I was a guest on GDLA – the local morning show on Fox 11 in Los Angeles – with co-hosts Megan Colarossi and Elex Michaelson where we discussed was how different the media is today with the Internet, the 24-hour news cycle and social media compared to 1993 when the first Menendez trial took place.
If the trial were held today, I believe the verdict would have been manslaughter – not a murder.
In the current era of #MeToo, #MenToo, and the report by the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office about abuse in the Catholic Church, people are more open and willing today to believe that boys as well as girls can be abuse victims.
It has been two months since the release of The Menendez Murders.
I am grateful for all the TV shows, podcasts, radio interviews, newspapers, and websites that have helped me share a new version of this story – the truth.
In the 2018 era of #MeToo, #MenToo, and the revelations about the Catholic Church, people are more willing to accept that Erik and Lyle Menendez’s emotional testimony of being abused was the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
Glenn Yeffeth, the boss at my publisher BenBella Books, interviewed me for the company’s podcast, Building Books, and we talked how most of the mainstream media got the original Menendez story wrong in the 1990s.
My first draft was 250,000 words and BenBella only wanted to publish 100,000 words.
The public was outraged that the two 1994 juries – one for each brother – could not reach verdicts in the first Menendez trial. All the jurors agreed that a homicide had been committed. Most of the women voted for manslaughter, but almost all of the men wanted to convict Erik and Lyle of murder.
When I interviewed most of the jurors after the trial, men mostly told me some variation of “a father would never do that to his sons.”
The Menendez family money was gone after the first trial. Most of the family estate – estimated at $6-8,000,000 – went to the attorneys, defense investigators and taxes.
Defense attorney Leslie Abramson was appointed by the court at $125 an hour.
The mainstream media signed on to the District Attorney’s 1993 theory that Erik and Lyle Menendez were a pair of greedy rich kids, and that included NBC’s Jay Leno.
Leno’s monologues on The Tonight Show often featured at least one joke based on the Menendez testimony of the day.
When Erik admitted that he had a hard time getting dates, this was Jay’s gag:
Yesterday, Erik said his parents made fun of him because he never had a girlfriend. You know, I don’t know how to break it to him, but shooting your Mom and Dad isn’t really going to help your chances.
Through his unparalleled access – and his relentlessly detailed reporting – Robert Rand became America’s unofficial “Menendez-whisperer” when this story dominated the news.
Now, Rand is back, with stunning, never-before seen revelations in The Menendez Murders – a landmark work that upends everything we thought we knew about these crimes, and may rock the criminal justice system. Deeply compelling and meticulously sourced, it’s the essential read of the year. — Evan Wright, author, Generation Kill.
All of the early media speculation was focused on a connection between the Jose’s home video business and the Mafia.
It was years before the internet, social media, and the 24-hour news cycle. I spent two days with Lyle and Erik Menendez in October while reporting a biography of Jose Menendez’s rags to riches story that ended in tragedy.
The brothers told me loving stories about their parents and were emotionally appropriate. They were not suspects publicly and I had no reason to be suspicious of them.
After 29 years of reporting, my book The Menendez Murders has finally been released. I’m happy that I can share my work with everybody in the U.S. and around the world who remain fascinated by the case.
It was great fun to hold a discussion, answer questions, and sign books Sunday at the legendary Book Soup on the Sunset Strip.