Rob Navias: It was without question the trial of the year: 58-year-old John DeLorean, former auto tycoon, on trial in Federal Court in Los Angeles for conspiracy to engage in a $24 million cocaine deal to save his financially failing auto firm.
The trial caught the eye of the world, the dapper DeLorean and his wife, former model Cristina Ferrare, hand in hand every day of the marathon court proceeding, a trial which began in mid-April.
After four months of testimony, in mid-August there was a verdict: not guilty.
DeLorean attorney Howard Weitzman …
Howard Weitzman: "The message they want to send, and the message that has been sent to the country at large to all of our citizens, is that we won't tolerate the type of conduct the Government involved in in this particular incident."
Rob Navias: Weitzman had maintained that DeLorean had been set up by an overzealous Justice Department, eager to land a 'big fish', as he put it, to lend credence to its effort to crack down on drug trafficking. But in the end, DeLorean himself said the Government tried too hard …
John DeLorean: "Hopefully, this terror that my family and I have gone through, this horror that we've gone through for the last almost two years now, won't have been wasted. Perhaps somehow we can get the laws changed and the -- and the codes of conduct changed so that this can't happen to other people. If that truly happens, then maybe all of this has been for a worthwhile and constructive purpose."
Rob Navias: At year's end, DeLorean and his wife had filed for divorce, DeLorean advertising for money to help pay off his exorbitant court costs.
Rob Navias, Los Angeles.