The BBC cases are complex. In San Mateo County, in 1992, Joe took the stand and testified. He testified that Dean Karny was solely responsible for the death of Hedayat Eslaminia. He explained that Reza’s father, Hedayat, who was a prominent Iranian expatriate, was working to overthrow the Shah of Iran, and had asked his son to arrange a means of leaving Belmont, California surreptitiously. The father knew he was under surveillance by the American FBI and CIA.
A CIA agent actually testified at Joe’s trial and refused to discuss their operations with respect to the father on grounds of National Security privilege. Another witness was a fellow named George Beaudoux. George described to the jury being present at the Watergate Hotel in Washington DC at a meeting between their father and an agent of the Iraqui government. The Iraqi agent represented that he was sent by Saddam Hussein. In George’s presence, Saddam Hussein’s agent offered Hedayat $43 million to arrange the assassination of Rafsanjani, who was then the speaker of the Iranian Majilis, i.e., their parliamentary body.
In addition, evidence was presented at Joe’s trial that Hedayat had on occasion smuggled in heroin from Iran, hidden in shipments of Persian rugs.
Hedayat asked his son to rent a house for him in Los Angeles, explaining to Reza that he was going to L.A. to meet with people to discuss the future of Iran and their opposition to the Ayatollah Khomeini. Reza told Joe that the group was making plans for the overthrow of Khomeini. Hedayat did not want to be under surveillance during these meetings by American intelligence agencies.
Reza recruited Ben Dosti to assist him with the logistics of getting his father out of San Francisco clandestinely and into a house rented for him in Los Angeles. Ben, in turn, enlisted Joe, Dean, and James Pittman.
In return, Reza promised Ben, Dean, and Joe access to the wealthy conspirators who were working with his father.
The house that was rented for Hedayat was just above Sunset Boulevard near UCLA. Hedayat spoke some French and so did Dean.
After the trip down from San Francisco, Dean was left with Hedayat at the rental house. What happened next, only Dean knows for sure. Dean later explained that Hedayat caught him looking in a trunk that Hedayat had brought with him. Hedayat struck him and they fought, tumbling down a staircase. Hedayat died as a result of the injuries he sustained in that fight. Dean then called Joe, waking him up and asking him to come over and help.
Hedayat had brought drugs with him. Opium. Considering the circumstances, and not being in a position to handle questions from the police (given the clandestine nature of the operation, the fraud that was going on in the BBC, and in light of the presence of these drugs), Joe and Dean decided to dump Hedayat’s body on a hillside north of Los Angeles County.
Joe thus testified that he was an accessory after the fact to The Killing by Dean of Hedayat. The controversy that the San Mateo jury had to resolve was whether Joe was telling the truth — or Dean was. The jury hung 8 to 4 in Joe’s favor, and the eight jurors voting for acquittal gave Joe declarations indicating that they felt Dean was solely responsible for the death of Hedayat. Those declarations can be downloaded from the website.
After Joe’s jury hung in his favor, the prosecutors dismissed the pending case against James Pittman. Ben & Reza had been tried separately in 1988 in San Mateo County, which is to say about four years before Joe was tried. They had been convicted. However, their sentences were reversed subsequent to the charges being dismissed against Jim and Joe. Upon their return to San Mateo County, the prosecution dropped murder charges against both Ben and Reza — and they were freed.
Thus, the popular tale about a kidnapping did not withstand judicial scrutiny and ultimately collapsed.