The nitty-gritty details of the behind-the-scenes discussions between San Francisco police and truTV's Bait Car reality TV show will likely be revealed in court -- soon.
On Thursday, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Andrew Cheng said he was granting a motion that will force prosecutors to hand over all of the conversations and information exchanged between the city and the show's producers regarding the on-camera sting that was conducted last year.
The ruling applies to the cases of four alleged car thieves who were busted on-camera while taking a car that was intentionally abandoned by undercover cops, often with the door open and the keys in the ignition.
The Public Defender's Office is calling Thursday's ruling a victory for the defendants.
"It's everything we want," says Evan Budaj, a volunteer with the Public Defender's Office. "I know on TV, I've seen officers running with their
guns out. I've seen the girls who jump out [of the bait car] and make a
He continues, "It will be interesting to see if those two things are things
they planned ahead of time, like 'Yeah, you should run up to the car
with your guns out because that's good for TV,' or is that something
they thought of at the time?"
Cheng said he was granting the motion, but it won't become official until the public defender submits the order and police have the opportunity to formally object to it.
Highlights from the public defender's request include the following:
The defense attorneys scored another victory earlier this year, when two
San Francisco judges demanded that prosecutors release all of KKI's footage of the alleged car
As we wrote in our January cover story,
KKI argued that the footage was protected by the federal shield law for
journalists. Yet Cheng and Judge Gerardo Sandoval rejected that
argument, ruling that KKI had waived its shield law privileges when it signed its contract with the city. The contract stated that KKI would hand over
any footage subpoenaed by the city or the District Attorney's Office.
With the new requested information at hand, defense attorneys might be able to produce a similar argument to that of Deputy Public Defender Steve Rosen, who argued that because police had left the car with the goal for someone to steal it, there wasn't a "lack of consent," key language of the
really interesting things in these documents," he says. "I'm excited to see what's