A Lamborghini driver, 17, broke down in tears in court Friday as he pleaded guilty to charges over a horror car crash that killed a secretary in Los Angeles, after the teen’s multimillionaire dad issued a heartfelt apology to the victim’s family.
Brendan Khuri was driving the $517,000 sports car his entrepreneur father had given him for his 17th birthday when he plowed into Monique Munoz, 32, in her Lexus sedan back on February 17.
Prosecutors say Khuri was driving at almost 106 miles per hour at the time of the crash. The force almost split Munoz’s vehicle in two, killing her and hospitalizing Khuri with his family lawyer saying he suffered a brain injury.
Khuri pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence in Inglewood Juvenile Court Friday as he and his mother openly wept and his attorney said he was ‘extremely remorseful’ and had apologized to Munoz’s heartbroken family.
A Lamborghini driver, 17, broke down in tears in court Friday as he pleaded guilty to charges over a horror car crash that killed a secretary in Los Angeles, after the teen’s multimillionaire dad issued a heartfelt apology to the victim’s family. Brendan Khuri (right) with dad James
Brendan Khuri was driving the $517,000 sports car his entrepreneur father had given him for his 17th birthday when he plowed into Monique Munoz, 32, (above) in her Lexus sedan back on February 17
Defense attorney Mark Werksman said after the court hearing that Khuri takes ‘full responsibility’ for the deadly crash and is ‘devastated by this tragedy,’ reported the Los Angeles Times.
‘He is extremely remorseful and has admitted the juvenile petition in order to demonstrate his remorse and his willingness to accept the consequences of his actions,’ he said.
The 17-year-old will probably never ‘drive again,’ he said.
The teen’s admission of guilt and show of remorse comes after his rich dad James Khuri posted a statement on Instagram last month apologizing to Munoz’s family and saying ‘I want to offer my support in any way you will allow me to’.
‘I am aware that the time it has taken me to communicate this has caused further pain for everyone affected,’ James wrote on March 10.
He said he accepted that his words and actions will ‘never do justice’ for Munoz’s family or ‘bring back your daughter’ but wanted to ‘apologize’ and say he and his family are praying for them.
‘Knowing that this will never do justice for the family of Monique Munoz, I want to apologize to the Munoz family for the tragic loss of their daughter,’ he wrote.
‘There are no words I can say to alleviate the pain that you are experiencing. And I realize none of my words or actions will be able to bring back your daughter.
He concluded: ‘Still, I want to offer my support in any way you will allow me to. My family and I pray for the Munoz family.’
Munoz’s friends and family have called for James to also face criminal responsibility for the deadly car crash and have hit out at the handling of the case, saying the teen has been treated differently because of his dad’s wealth and status.
The teen’s rich dad James Khuri posted a statement on Instagram last month apologizing to Munoz’s family and saying ‘I want to offer my support in any way you will allow me to’
James, who is described as a ‘serial entrepreneur’ in a glowing 2020 Forbes profile, is the boss of distribution company FJ Holdings which counts tech giant Amazon among its clients.
He has made many of his millions from manufacturing and distributing trading cards including Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh! and Magic the Gathering.
James’ company is projected to turn over $200 million in 2021 and he enjoys the trappings of success: he lives in an $8 million Beverly Hills mansion, has shared photographs of himself on private jets, and is known for his love of Lamborghinis.
The multimillionaire had given his son the Lamborghini for his birthday before he plowed the car into Munoz as she was on her way home from work.
Munoz’s family gathered at the courtroom Friday with her parents wearing masks with her face on them and carrying signs in her memory. Other supporters carried signs demanding that Khuri be charged.
‘We want him to go to prison and understand the consequences of his undoing. I want his father to feel his son gone for years because Monique is gone for life,’ her uncle said.
After pleading guilty Friday, the younger Khuri will now be confined to his home until his next court date on June 30.
It’s unclear what sentence he now faces. In adult court, vehicular manslaughter sentences range from one to six years in prison.
If tried as a juvenile, he could face probation or up to nine months incarcerated.
Protesters carried signs with some of the Khuri’s social media posts on them at court on Friday
The protesters demanded that the teenage boy be put behind bars
Issac and Caroline Cardona, Monique’s parents, were among those at the courthouse on Friday
The teenager was arrested for vehicular manslaughter in the incident in March but no charges were filed initially.
Then the L.A. District Attorney’s Office announced that it had filed charges but wouldn’t reveal what those charges are – or if he was being charged as a juvenile or adult – until the arraignment Friday.
Last month, LAPD sources told DailyMail.com that it had recommended charges and was waiting for prosecutors to act.
‘We’ve done a filing,’ Supervising Detective James Dickson of the LAPD’s West Traffic department told DailyMail.com. ‘That filing was presented to the LA County Juvenile DA. It’s currently in his office.
‘The arrest charge was 192(c)(1), negligent vehicular manslaughter.
‘I can’t regurgitate what we found, but based upon multiple witness statements that corroborate one another, it’s clear that there was gross negligence.’
Dickson said he believed the Lamborghini was racing with an Audi, which also was found at the scene but was not involved in the crash.
The victim’s parents outside court. There was no sign of the teenage boy’s parents
The victim’s mother hugging another protester outside the courtroom on Friday
Protesters demanded that the teenager be charged as an adult. Prosecutors have not commented on that
‘We believe that that vehicle was potentially engaged in a speed contest with the Lamborghini. That’s a separate investigation and that’s ongoing so I’m not willing to comment at the moment, but we do believe that it was involved,’ he said.
The detective added that Brendan was absentee booked while in the hospital. A lawyer for the Khuri family, criminal defense attorney Mark Werksman, denied Brendan was racing.
Dickson said that ‘from evidence recovered and eyewitness accounts the vehicle was being operated at an unsafe speed.’
Under a picture of a Lamborghini race car on an LA street posted in December on Instagram, the teen’s father James Khuri wrote ‘Fun Friday afternoon racing another Lamborghini SVJ on Sunset. Of course going speed limit.’
Those posts have since been deleted.
Werksman said in a statement to DailyMail.com: ‘The Khuri family is devastated by the tragic accident on February 17, 2021 that caused the death of Monique Munoz. Their hearts go out to the Munoz family for their incomparable loss.
‘Lawyers for the Khuri family and the Munoz family have worked out a financial settlement in order to allow the families to heal, and they are in the process of finalizing those details. They ask for privacy during this sad and traumatic time.
‘And while I will not discuss the details of the case or the factual allegations with you, I can tell you that there was no racing going on with any other vehicle at the time of the crash. The allegation that there was racing going on at the time of impact is simply false.’
Werksman later contacted DailyMail.com, asking to change his original statement to clarify that a settlement had not yet been agreed with Munoz’s family.
‘The parties are working amicably towards reaching a financial settlement,’ he said.
Brendan Khuri suffered a brain injury in the crash. His black Lamborghini is shown, left. Munoz’s sedan was totaled
Police had been called to the scene after the Lamborghini driver collided with Munoz who was driving a silver Lexus
Munoz’s stepfather Isaac Cordona spoke in an interview with DailyMail.com last week. Cordona is pictured with Munoz and her mother, Caroline
People protested near the area where Munoz was killed, demanding justice for the 32-year-old. They wanted to know why the privileged teenager was not charged sooner
On September 23 James Khuri posted on Facebook a picture of himself with his arm around his son and the grey, $517,000 Lamborghini Aventador SVJ in the background next to a black Lamborghini SUV.
‘My son and I hanging out cruising in the Hills. Everyone knows who’s [sic] car is faster,’ he wrote.
The next month he posted on Instagram another picture of the two of them posing in front of a gold SVJ and the same black SUV, with the caption: ‘Lambo Urus vs SVJ!! Father Vs Son!!! I have to win. But if I lose, I still have my son.’
Brendan has posted pictures of himself on Facebook wearing sunglasses and holding up rare Pokémon cards which his father distributes as part of his business
On September 25 he posted on Facebook appearing to reference racing motorbikes.
‘If anyone thought that bikes are faster than this Lambo ,YOU ARE WRONG!! I took them all. And I only had 1 drink. I like this car,’ he wrote, with a picture of two men on motorbikes.
Dickson said there was ‘no evidence’ that the father was involved in the February 17 crash, but added that his department had ‘immediately’ sent requests to Instagram and Facebook to preserve the posts as evidence.
‘We are interested in those posts,’ Dickson said. ‘However, he [James] deleted most of his social media accounts before we were able to recover anything. That doesn’t mean we can’t get those posts. We certainly can, they’re just not readily available.
‘We do a preservation letter and search warrant for Instagram and Facebook and they preserve those items in an archive until we get the search warrant to them.
‘The preservation letter was sent immediately. I don’t know what status we are on the search warrant.’
Close family friend Candace Greene told DailyMail.com at the time of the crash that Brendan Khuri was in the hospital after suffering a brain injury in the accident.
‘The kid is beyond remorseful, he cries every day,’ she said. ‘He’s been in the hospital since the day of the accident with a brain injury so he did not walk away from this with cuts and scrapes.
‘He is petrified. He has been somewhat under the care of the police. They have been at the hospital, they know what’s going on,’ she added.
Brendan is pictured with his mother Christine. A friend of his father, James: ‘He bought this car for his boy. It was a birthday gift. His mother and her new husband were adamantly, ”no, no, no”. Her new husband said, ”this is an accident waiting to happen”’
An LAPD detective said they are also investigating James Khuri’s social media posts where the teen’s merchandise mogul father appears to post about his luxury sports cars
‘Bed side view of these beauties!!!’ James said in an Instagram post from November showing his three sports cars
‘It’s going to be for the DA, the courts and the judge to decide… He has been booked. He is not incarcerated because he is in a hospital bed with his mother by his side.
‘The whole family is utterly devastated by what happened.’
Greene said Brendan was given the vehicle in June, despite opposition from the boy’s mother Christine, 53, who divorced James in 2008.
In the months leading up to the crash, James often shared several pictures of his son.
With one photo from November he wrote ‘My son Brendan James Khuri. I love him more than anything that exists in this world.’
Another November picture taken from a front upstairs window of his Beverly Hills mansion shows three Lamborghinis and another sports car in his driveway, with the caption ‘Bed side view of these beauties!!!! #lamborghini #beverlyhills.’
The 46-year-old businessman is an industry star who split from his son’s mother in 2008
Dickson said police were awaiting DMV records for Brandon and had not yet been able to confirm whether he had a provisional drivers license.
Under California law, drivers in possession of an instruction permit cannot drive a vehicle alone and must be accompanied by an adult aged over 25 at all times.
California teenagers are allowed to apply for an instruction permit aged 16 but are not allowed to drive alone until they have passed their test or turn 17.
Brendan had turned 17 but it is not known whether he had passed his test. Minors are also prohibited from driving between 11pm and 5am until they turn 18.
‘He took the picture down from Facebook but he posted a picture of [the Lamborghini SUV] with a red ribbon on it in June 2020,’ she said.
‘He bought this car for his boy. It was a birthday gift. His mother and her new husband were adamantly, ‘no, no, no’. Her new husband said, ‘this is an accident waiting to happen’.
‘Now this has happened. It’s devastating for his mother and another family has lost their child.’
Munoz’s stepfather, Isaac Cordona, 55, of Hawthorne, California, spoke of his heartbreak in an interview with DailyMail.com last week.
His wife, Monique’s mother Carol, 54, was too upset to speak to DailyMail.com but told of her heartbreak in a Facebook post on February 18.
She wrote: ‘My baby my life my everything my heart is broken in so many pieces mommy is going to miss you sooo much.
‘I LOVE YOU FOREVER BABY FEELS LIKE A BAD DREAM RIP MY BEAUTIFUL PRINCESS.’
Following the crash, dozens of protesters gathered at the site of the crash chanting and holding up signs saying ‘Justice for Monique’.
Khuri is known for being tough in business, boasting in his Forbes interview in December 2020 that he doesn’t believe in showing weakness.
He added: ‘One of the keys to my success is that I don’t borrow from banks to support my businesses.
Under a picture of a Lamborghini race car on an LA street posted in December, the father wrote ‘Fun Friday afternoon racing another Lamborghini SVJ on Sunset. Of course going speed limit’
‘I believe that lending is how banks control businesses and, as my father once sagely shared with me, ‘Never show weakness. Control everything.’ That’s why I’ve self-financed five of my companies.’
The mogul’s son has posted pictures of himself on Facebook wearing sunglasses and holding up rare Pokémon cards which his father distributes as part of his business.
A copy of Beverly Hills Weekly shows that the teenager graduated from El Rodeo school in Beverly Hills in 2018.
A website for a Torrance Go Kart track shows lap times for James and Brendan racing against each other in 2016.
Dickson said that street racing had become a problem in LA since the coronavirus lockdown began last year.
‘It’s been particularly egregious during covid, especially at the beginning when people were locked down and staying home,’ he said.
‘People had open roads, particularly surface streets, that they were basically able to do whatever speed they wanted on due to the lack of traffic. So we have seen an increase in reckless driving.
‘I can’t say specifically we’ve seen an increase in fatalities because we’re about on par, but we’ve seen more fatalities from people driving at high rates of speed and a few street racing incidents… But by definition we should be lower because there were less people on the roads in the first probably six months of the lockdown.’