Los Angeles divorce lawyer Marvin Mitchelson vowed Tuesday to block a state agency from "paying one penny" to two women who accused him of sexually assaulting them.
The three-member state Board of Control, which determines compensation for crime victims, awarded the women--both former clients of Mitchelson--$56,000 for medical and psychiatric care after determining that they were, in fact, victims of a crime.
"This was thoroughly investigated by the Los Angeles Police Department, the district attorney, the attorney general and everyone else," an outraged Mitchelson said in a telephone interview from Baton Rouge, La.
In 1987, the Los Angeles County district attorney's office investigated the complaints and decided not to prosecute. The state attorney general's office also declined to intervene.
The board approved the awards after hearing testimony from the women, Kristin Barrett-Whitney and Patricia French; a psychiatrist, and a Los Angeles Police detective. The assaults were alleged to have occurred in 1981 and 1985.
Mitchelson, who attracted national attention by initiating so-called "palimony" suits, said he had no knowledge of the hearing.
"This is the most incredible Star Chamber proceeding, the most incredible lack of due process I've ever heard of," Mitchelson said. "I'm the alleged perpetrator, and I was not even invited. . . . Under the Constitution, I'm entitled to due process and equal protection of the law."
He said he will file suit against the panel to keep it from paying "these so-called victims." He also said he is considering a federal court suit against the board for violating his civil rights.
A spokesman for Barrett-Whitney said she is calling upon the State Bar to make public the status of its investigation of charges of misconduct by Mitchelson. He said Barrett-Whitney has learned that there are "several boxes of complaints" of alleged misconduct by Mitchelson. She also is calling for appointment of a special prosecutor or a "fresh look" by the district attorney at the allegations, the spokesman said.
Mitchelson called Barrett-Whitney a "professional extortionist who has 14 known aliases."
"She sues people. This is what she does for a living," he said.