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Beryl Lieff Benderly

“Bizarre” Twist in Harran/UCLA Case on the Eve of Scheduled Plea Hearing

In what the Los Angeles Times tems a “bizarre turn” in the criminal case against UCLA and Patrick Harran in the death of Sheri Sangji, the defense is attempting to discredit the investigator who wrote the state report, which severely criticizes Harran and the university and forms an important element of the prosecution case.  In court papers filed on 26 July, the day before the scheduled arraingment in the Sangji case, the defense charges that the investigator, Brian Baudendistel, has a juvenile criminal record arising from a murder.  Baudendistel has reportedly denied involvement.  Juvenile case records are not publicly available. The defense papers request that the arrest warrant for Harran be quashed.

With the long-delayed arraigment of Harran and UCLA scheduled for 27 July, this move introduces a new element of surprise.  The delays have reportedly been justified by efforts to strike a plea agreement between the prosecutors and the defense.  This new development suggests a different defense strategy, to say the least.

Stay tuned.