Scenes from a divorce

It’s campaign season, time to delve into some colorful divorces of San Diego’s more-or-less rich and sort-of famous personalities. Earlier it was GOP city attorney candidate, ex-Poway mayor, and superior court judge Jan Goldsmith who said his marital battles two decades ago were a thing of the past, a verdict seconded by his wife, also a judge. Now comes the case of TV investigative reporter Marti Emerald, running against GOP campaign accountant April Boling for San Diego’s Seventh District city council seat.

Back in April 1996, according to court records, Emerald’s nine-year marriage to Robert Wetzel ended. In 2003, a child-custody battle broke out between the pair, during which Emerald told the court she divorced Wetzel “primarily because of his excessive drug and alcohol use. He used marijuana and cocaine and drank to excess.” Emerald cited emails that she said her ex-husband had forwarded to her by mistake, in which Wetzel told a friend that his current wife “does get real horney after a few tokes.… Get together soon at our place, with or without kids.… We also have a guest room if you do too much booze and drugs.” In his response, Wetzel denied he and his wife drank excessively and said, “I cannot explain how Petitioner, a well-known television investigative reporter, obtained my personal emails. I can only assume she has used her well-honed investigative skills to invade my privacy.” He added that “the references to drug use were mere jokes, and Petitioner now seeks to take those comments out of context for her own personal reasons. I believe this is similar to the tactics used by television investigative reporters: ambush the victim and demand comments...taken out of context.”

Wetzel had earlier complained about Emerald’s alleged abuse of her position: “While my car was being repaired, Petitioner admits she made a ‘judgment call’ and took unilateral control of my car and excluded me from its use.” According to Wetzel’s 1998 declaration, the repairman told him, “ ‘Marti Emerald T.V. consumer watchdog’ had instructed shop personnel not to allow me to pick up my own car. I felt so small, beaten and humiliated.” The court later ruled that the couple’s previous child-sharing arrangement would remain in place, and the case was subsequently closed. Emerald declined comment; her ex-husband could not be reached.

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Politics and divorce and judges, have always gone hand-in-hand. California Lawyer exposed former Judge Howatt butchering Betty Broderick, (for which the court of appeal overturned his rulings) and also that Betty was litigated into craziness. Turns out old Dan was grabbing community assets. So Dan got his name in gold, (at the courthouse) having been represented by Thomas Ashworth - who later became a not very well respected judge...and Betty will sit in prison forever, having bucked the attorney rainmakers downtown. Details at

So Marti Emerald married a loser and divorced him. Big story...

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