[Editor’s note. I have spoken to Philip Levens and he categorically denied much of what I have reported in past articles about he and his former wife, Kassandra. He has chosen not to speak on the record. He can of course change his mind and choose to be interviewed at any time. There is a standing invitation to Philip to speak on the record. I have informed him that he can record our interview to insure that his comments are accurately reported.]
Frank Report has been investigating the case of Kassandra Levens, the mother of two children, who was convicted of solicitation to commit an assault likely to produce great bodily injury to her husband, Philip Levens. The trial was in 2013.
Philip Levens is a Hollywood screenwriter, who was a co-writer of the hit TV show Smallville.
Kassandra was a model who, after marrying Philip and having children, became a stay at home mom.
For years, Kassandra said Philip beat her and demanded sex in an insatiable manner. When she did not provide sex at his immediate and constant command, Philip either raped or beat her and raped her, she said.
Philip denies ever hitting Kassandra.
She also alleged that Philip sexually molested their daughter. A social services report verifies this claim was made but no charges were brought against Philip.
That could be because he is innocent. It could also be because just when Kassandra was about to file a complaint, she was arrested for solicitation to hurt Philip [on June 5, 2012.]
She went to jail where she remained for 13 months. Philip got custody of the children.
Kassandra had been in hiding with her children for days before she was arrested. She claims she ran off with her children to escape Philip’s beatings and protect her daughter from sexual abuse.
Though Kassandra was set up by Philip, it does not mean she is innocent. The charges of solicitation were preplanned and based on an entrapment scheme laid by Philip and his father, David Levens.
Their plan was to get a thug named Gary Mazel to trick, persuade or somehow get Kassandra to consent or ask Mazel to hurt Philip.
Of course Mazel had no intention of hurting Philip. He was being paid by Philip to set her up.
One of the most important pieces of evidence, that might have exposed Philip and Mazel as liars, was withheld from the jury. These were recordings between Mazel and Philip and his father, David. The recordings evidence the extent of the entrapment scheme, and Philip’s role in it, something the jury never fully understood.
It is true that if Mazel – even if he tried 1,000 times to get Kassandra to say ‘go ahead hurt Philip.” – even if it was a setup, even if Philip was 1,000 times to blame for beating the daylights out his wife and mother of his children, even if he was sexually abusing his daughter – if Kassandra said even once to Mazel – “go for it —hurt Philip“ she is guilty as convicted.
But evidence suggests Mazel perjured himself when he testified Kassandra wanted Philip hurt.
If the secret recordings between Mazel and Philip and Mazel and David had been played for the jury, the outcome might have been different.
Before we get into the secret, never played to the jury, recordings [held by the prosecution and not shared with the defense] it is important to remember that Philip had the edge in his battle with his wife.
He controlled the money. He was working. She was stay at home mom. He had the reputation in Hollywood. He was a famed screenwriter. She was a stay at home mom. She could not do anyone any favors. In Hollywood, where almost every other cop has an idea for a screenplay and almost every DA wants to be an actor, being able to do favors is not insignificant.
Philip had physical superiority also.
He could easily beat her up if he chose to. Kassandra says he did. He denies it.
Her injury, where her eye was taken out of its socket and placed back again, which Kassandra claims was caused by Philip’s fist, Philip says was caused by Kassandra running into a doorknob.
In addition, Philip had law enforcement connections.
His friend, Los Angeles Det. Barry Tellis handled the case and seemed to know in advance about the entrapment scheme. Tellis is such a good friend of Philip’s that he attended Philip‘s recent marriage to actress Carolyn Stotesbery. Philip says they became friends after Kassandra’s arrest.
Philip also had an edge with the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office. His longtime friend and lawyer, Marci Levine, is the sister of the Deputy DA in charge of Target Crimes – the exact type of crime they set up Kassandra to commit. His name is Darren Levine and he just happened to oversee Kassandra’s trial.
And it almost seems like Philip got some advice about how to set up Kassandra in advance, from the DA’s office. Advice not on how to defend from a crime, or whether a crime was committed but rather on how to get your contentious wife to commit a crime.
On top of that, Philip had the money to pay the thug and conman, Gary Mazel.
Whether Philip beat the crap out of his wife or abused his daughter never became the issue. it all became about targeting Kassandra.
Philip’s friend Det. Tellis arrested Kassandra and Philip’s lawyer’s brother oversaw her prosecution.
Let us examine the trial and the important evidence that was never presented – the secret tape of Mazel and the two Levins’, father and son, that set up Kassandra.
Before we do that let me mention that Kassandra [above] has not seen her children in five years. Philip has full custody. By order of Family Court, and largely based on her conviction, she is permitted to have three Skype calls of 10 minutes each per week with her children.
The Trial of Kassandra Levens
In 2013, Kassandra Levens went to trial on charges of solicitation of Gary Mazel to commit murder (Count 1) and solicitation of Gary Mazel to commit an assault likely to produce great bodily injury (Count 2).
She was acquitted of the more serious charge – solicitation to commit murder, but was convicted of the second charge. She served 13 months in county jail.
At trial, the case for the prosecution relied on the testimony of Mazel [who was granted immunity by the prosecution] and Philip, who said he was scared for his life at the time of the alleged solicitation .
The defense presented evidence that Philip physically and emotionally abused Kassandra for years, and that the couple was in the midst of a divorce and child custody proceeding in the Family Law and Dependency courts.
The defense tried to show that the charges against Kassandra were set up by Philip and Mazel.
Mazel received $1,800 in cash from Philip’s father, David, to obtain recordings of Kassandra to “take to court, to an attorney, to a judge and say look, this woman has threatened my son with great bodily harm and therefore she’s not fit to maintain custody of my grandchildren,” as David said.
David said his son had nothing to do with payment for recordings of Mazel against Kassandra.
David said “[T]his is my money, this has nothing to do with my son. He won’t be party to any of this crap. But I said I will. I’m old, and I want them [the children] back. And I don’t care what they do to me”.
During the trial, the defense presented Sprint cellphone records of Mazel that showed 49 phone conversations between Philip and Mazel, totaling three hours, 38 minutes, from May 24, 2012 through May 31, 2012.
These conversations occurred prior to in-person meetings between Mazel, Philip and David Levens, including meetings where Mazel received cash payments.
During cross-examination, when confronted with the Sprint phone records, Mazel claimed he could not recall a single word of any of the 49 phone conversations he had with Philip.
Philip testified at trial that his main concern was the welfare of the children and preventing them from being placed in foster care. He testified he was in immediate fear for his life when he overheard a phone conversation between Kassandra and Mazel in which she, he testified, solicited his murder and great bodily harm, during one of his in-person meetings with Mazel.
Mazel Threatens to Kill Philip on His Own
Ironically, after Kassandra’s arrest, but before the trial, [while Kassandra was in jail awaiting trial] Mazel really did threaten to kill Philip. It is believed he wanted more money from Philip.
Philip had Mazel arrested.
Before the case against Kassandra came to trial, Mazel pled guilty to making felony criminal threats against Philip. There was no evidence Kassandra had any involvement in this crime.
Mazel was facing three years in prison, but the Los Angeles DA offered him a plea deal that he would do 120 days in drug rehab and testify in the case against Kassandra.
Kassandra’s trial featured Mazel testifying that Kassandra asked him to murder Philip. And that when he [falsely] told Kassandra that Philip was murdered, she gave him a blow job then went off to Disneyland with her children.
In the possession of the Los Angeles Police Department since June 12, 2012, about one year before the trial, was a white digital Olympus recorder, VN-7100. The contents of this recorder were never disclosed to the defense during trial. The voices on some of the recordings were Philip, David and Gary Mazel.
This evidence, which was withheld from the defense, might have established, through cross-examination of Mazel and Philip, a conspiracy to obstruct justice.
If Kassandra’s attorney, Mark Overland, had been given the recordings, the cross-examination of Mazel and Philip would have been far different.
The recordings show Philip’s involvement in paying Mazel to obtain recordings that Philip and his father could “take to court, to an attorney, to a judge and say look, this woman has threatened my son with great bodily harm and therefore she’s not fit to maintain custody of my grandchildren,” as stated by David Levens.
Here are some excerpts from the recordings:
(Mazel) [looking for money] I mean, I’m in the red on this thing now. [the entrapment scheme]
(Philip) Talk to my dad about all this, I don’t even care [unintelligible].
(Mazel) … Does your attorney want a copy? Or, I’ll talk to your dad about everything.
(Philip) Don’t worry about anything. Just bring what you have here.
(Mazel) I, hey, lemme tell you I do worry, because let me tell you, my ass is on the line here. If I get, if your lawyer subpoenas me to court [unintelligible]. If I have to go testify my career is gonna be over, but I mean, because I don’t have any immunity. [unintelligible] or you can just have her go to an insane asylum or whatever and you get the kids. You know what I mean? I don’t mean that to be mean and say insane asylum or whatever you call it a mental hospital.
At trial, Philip’s testified that he was informed by Mazel that Kassandra wanted his legs broken and that he was in fear for his life. The following excerpt from the tape contradicts Philip’s testimony.
(Philip) We’re not gonna go to go to the District Attorney, we’re talking to them about the best place to do this. [get Kassandra charged]
If he was in fear of his life, why did Philip tell Mazel he was talking to the DA about the best place to set up Kassandra?
David said that Philip was not involved in the payment of money to obtain recordings of Kassandra.
(Mazel) “But I talked to the officer and I talked to my attorney, and what’s gonna ultimately end up happening is you’re both gonna lose the kids to Child Services until this thing’s over. Okay? No District Attorney can overrule Child Protective Services. Child Protective Services has this, like ugh, what do you call it a grasp on everything…
(Philip) Let me tell you something, the most important thing is the criminal charge right now. We gotta get a recording.
(Philip) I already talked to my lawyer, the children will not be put in custody. They will be returned to me immediately. When my lawyer says that, she believes it she’s a [unintelligible]. So I’m not worried about that. But you just need to do this because I need to go in, ya know. [and get Kassandra charged.]
This is evidence that Philip was working with Mazel to get the mother of his children sent to prison. He doesn’t seem to care about the children first and foremost. He seems to cares about criminal charges. He wants her out of the way and is paying a thug to trick her into solicitation of murdering him. He is talking to the DA and planning this.
(Mazel) I’m on my way up there right now, I have to do two more interviews, ah, I have another disk for you. I have three interviews actually that I want to do that’s gonna help your case. Because if I interview them, that’s just gonna make your case…
(Philip) [Unintelligible] Information. [Unintelligible]. We have to focus and we have to do it quickly.
(Mazel) That’s why, I’m on my way up with the information right now. I mean it took so long [unintelligible]. I hate, I you know what, I don’t understand why they just don’t take care of their own damn people. But ugh, do you want me to meet your father or just you, or do you want to meet at your attorney’s office?
(Philip) No, my attorney’s offices are in Century City and it’s just too far just [unintelligible]. You said you’re gonna meet Kassandra today at the halfway house?
(Mazel) It’s not a halfway house it’s a hideout house. Okay? She’s ah, I’ve been able to get some information here and there. And I have people on the street….
The following excerpt would have provided evidence for cross-examination of Mazel and Philip regarding his denials of sexual abuse of their daughter, Adelaide.
(Mazel) But if I don’t get with her, if I don’t have him call her, she can’t make the complaint [of Philip’s alleged sexual abuse of his daughter] and she [Kassandra] has no case. Do you see what I’m saying?
(Philip) What kind of complaint, I don’t understand.
(Mazel) Child abuse, sexual abuse [unintelligible]. I’ll talk to you. Are you gonna be there or is it just your dad?
(Philip) No no, he’ll probably be there, he’ll definitely be there, I’ll probably be there, but I have to go to ah, to see my lawyer.”
The following excerpt between Mazel and David Levens would have contradicted David’s trial testimony that he only paid Mazel $1,800 to reimburse him for expenses connected to the recordings of Kassandra. It would have suggested cross-examination of Mazel concerning the work performed by other individuals on the recordings of Kassandra introduced during trial.
(Mazel) “Okay, I just wanna let you know Philip told me to talk to you. These guys did an extraordinary job, they charged me an extra 3 last night, okay. I’m not nickel and diming you guys, I just, I mean, I’m in the red on this thing.
(David Levens) No, no, no, Gary, Gary, it’s okay. I understand, okay, we’ve got you covered, okay?
(Mazel): Okay. Alright, so I’m gonna meet with you. Wait till you hear this stuff, you’re gonna be so blown away when you hear this shit. You won’t believe this….
(Mazel) Okay, I have a friend at the Pacific Station. Um, I’m actually gonna be seeing Kassandra today. Doing an interview with Kassandra, I’m gonna get a recording admitting her [unintelligible], this is what you wanted me to do, this and that. And then I’m gonna call Philip, let him know, call you, let you know where they’re at. I can either extract the kids or you can do that. [unintelligible]”
The contents of this recorder were never disclosed to the defense during the trial.
Today Kassandra Levens lives alone without her children.
Philip enjoys the success talented Hollywood writers often do. He has wealth and fame within his industry. He has custody of both of his children without having to worry about a pesky ex-wife bothering him for visitation. He is a victim, he can proudly state, to anyone who asks about the trial for after all the court found Kassandra guilty. He has rich and powerful friends – in and out of law enforcement. He just married the beautiful actress Carolyn Stotesbery and if reports are true, she is pregnant and proud Philip is about to have a third child.
Life is swell, when you feel well.