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.