A jail house informant who testified earlier this week that McMartin Pre-School defendant Raymond Buckey had admitted, while they were cell mates, to multiple child molestations may have committed perjury in an earlier case, Deputy Dist. Atty. Lael Rubin told a judge Wednesday.
"We believe Mr. (George) Freeman may have lied under oath," Rubin said after asking Superior Court Judge William Pounders to appoint an attorney to advise the oft-convicted felon, who contacted authorities after sharing a cell with Buckey for two days in March, 1984.
Freeman is the only adult witness who has testified to knowledge of Buckey's alleged sexual abuse. He testified that Buckey confessed to sodomizing a 2-year-old and mentioned molesting several other children, having sex with his sister and burying incriminating photographs in South Dakota.
Buckey, 29, and his mother, Peggy McMartin Buckey, 60, are charged with 99 counts of molestation and one count of conspiracy involving 14 children who attended the now-closed Manhattan Beach nursery school.
Outside the courtroom, Buckey's attorney, Daniel Davis, accused Rubin of withholding the information about Freeman until after the witness had done "irrevocable" damage to his client's case in front of a jury, then suggesting that Freeman needed a lawyer and might want to invoke Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination during cross-examination by the defense.
However, Rubin said the perjury problem "hit me over the head" on her way home from court Tuesday. "Mr. Freeman comes to this court and this testimony with a lot of baggage," she said outside the courtroom. "It's been our intention from the beginning to lay this all out."
She said Freeman admitted having lied previously during an interview with her and an investigator Sept. 16.
The alleged perjury took place in 1980 at a murder trial stemming from riots at Soledad Prison, and Freeman may have compounded that perjury in a 1984 Los Angeles murder trial and in the McMartin Pre-School preliminary hearing, the attorneys said.
Pounders appointed attorney Rand Rubin (no relation to the prosecutor) to advise Freeman on his rights and asked him to report back today.