Orange County defense attorney James Patterson didn't have a great day at his job on Wednesday. Ostensibly there to represent a woman in the Santa Ana courthouse testifying for a case, his morning took a turn when an unnamed investigator approached Patterson and let him know he thought defense attorneys were ethically slimy, the Los Angeles Times reports.
"All I was trying to do was simply talk to the witness and give her the information she needed so she could make her appropriate choices and he started commenting on how defense attorneys are sleazy and I simply reminded him that the district attorney's office isn't too much better," Crawford told ABC Los Angeles.
That's when, the Times says, the unnamed investigator "flicked a large paperclip" in Crawford's direction. Crawford responded in kind, throwing the large paperclip right back at the investigator. And then the investigator snapped.
“The investigator then grabs [Crawford's] head and slams it into the bench and then punches him like 10 times in the face and head,” Crawford's lawyer told the Times.
Crawford suffered a black eye and a bloody nose.
Some allege the fight wasn't really about paperclip malfeasance, but over the use of informants in court cases. Crawford represents Henry Rodriguez, a convicted murderer who was granted a new trial after successfully arguing that prosecutors illegally used a jailhouse informant.
"The D.A. investigator is assaulting a guy who just got a new trial for someone," Crawford's lawyer said. "It is his only apparent motive."
Michael Rosen is a reporter for Fusion based out of Oakland.