Another trophy for Norm Yatooma?

 In News

The big news in today’s papers: new witnesses are signing affidavits relating to the fabled Manoogian Mansion party and the rumored beating of exotic dancer Tamara Greene in 2002, allegedly (so the rumor goes) by Carlita Kilpatrick, the mayor’s wife.

Greene was murdered in 2003 in an unsolved slaying but one the police are now saying was a drugland killing.

Today’s news was generated by Norm Yatooma, who is pressing a civil lawsuit on Greene’s son’s behalf in federal court. Yatooma has filed the new accounts of people who, after waiting more than five years, are saying they saw Greene’s injuries and heard her say she was beaten by Carlita Kilpatrick, the mayor’s wife, at the mansion.

Whew.

When I read the stories this morning, all I could think of was my lunch with Yatooma a few weeks ago. Occasionally, a nonprofit will ask if I will offer a lunch-with-the-publisher up as an auction item. I met Yatooma for the first time through such a charity bid.

It was a great lunch, with a wide-ranging conversation, including Yatooma’s anecdotes about the case that first brought him notoriety — defending and then suing larger-than-life restaurateur LeVan Hawkins.

Yatooma won his case for unpaid legal fees against Hawkins, and he proudly wears a glittering, diamond-encrusted Rolex watch as a trophy. The watch had been Hawkins, who is now in prison on tax-relatd charges. “It’s like having a dead deer head on my wrist,” Yatooma told me of the watch.

I thought at the time he was out for a new trophy — this one with the mayor’s name on it. During our lunchtime conversation, Yatooma alluded to new witnesses coming forward, and he also said he had assigned them numbers for security reasons. He said people were terrified to speak.

But in today’s Free Press, Yatooma was quoted as saying: “The mayor is simply less intimidating today with a tether around his ankle than he was in 2002 or 2003 when he was firing cops who disagreed with him.”

Stay tuned.

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