THE TRIAL WITHIN A TRIAL
The star psychological witness of the first Menendez trial will have a greatly diminished role the next time around. Jerome Oziel, the therapist Erik confessed to five months before the brothers were arrested, may not testify.
Oziel’s appearance resulted in a six-day cross-examination that exposed every detail of the stormy relationship with his former mistress. Judalon Smyth. After her romance with the psychologist soured, Smyth went to the police in March 1990 and said that she had overheard the brothers confess to Oziel. Lyle and Erik were arrested days later.
In a lawsuit she filed against Oziel, Smyth claimed she was his patient and accused him of beating, drugging, kidnapping and raping her. But a countersuit filed by Oziel and his wife maintained that Smyth was a desperately disturbed woman who came into their lives and held them hostage in their home with a series of threats that included suicide, murder and exposure of confidential information about the Menendez case. Smyth reportedly received a settlement of between $400.000 and $500,000 from Oziel’s malpractice insurance.
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