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After spending three years in prison, Josh Waring sounds more like a young lawyer vigorously preparing for trial to defend his client’s life. Except instead of defending someone else, Waring is fighting for his own. 

Waring is the son of Lauri Peterson from The Real Housewives of Orange County. Peterson has since left the show, choosing to focus on her family in recent years. When she was on the show, viewers saw her struggle with Waring’s addition to drugs. This addiction may have been the catalyst to why he is currently incarcerated.

Josh Waring | Photo by Lauri Peterson

He describes a situation where he may have been in the wrong place at the wrong time in 2016. Waring was allegedly spotted at the scene of a drug house shooting and was charged with the crime. But Waring insists he did not do the shooting and is being falsely accused. He believes the shooter is Bryan Goldstein, whom Waring maintains shot Daniel Lopez but is being protected because he’s a star informant.

Most recently, Waring tried to have his case thrown out after discovering the prosecution recorded and listened to a number of calls he made while he was representing himself. However, a judge didn’t agree and now Waring is working on a writ and possibly a trial in the near future.

He could take a plea

Waring knows he could take a plea deal and possibly walk. But he can’t wrap his head around copping to a crime he didn’t commit. “I already have the stigma of being a drug addict, now I’d have the stigma of being violent,” he told The Cheat Sheet. “It’s really hard.”

He adds he’d prefer not to plea since he did not do the crime. “I’d rather go with the writ,” he said. “The writ has the potential, at least in California, to really change the work product privilege. Those calls were protected by due process. So we’ve established that without argument. Due process was violated and they learned my defense strategy, which is inherently prejudicial.”  He adds that because the calls were not per se privilege (normal attorney-client privilege) the judge refuses to dismiss his case.

Ashley Waring, Lauri Waring, Josh Waring, Sophie Waring |Photo by Chris McPherson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Is Goldstein the prosecution’s golden boy?

Like any good attorney in training, Waring researched Goldstein. He did a deep dive into what amounted to thousands of pages on Goldstein’s background and history, which date back to around 2004.

It started when Goldstein was in custody in 2004 and one of his “handlers” told the Orange County police department that Goldstein could help them with a “target” on a drive-by shooting, Waring says. The person of interest ended up not being armed, but Goldstein’s probation officer found a loaded weapon on him. The same weapon was involved in the drive-by shooting, Waring asserts. Goldstein’s explanation for carrying the gun was that he took the weapon to “protect the public.”

This first instance kicked off Goldstein’s lengthy run as an informant, Waring said, which he believes led to the conviction of a number of innocent people. “When I’m reading this in my cell I got chills because I had to ask myself, how many innocent people sat in jail for crimes that Bryan Goldstein did?”

Why is Goldstein being protected?

Waring said he isn’t sure exactly why Goldstein is such a coveted witness. “My mom wonders if he [Goldstein] has something on the sheriff’s department,” Waring says. “Or that he has a family relationship to the D.A.”

“I just know that they prize convictions in Orange County above anything else,” Waring continues.  “So I just have to assume they see him as somebody who will always be in the center of chaos. Plus he’ll always be willing to give them a conviction. They don’t care if they have the right person.”

Fast forward 15 years and Waring says there are the two shootings: his case and another case within a few weeks of each other. “Goldstein is present at both of them under suspicious circumstances,” Waring says. “He is initially the suspect in both of them. Both are 9mm Luger caliber firearms. And the victim in my case said he’s 100% sure the shots came from his [Goldstein] car.”

It gets much worse

Waring adds that a number of witnesses can support his claim of innocence. Plus the night of the shooting, cops took everyone’s phone but Goldstein’s. But in the other case, cops ended up searching Goldstein’s phone, Waring says. “On that phone, they found a text message from the owner of the blue car. The text message said, ‘Ace, I told you, you could go hustle in my car. I didn’t say you could take it to go do a drive-by shooting.’”

Even more chilling is that DAR (digital audio recordings) and crime scene sketches are mysteriously missing. “The actual crime scene sketches are missing, which we thought would be important,” Waring said.

Waring says all this evidence makes the entire situation incredibly frustrating. “I’m trying to prove I did not do the shooting,” he says. “But how do I prove that when throughout the entire investigation law enforcement has protected him.” Goldstein pled the fifth in his case. Waring says the district attorney hid his fifth amendment invocation from the jury.

“I just don’t know how the police sleep at night,” he says. “When they know there are innocent people in jail. While this guy, who I know is a killer, is out there.”

The Cheat Sheet reached out to the Orange County District Attorney’s office, but the office did not comment in time for publication.

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