Turns out the jury didn’t believe Gary Ross’s story.
The former Williams-Sonoma vice president was on trial for attempting to meet an online 13-year old friend, “Nikki Daley,” for sex. “Nikki” was actually a Contra Costa deputy sheriff trolling for criminals in an Internet chat room. Ross engaged in some nasty dialogue, and sent bestiality photos. But on the stand, he tried to explain that he thought it was all role play, and that he never really believed Nikki was actually a child.
Uh huh, riiiight, said the jury, which convicted Ross last week for attempted online solicitation of a minor. He now faces a minimum of five years in prison. Sentencing is set for October, and unlike some judges who have been reluctant to remand convicts before meting out punishment, Judge Saundra Armstrong placed Ross in custody right after the verdict.
The verdict is a solid win for Assistant U.S. Attorneys Keslie Stewart and Andrew Huang, the young lawyer tasked with cross-examining Ross. It also vindicates the FBI, which was portrayed by the defense as out to ruin Ross’s life. Richard Tamor, one of Ross’s attorneys, did not want to share any post-verdict thoughts in an email to Legal Pad.
— Dan Levine