Ex-'Laguna' star Jason Wahler wants troubled past suppressed
By Christopher Rocchio, 08/21/2008
Jason Wahler has claimed he doesn't remember his myriad of arrests, and now he apparently wants a judge to forget them too.
Attorneys for the former Laguna Beach star have filed papers requesting a Los Angeles judge suppress any evidence that could paint Wahler in a negative light at his upcoming civil trial, E! News reported Wednesday.
Tow truck driver Dario Stevenson claims that in September 2006, Wahler was traveling in a car with friends when their vehicle was blocked by his tow truck, which was trying to move an illegally parked vehicle.
Stevenson claims he was "roughed up" by Wahler while trying to impound the other car, according to E! News, which added the vehicle Wahler was a passenger in almost "clipped" the tow truck as well as traffic officer Jonathan Wallace.
In addition, both Wallace and Stevenson -- who are African-American -- have claimed Wahler used the N-word during the incident. Stevenson sued in civil court for compensatory and punitive damages for the verbal and physical altercation, according to E! News.
However Wahler's attorneys are trying to assure that their client's well-documented previous troubles with the law don't come into play during the civil trial.
Wahler was arrested again in April 2007 in Seattle and booked on charges of assault and criminal trespassing. According to the incident report, officers responded to a disturbance at a Marriott hotel where a security guard claimed two guests had been wrestling in the lobby. After issuing warnings to stop, the guard reportedly accused Wahler of punching him in the mouth before he was restrained by a friend.
Wahler then allegedly fled the hotel, only to return "a short time later" when police found him passed out in a third-floor hallway "smelling strongly of alcohol."
He received a 30-day sentence when he plead guilty to charges of assault and a minor exhibiting signs of intoxication. He was also originally charged with criminal trespassing, however that charge was dropped. Wahler subsequently served 20 days in prison before being released for good behavior.
Among the evidence Wahler's attorneys reportedly want suppressed during the civil trial are the April 2007 Seattle arrest; a 2006 conviction for resisting arrest and bribery following a bust in New York; and his use of the N-word with Stevenson and Wallace.
"[Wahler] was arrested in New York and in Seattle as a result of incidents not remotely related to this lawsuit," his lawyers argue in their motion, according to E! News. "Such evidence should not be allowed to reach the jury inasmuch as it would only constitute evidence of character which is inadmissible."
Wahler and former girlfriend Kristen DeLuca were passengers in the car driven by the unidentified "friend" during the incident involving Stevenson and Wallace. Three weeks ago, DeLuca agreed to pay $3,000 in a settlement with Stevenson, according to E! News.
Wallace filed an assault, battery and violation of civil rights lawsuit against Wahler and DeLuca last August, and the complaint has yet to be heard.