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PROSECUTOR CALLS MCMARTIN CASE FLAWED

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District Attorney Ira Reiner admitted Friday his political aspirations were seriously damaged by the handling of the McMartin Preschool case and defended his decision not to try the molestation case a third time.

"Way back at the beginning, when this case was first presented to the District Attorney's Office, a mistake was made, a serious mistake," Reiner told reporters after a mistrial was declared in the retrial. "That was the interviewing of the children was not conducted by people experienced in criminal justice.He was referring to the therapists who interviewed the alleged child victims in the case and whose techniques were criticized by jurors in both trials.

"That was the problem with the first case, that was the problem with the second case and if there was a third case, that would be there as well," Reiner said. "That is the single fundamental flaw of the case - the way the children were interviewed."

Given that "flaw," Reiner said, it would be impractical to try Raymond Buckey again.

Reiner also blamed the failure to convict Buckey on his predecessor, former District Attorney Robert Philibosian, whose office initiated the case and referred the preschool children to the therapists who conducted the controversial interviews.

The defense had all along charged that the therapists asked leading questions and brainwashed the children.