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Rebecca Grossman, a California woman who prosecutors say was racing when she struck and killed two children in a crosswalk in 2020, pleaded not guilty to murder, vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, and other charges on Friday.
Her high-profile attorney, Tony Buzbee, said after Friday’s arraignment that “what happened that night was a horrible, unspeakable tragedy,” but “traveling over the posted speed limit is simply not murder, no matter how the DA attempts to twist the facts for his own purposes. ”
“The prosecution’s continued insistence on making this a murder case by overcharging my client, a pillar of this community, with murder is nothing more than a transparent effort to force her to plea,” Buzbee said in a statement.
Investigators tested during a preliminary hearing earlier this year that Grossman drove through an unmarked crosswalk at 70 mph in the Westlake Village neighborhood on Sept. 29, 2020, and struck 11-year-old Mark and 8-year-old Jacob Iskander, killing both of them.
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“I was driving and all of a sudden my airbag went off. Someone needs to tell me about those children, I’m told children were involved,” Grossman can be heard telling a deputy on body camera footage that was played in court, according to Fox 11 Los Angeles.
Buzbee blamed the crash on a “poorly marked, unguarded, and unlit” crosswalk that he says the city failed to maintain.
“The city was sued for this crossing. We think it will be a major focus in this case. The data surrounding it paints a picture of an extremely dangerous crossing that the city ignored,” Buzbee told Fox News Digital on Sunday.
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The city manager for Westlake Village did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Sunday.
The boys’ parents, Nancy and Karim Iskander, both tested in court during the preliminary hearing.
“The killing of my sons were indirect consequences of those extremely reckless actions that basically used the car as a weapon. I do not see a difference between that and shooting a gun randomly,” Karim Iskander said in court in April, Fox 11 Los Angeles reports.
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Investigators allege that at the time of the crash, Grossman was racing former Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Scott Erickson, who was charged with reckless driving in connection with the wreck last summer.
Grossman is the co-founder of the Grossman Burn Foundation and her husband is Dr. Peter Grossman, a prominent plastic surgeon.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.