peter Nelson received letters from the chief of staff from Tustin Hospital, .... having Nelson perform surgery while he was not in the room, was totally prohibited. ... But the California Medical Board, the regulatory agency that oversaw the medical profession, opened an investigation that happened at Tustin Hospital, where Nelson was in trouble for conducting surgical procedures."
"Dr. Uwaydah had a pattern in all his schemes, ... that controlled the health care [of his patients]. ... Shell companies, transportation services for patients. ... That's part of these larger conspiracies. Her name was on some of these companies and bank accounts. ... When he got in trouble, he decided to open his own surgery center. By doing that, he took out any level of overseer that would have prohibited stopping ... of this criminal behavior."
"The medical board still continued to investigate. ... We have evidence that Park was involved ... What the allegation suggests was an attempt to distract and impede the California Medical Board investigation. .. All the while the medical board was investigating, this criminal investigation ... there were hearings and affidavits from Tustin Hospital [staff]. ... One of those witnesses was a doctor in Orange County, named Dr. Cosme ... A lot of this was happening in 2009, when Park was deeply involved with Uwaydah and his practice. ... We have recovered evidence that Park was investigating witnesses, who were going to testify against Uwaydah. ... In her computer we have basically an entire dossier on Dr. Cosme, and where he lived, his social security number, his home address. ... In her computer, in her house, she had the surgical nurses personal information. ... She hired a PI [private investigator] to do background checks on these medical staff. ... In her journal, we have her writing notes about getting information on these witnesses. That's scary stuff."
"Just before Dr. Cosme was supposed to testify, and let the court know what happened ... and I'm not saying that we have all the answers to this fit it is a fact that Dr. Cosme was shot at. He was walking through his neighborhood and he was shot [at?]. That's fact. ... Kelly Park's materials ...is information not only on Dr. Cosme but other nurses."
"In her computer we have correspondence with Ron Case, her ex-boyfriend, where she is giving him information about some of these witnesses. ... And what we believe ... we've shown in the grand jury, that in an email that is a big email ... was created on her computer about one of these witnesses. [It was a fake email.] ... The substance of the email given to Ron Case ... to put it in an email to make it show it came from one witness to another witness. ... It was an attempt to create false information, to make it appear like it came from another witness. ... What is scary about that your honor, information was received from a PI, that Park paid for, to get this information ..."
"One of the main victims in this case, Jennifer Malone, ... she received a surgery and it's in our charging document, where gauze was left in her arm, four to six weeks. Two feet of gauze. She finally got an x-ray, and it was removed without any anesthesia by Nelson at [Uwaydah's ? hospital?]. Jennifer Malone filed a lawsuit. ... We know from witnesses in the grand jury and ... other co-conspirators, they had a term for creating false documents to get what they want and that term was moorparking."
"When we learned of this evidence that they were fraudulently creating document ... if you look at Park's journal, you'll see the term 'moorparking' in relation to Jennifer Malone. ... You'll see the term moorparking."
[DDA Mathai continues but my fingers are tired. I have to take a break.]
Continuing with Mathai's argument. "We know from that lawsuit, ... that we obtained copies of, there was an arbitration agreement that was signed, to argue that she would not have a right to have a lawsuit, because she signed it, when she really didn't. [It appears they falsified an arbitration agreement so Malone could not sue.]
Looking over at Park, she appears to be slightly shaking her head 'no,' while DDA Mathai talks about the falsification of documents.
"She was connected to preventing this criminal activity coming to light. She is a co-conspirator [with] Uwaydah and Nelson. ... Any authority that did look into it ... she was involved in hiding it from the medical board and the courts. ... Fast forward to June 2010. ... Kelly Park was arrested on June 16, 2010. ... There was surveillance going on with Ronnie Case on a street in Camarillo. ... for this court's consideration of public safety and flight risk. ... We know she was arrested and told ... law enforcement wanted to get a swabbing of her fingerprints. ... She made a phone call from the jail. She called Ronnie Case and she told him that, 'I got arrested; they are getting my fingerprints' ... and she was getting rid of [this?] and coming home."
"The focus of time in that moment of when she came home, Ronnie Case was busy. He loaded up the truck. It was loaded up with a thousand prescription bottles of actual prescribed medication. ... It's all part and parcel of this elaborate scheme that Uwaydah had. ... And she [was] intricately involved with Golden State Pharmacy, which was his [Uwaydah's] pharmacy. ... She and her sister Kim were involved in the perpetration of the fraud of the pharmacy. ... He packed that [truck up] after the phone call, that she was arrested. ... He packed a laptop, thumb drives, and in Ronnie Case's pocket, was his barrel of a gun that was sawed, cut lengthwise, which experts, or anyone familiar with guns, by cutting it lengthwise, it obscures any testing on the gun."
"So the concerns in this case your honor, the point I'm making in this court, they do involve the very core of what the court should consider, flight risk. ... Counsel is saying he doesn't contend that she was hiding herself in the car, but taken together, she emailed at least one co-conspirator at the time she knows arrests were happening. ... If Ron Case was clueless as to the meaning of this email, she emailed him to warn him that he could get arrested. ... What's the significance of that? She doesn't know he has an arrest warrant. But she knows a co-conspirator, she knows she's engaged. She's warning him. The fact that he didn't act on it .... She warned him about the arrest when she sees several investigators outside her house."
DDA Mathai brings up more points to consider. "... is that Kelly Park does present a flight risk by her actions. They do represent a risk to public safety by the allegations in this case. ... I know the court has taken all these matters seriously and we've had several [defendant's?] in court on this case, and the court has reduced some [bail]. We ask the court not to reduce the bail, and have her have that bail in her case.
DDA Mathai continues, but there are counsel for the other case in the gallery who are moving around, speaking to family members and I am having trouble hearing.
"She had her name on several bank accounts ... that are part of the transcripts in this case and part of our argument. [We] ask the court not to reduce any" further ... not less than 15 million dollars.
Kassabian gets up to counter the people's argument.
"The DA has made serious arguments that will be very interesting at trial, and we are prepared to deal in the merits of the case. ... but no indication for the last six years. ... Ms Park has nothing to do with Mr. Uwaydah's business and no evidence that her involvement in forgery ... [She constituted?] no risk to the public on her release."
Kassabian talks more about the PI, and that she claims that she was working for. "If that's an indication of the threat to the community, then all the attorneys who have conducted ... contacted PI's ..."
Judge Kennedy interjects, "Attorneys, [yes], ... but an office manager? It's a little unseemly."
Kassabian counter's the courts response. "In my experience, people will do things on their own ... and it was done through a PI and they are in that business. ... Does that suggest from six years ago a doctor she doesn't work for anymore ... does that mean a risk now? The answer is no. ... We are prepared to deal with the merits of this case. ... Is she a flight risk? No. ... What we are here for is bail and not to try the case. ... If she is released on bail she will attend every hearing in this case. ... What the DA has presented is the case. ... What is lacking is the why and why she is a threat to the community now.""
Kassabian states something to the effect of the likelihood of Parks appearance, then adds, "The current bail is unreasonable and excessive. A fraction of the bail is excessive."
Judge Kennedy rules. "I think taking into account the public safety, ... reduce bail to 10 million and 1275 remains in effect."
Kassabian informs the court that the LA County Sheriff's no longer have the women in "K-10" [a high security floor at the women's detention center], but there is some sort of separation order, keeping Park in solitary confinement, and they [her counsel?] don't kow about that."
Judge Kennedy answers, "I had my bailiff look into this." Judge Kennedy's bailiff responds, "Because this case is notorious; newsworthy."
Judge Kennedy adds, "I leave classification [of detainees] up to the Sheriff. I don't tell him where he needs to house defendants, and he doesn't tell me how to run my courtroom. ...I know that when we made the inquiry last time, a couple of the defendants were changed from K-10 to K6. ... I don't know if she's notorious ... [other?] than the prior case. I don't know. ... But unless you want to talk to someone there, ... I don't have a problem ... sheriff houses her in where they think is appropriate. ... You're saying she gets threats ... maybe some of the other inmates have threatened her. ... And you brought up other threats ... she has other enemies, and what people are upset about ... what happened at her murder trial ... and maybe there are people in the jail ... I don't know. And if you find out information, we can take up the issue again on the fifteenth [10/15]."
Kassabian tells the court that Ms. Park needs specific medication that she was prescribed by her doctor. He has a letter from her doctor. She tells Kassabian that she will sign a medical order. "I will order that they examine her. ... And if you want to communicate that she was prescribed medication, but I don't tell a doctor what medication [to prescribe]."
Kassabian tells the court that he has a letter from her doctor and should he give it to his client. The court tells him to give it to the bailiff, and to fill out a medical order and she will sign it. Kassabian thanks the court.
When Park gets up from her seat to be taken back into custody, she turns around and smiles at her family.
Kassabian then addresses the court on David Johnson. He is asking to advance Johnson's scheduled court date from October 7 to October 14. He is standing in for Johnson's counsel.
The next issue is medical records from Men's Central Jail. There was a prior agreement that Ms. Chon would take custody.
Benjamin Gluck and Ariel Neuman, are next to be heard. They are following up on the grand jury transcripts and the grand jury instructions. DDA Chon has an update to the court. She sent out a mass update. Judge Brandlin changed the procedure regarding the grand jury exhibits. That has been resolved. The exhibits are in the grand jury room and the defense has access. Judge Kennedy asks, "Does that mean they can go in and copy them?" DDA Chon confirms, "They can go in and make copies of them."
Mr. Neuman tells the court, "Then that leaves three questions." I believe he's asking where the exhibits are, physically. DDA Chon answers where ever the clerk's exhibit room is. Now Mr. Neuman is asking about the grand jury instructions, and getting a physical copy of those.
DDA Chon answers regarding the instructions, that Judge Brandlin did sign the order with instructions. The court reporter is preparing [a list?]. DDA Chon believes there were two court reporters and as soon as those instructions are ready, they will contact the defense. Mr. Neuman asks where the exhibits have been, all this time. "Just because of this snafu, we need to know where they've been." Judge Kennedy tells him, "You will have to investigate." DDA Chon answers, "I believe they were with the grand jury adviser." Judge Kennedy asks, "That is a DA?" DDA Chon replies with the advisers name.
Judge Kennedy responds, "I don't know if they were in the DA's office or the grand jury room. You'll need to find out.
Neuman is asking more specific questions on the instructions given to the grand jury. He says something that they [the transcripts?] reference instructions on conspiracy law. And the grand jury is told, previously told, received in [?], and Neuman is trying to find where those are. The people don't seem to know.
DDA Chon answers, "They were read the instructions. I don't know what they were provided. And Judge Brandlin doesn't require that the actual instructions be turned over but they were written as part of the order." Judge Kenndy states, "On the Bell matter, this came up. ... There were instructions they received on any case. Then they get instructions on a specific case. ... I don't know if they still do that. ... It may be they get general instructions as they did a couple years ago. ... Then they get the specific instructions that would have been read in connection to this indictment. ... You are interested in both?"
Someone surmises that they need to check with the grand jury adviser. There's more discussion about these instructions and whether they need a court order. Neuman is asking for a copy of what the grand jury was given. DDA Chon will look into that and have that resolved by the fifteenth [10/15]. DDA Chon states she will follow up today and email all counsel as to her progress. They are back on the ninth [10/9] for another hearing.
The next post on this case can be found HERE.