With the case back on the calendar, the city began to organize its resources for the fight against Scott Enyart. Although his office had 358 attorneys on staff, City Attorney James Hahn retained . Louis "Skip" Miller of the law firm Christensen, White, Miller, Fink, Jacobs, Glaser & Shapiro to handle the Enyart case.
Christensen, White had been one of the law firms hired by Los Angeles the previous year to defend councilman Nate Holden against charges of sexual harassment. The firm received a reported $800,000 for its successful defense, and the money spent on Holden's defense became a page-one story in the Los Angeles Times, . According to the Times, the contract for Christensen, White allowed the city to be billed $250 an hour for a partner, $175 an hour for an associate attorney, and $70 an hour for a paralegal.
The Christensen, White partner who had defended the Holden lawsuit was Skip Miller. His assumption of the Enyart case stimulated another protest in the Los Angeles Times. "Why," asked columnist Bill Boyarsky, "is Los Angeles paying $225 an hour to Miller, a Century City courtroom star, instead of letting a deputy city attorney do the job for about a quarter of the cost? Is it because the city is trying to cover up failures in the Kennedy investigation, as Enyart charges?"'
City Attorney Hahn answered that Miller was brought into the case to combat any latent perception that there was "a giant conspiracy" responsible for the murder of Robert Kennedy. "It is important to emphasize," said Hahn, "the credibility of the Los Angeles Police Department."' Boyarsky then concluded that Miller was hired because the case was "too big for the city and the LAPD to lose."
With the outside law firm in place, trial preparations moved forward. Motions for discovery were filed, depositions taken, and a new search for Scott Enyart's missing photographs begun. Then, an unexpected discovery. In August 1995, attorneys for the city found photos and negatives in the state archives that seemed to match those that Scott Enyart had received back from the police in 1968. The pictures had been booked and filed under the name of George Ross Clayton, and there was only one set of negatives with 30 images. Clayton could not be located, but from what could be deduced from the original 1968 police reports, there appeared to be a legitimate question as to whether Clayton had been the source of the film.
Scott Enyart and his attorney Christine Harwell traveled to Sacramento to inspect the new discovery. Although the images there appeared to match most of the photographs he had received back from the police, Enyart claimed that there was some mistake. The film found at the archives was Ilford brand, 125 ASA, while Enyart claimed that the night of the California primary he had been using Kodak, Tri-X, 400 ASA.
Enyart suggested that if the images were indeed his, then some sort of forgery must have taken place. He would testify at his trial that he noticed enhanced contrast in the images, which suggested to him a generational copying from the original negatives. He also noted that the single roll of film in the archives appeared to include images from all three of the rolls he said he had shot. He said that some of the photographs appeared to be out of sequence. And there were no photographs at all from inside the pantry.
With the authenticity of the discovered film now challenged, superior court judge Emilie Elias* ordered the negatives delivered from Sacramento to the court in Los Angeles where they could be used as evidence in the trial and be examined by photographic experts for both the plaintiff and the defense. On January 12, 1996, just a month before the scheduled start of the trial, courier George Philip Gebhardt flew from Sacramento to Los Angeles. In his locked briefcase was a folder containing the negatives.
When he arrived in Los Angeles Gebhardt went to the Midway Rent-A-Car agency where he picked up a white Mazda sedan, which he had reserved. On Century Boulevard just outside the airport, the courier stopped for a red light. According to his videotaped testimony in court (Gebhardt had suffered a heart attack shortly after this incident and testified from his hospital bed), a red car pulled up next to him and a Hispanic man got out and began to bang on his own car for no apparent reason. A block later the white Mazda was making a dull thumping noise. Gebhardt pulled over, got out to inspect and found that his right rear tire was slashed. When he got back into his car, the briefcase with the negatives was gone.
With the most important piece of evidence now stolen, the trial was postponed. The rising intrigue, however, found a forum in the media. In a story printed in the Los Angeles Times, Enyart's attorney Alvin Greenwald hinted at conspiracy. "Somebody, for some reason," he said, "is making sure those photos do not reach public view."
"What happened here," responded attorney Skip Miller in the I same story, "is just a petty theft. A run of bad luck."
The television show Unsolved Mysteries was quick to broadcast a story on the Enyart case. During that program a photograph was displayed, which was said to be new evidence. It was from The Last Campaign, a book by Bill Eppridge and Hays Gorey, documenting Robert Kennedy's 1968 quest for the presidential nomination. The book included ten photographs Eppridge had shot in the chaotic hotel pantry after the attack upon Robert Kennedy. In the selected print, a young man with a camera could be seen in the background, standing on a table, taking photographs. The young man was said to be Scott Enyart.
Court TV, which was hoping to televise the upcoming trial, then ran a story of its own. In the nationally televised segment, Assistant City Attorney Edmund Fimbres commented on Enyart's claim that he took important photographs of Kennedy being shot. "It's just a fish story," he said with disdain. "Over the years the fish has gotten bigger."