Sep. 10, 2013 at 10:35 AM ET
The life of a 71-year-old professional tennis referee accused of bludgeoning her husband to death with a coffee cup has been “forever changed” by charges that continue to plague her emotionally and financially long after authorities dropped the case, her attorney said Tuesday.
Referee Lois Goodman was again hired to work at the U.S. Open, but she said this year she has been overseeing junior matches instead of elite-level games.
“Everywhere she goes, people look at her and they jeer. Her life has been forever changed as a result of this," her attorney, Alison Triessl told TODAY's Matt Lauer.
Goodman is suing the Los Angeles Police Department for false arrest, emotional distress and malicious prosecution related to the death of her 80-year-old husband, Alan. She was arrested in April 2012 while wearing her umpire uniform and on her way to overseeing a qualifying round of the U.S. Open. The charges were dropped later that year in November because of insufficient evidence.
Goodman said she was “so thrilled to be invited back to work. It meant everything to me.” However, she said she noticed a difference in the reception she got from her colleagues as soon as she returned.
“They say things behind my back. I’m not getting the jobs I used to get,” she told Lauer.
A call Tuesday to the U.S. Tennis Association seeking comment was not immediately returned.
According to Goodman’s lawsuit, police "immediately became fixated on (her) lack of emotional display over the death of her 80-year old husband.” Police, the lawsuit claims, repeated cited that “her makeup was not running."
The coroner ruled the death as a homicide, saying Goodman’s husband died from injuries inflicted by a blunt sharp object.
Goodman spent two nights in jail in New York’s Riker’s Island jail, before returning home to Los Angeles and spending several months under house arrest.
During a December interview with TODAY, Goodman said she was devoted to her husband and believed she was accused because she was the victim's spouse.
"I don't think they had anyone else to try to blame, so they came after me,’’ she said at the time.
On Tuesday, she suggested the lead investigator also may have had other motives.
“I think the detective had an agenda and I think he saw an opportunity to get in the news,” Goodman said.
LAPD did not comment to NBC. Winning these lawsuits can be hard, NBC's Mike Taibbi reported, as police in every jurisdiction have some form of limited or qualified immunity, and as long as an officer is acting reasonably under established law, he or she is allowed to be wrong.
Triessl said police and other authorities acted improperly and went out of their way to embarrass her.
“This was not reasonable. They literally ignored all evidence of her innocence,” Triessl said. Goodman agreed to every requested interview, and she voluntarily informed them she was going to New York for work, Triessl said.
“The Los Angeles police department flew to New York so they could arrest her here publicly and humiliate her,” she said.