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     "It now is evident that the entire time she was using me and setting me up to aid her ex-husband to avoid him having to spend the rest of his natural life in prison," Trammell complained in a March 2 letter to Wade. The most bizarre thing about Trammell's letter are the questions at the end. "How tall are you? Are you a large woman, of medium build or slim? Would you describe yourself as very beautiful, or as pretty, or as average-looking?"
"It now is evident that the entire time she was using me and setting me up to aid her ex-husband to avoid him having to spend the rest of his natural life in prison."
     If the letter is taken at face value, one must conclude that Trammell suffered from a deep mental disturbance or, at the very least, a loneliness so pathologically intense that he resorted to desperate tactics for companionship.
     Police also discovered in Trammell's possession a letter dated January 1 from Wade which said Lo had told her that she wanted to escape Jin's mental abuse and had found Trammell to be a friend. It appears that Wade had met and befriended Lo during the 13 months Lo had spent in the county jail until entering her no contest plea and receiving probation from Trammell.
     The facts warrant the filing of rape, assault and corruption charges against Judge Trammell. Incredibly, on March 12, the District Attorney's office opined against filing charges on the ground that Trammell's conduct didn't "fit the definition of any crime." That conclusion might have been warranted if the DA's office believed Trammell and disbelieved Lo completely. In fact, statements by deputy DA Morrison suggests that the DA's office chose to see Lo as a liar and Trammell as a victim of a scheme by Jin to get out of his conviction.
     That questionable view ignores the chronology of events, Trammell's highly irregular court rulings against Jin beginning back in April of 1996 and the evidence produced in support of Jin's habeas petition, including tapes of incriminating conversations between Trammell and Lo, phone bills showing calls between Trammell's chambers and home and Lo's home, witnesses of late-night restaurant meals and Trammell's body hairs. The evidence makes clear that Trammell took the first deliberate step toward pressuring Lo into a sexual relationship as far back as late April, while Jin's trial was still pending. What's more, after the trial Trammell deliberately made a series of highly unusual rulings to prolong his power over Jin while essentially extorting Lo into sexual liaisons. Contrary to the DA's initial assertion, the California Penal Code contains many provisions under which a public official can be put away for several lifetimes for what Trammell appears to have done.
     Fortunately for Jin and Lo, the DA's office couldn't close the book on Trammell so quickly and quietly. As soon as its decision to drop its investigation of Trammell was announced on April 7, the state Commission on Judicial Performance announced its own investigation.
     More importantly, the filing of Jin's habeas petition prompted the Appellate Court to order a Superior Court evidentiary hearing on the allegations of gross judicial abuses contained in Jin's petition. In a show of brotherly solidarity or perhaps judicial fastidiousness, all the judges of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County recused themselves from being considered for the assignment. Instead Judge Frank Fasel of the Orange County Superior Court was appointed to sit temporarily as a Los Angeles Superior Court judge to conduct the hearing. The key witness at the April 12 hearing was Pifen Lo. With Jin and Chu in the audience, she sobbed as she recounted the details of her involvement with Trammell. The tapes she had secretly recorded were played. Trammell's body hairs were presented for inspection. Trammell didn't testify. Fasel's findings shows that he essentially believed Lo's story. Attorney Robert S. Gerstein was appointed to represent Ming Jin in his effort at obtaining a new trial. The new trial motions of both Jin and Chu were heard and granted by Judge Fasel on July 21.

     "Our position was completely vindicated," Gerstein told the L.A. Times.
     The new trial order was "proof I wasn't lying," Lo said. "I'm happy. My husband gets a new trial."
     The retrials of both Jin and Chu were assigned to Judge Jacqueline Connor at the downtown Criminal Courts Building. She set them to start early September.
     Meanwhile, Jin and Lo weren't waiting for the criminal justice system to redress the wrongs they suffered as victims. They retained attorney Gary Casselman to file a claim for battery, infliction of emotional distress and civil rights violations against the County of Los Angeles based on Trammell's actions. The legal doctrine of sovereign immunity requires a claim against a governmental body first to be filed against the entity as a prerequisite to a civil damages suit. Once the county rejects the claim, a civil suit will likely be filed naming Trammell as another defendant.
     Trammell faces other consequences. After his resignation, he reactivated his State Bar membership, presumably with an eye toward practicing law. The State Bar has expressed interest in looking into disciplinary action. It could disbar Trammell if it finds his conduct to show that he is unfit to practice law.
     Most importantly from the standpoint of justice, after the new trial motion was granted, the Los Angeles DA's office apeared to reverse its position and take a "fresh" look at filing criminal charges against Trammell.

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