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L.A. investigator pleads no contest to conspiracy in payoff of alleged rape victim

October 6, 2009 |  1:23 pm

A private investigator who has worked for such high-profile criminal defendants as Michael Jackson and Winona Ryder pleaded no contest today to conspiracy to obstruct justice and bribery in connection with the payoff of an alleged rape victim, a spokeswoman for the L.A. County district attorney's office said.

Bradley G. Miller entered the open plea to one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice and three counts of bribing a witness in the courtroom of L.A. County Superior Court Judge Lance A. Ito, court spokeswoman Jane Robison said. The plea came during a pretrial hearing.

The charges stem from Miller's work for Alex Izquierdo, who was charged in 2006 with multiple counts of rape, torture, false imprisonment and other crimes for allegedly abusing his live-in girlfriend. She told police he had burned her with an iron, sodomized her and threatened to kill her.

Miller and two other men are accused of conspiring to take the woman to Las Vegas on the day in 2005 that she was to testify against Izquierdo, who faces life in prison if convicted.

"Mr. Miller wants to put this behind him," said Miller's attorney, Mark Werksman. "This will allow him to get on with his life."

Attorney Mark Geragos, who represented Izquierdo, is not accused of involvement in the alleged conspiracy. Izquierdo's father, George Izquierdo, and Camilo Valentin were charged along with Miller in the bribery case, prosecutors said.

In a 2007 preliminary hearing where a judge found sufficient evidence for the three to stand trial, Deputy Dist. Atty. Frank Tavelman presented telephone, financial and other records detailing an elaborate scheme to spirit away the woman and buy her silence.

The woman, who is not named in this report because The Times generally does not identify victims of sexual assaults, told district attorney investigators that Valentin had met her at a Highland Park laundromat and at an Alhambra juice shop weeks before the trial and told her that George Izquierdo would take care of her financially for the rest of her life if she did not testify against his son.

On the morning she was to testify, the woman met Valentin at an Alhambra toy store and the two drove to Las Vegas, prosecutors said. Tavelman said Valentin's diary, seized at his residence, contained an entry saying it would be "an interesting day with [woman's name]. I hope I can pull it off."

While driving to Las Vegas, Valentin spoke with Miller and George Izquierdo, phone records show. Valentin and the woman stayed in the Bally's and Aladdin hotels, where they were joined by the woman's new boyfriend.

Tavelman said Valentin bought the woman and her boyfriend bus tickets to Arizona, where the boyfriend had relatives. But Tavelman said the couple instead went to Florida to stay with the woman's sister.

Prosecutors said Valentin gave the woman $2,500 in cash, and the three conspirators wired her more than $9,000. Tavelman presented bank surveillance photographs in court of Miller cashing a $5,000 check from George Izquierdo, then depositing $4,000 into Valentin's account.

George Izquierdo's attorney, Harland Braun, previously noted that his client hired Miller to work for him on a civil case before his son was accused of rape, so it was normal for them to speak frequently on the phone. Furthermore, according to Braun, the phone conversations with Miller were normal behavior for "a father defending his son."

Miller made news when police searched his office during the 2004 child molestation case against Michael Jackson. Jackson's lawyers called the raid a breach of attorney-client privilege.

-- Richard Winton

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