Brawl breaks out at Orange County courthouse between DA investigator, defense attorney

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An Orange County district attorney investigator got in a brawl with a court-appointed private attorney at Santa Ana's Central Justice Center on Wednesday morning.

O.C. Sheriff's spokesman Mark Stichter said that at about 10:30 a.m. an argument turned into a physical altercation between the two men outside a courtroom at the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana.

The defense attorney, James Crawford, was at the courthouse to work with a witness, according to his attorney Jerry Steering, when he and an investigator got into an argument. Steering said that soon after, the investigator allegedly came up behind Crawford and punched him nearly a dozen times. Crawford suffered fractured sinuses and visited the hospital on Wednesday night, Steering said. 

No arrests were made at the time of the incident, though deputies assigned to the courthouse responded and made a report, Stichter said.

The incident comes after Crawford recently obtained a re-trial for a man convicted of the 1998 murder of a pregnant woman in Fullerton, Steering said. 

"He was able to obtain that new trial in the last week of February," Steering said. "A lot of people didn't like this."

Steering said that Crawford will be suing the man who attacked him and perhaps the county.

A statement from the O.C. District Attorney's Office said that the incident is currently under investigation by the O.C. Sheriff's Department, and will then be sent to the California state attorney general's office for review. 

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