LOS ANGELES (Los Angeles Times) — Robert Philibosian, the former Los Angeles County district attorney who oversaw the prosecution in the controversial McMartin Preschool case and later served as legal commentator in another high-profile trial, the criminal case against O.J. Simpson, has died at the age of 83, according to his family.
Philibosian, who served as the county’s 38th district attorney from 1982 to 1984, was battling West Nile encephalitis and fell into a coma, daughter Janet Philibosian Valenzuela said. He was removed from life support on Monday, November 27.
Family members said in a statement: “He was a true public servant and always put others before himself. He helped countless people advance their careers with no expectation of anything in return. He cherished his family (including his entire large extended family) above all else and devoted his life to his wife, his children and our spouses, and his beloved grandchildren. He took such pride in all of our accomplishments and we can’t imagine our lives without his constant presence.”
In 1982, Philibosian was unanimously chosen by the Board of Supervisors to succeed Dist. Atty. John Van de Kamp following Van de Kamp’s election to state attorney general. The Times reported at the time that the board decision came “after a series of roll calls marked by high drama and intense lobbying.”
Philibosian won out over two highly touted candidates, US Atty. Stephen Trott and former Republican Assemblyman Dave Stirling. Lobbying to the board on his behalf was political ally and California Gov.-elect George Deukmejian. After three split roll calls, Supervisor Kenneth Hahn changed his mind and provided Philibosian the vote he needed.