As Seen on TV: HBO Footage Confirms Alibi
Friday, March 9, 2007
LOS ANGELES -- A man who was cleared of murder when outtakes from the HBO comedy "Curb Your Enthusiasm" put him at Dodger Stadium when the crime occurred will get $320,000 in a settlement with the city.
The Los Angeles City Council agreed Wednesday to settle the police misconduct lawsuit filed by Juan Catalan, who spent nearly five months in jail before footage from the show confirmed his alibi.
Catalan, 28, was arrested for the May 2003 slaying of Martha Puebla, 16, outside her home. He told detectives he was innocent and was at a Dodgers game when the crime occurred.
His defense lawyer, Todd Melnik, went through footage of crowd shots from the televised game between the Dodgers and the Atlanta Braves, but did not find his client. Then he learned that the HBO comedy starring former "Seinfeld" co-creator Larry David had been shooting at the ballpark that day.
"There he was in the outtakes," said Gary S. Casselman, the attorney handling Catalan's lawsuit. "He's glad it's over."
The scene, which ended up on the cutting room floor, showed Catalan with his 6-year-old daughter and two friends.
The footage was time coded, confirming that Catalan was at the ballpark shortly before the time of the murder 20 miles away.
Records of a cellphone call, made from Dodger Stadium, between Catalan and his girlfriend also helped persuade a judge to release him.
Someone else is now being prosecuted for the slaying, Casselman said.
Catalan was not a fan of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" before his time in jail, but "he is now," Casselman said.