Thursday, April 26, 2007

Trial Notes, 4-26-07

I should just face reality. I have a hard time getting out the front door when I want to. There’s always “one last thing” I want to try to get done, and consequently, I get started later than I really wanted. I had hoped to leave the house by 7:30am, (and get downtown an hour later) but my hair still wasn’t dry, and I hadn’t packed my lunch or found my pair of red suede moc’s I’d been saving. It’s always something.

My ride on the Orange Line was almost exactly like the first experience in February, except I was struggling getting all my change out of the ticket kiosk, (it does take a bit of time to pick up 17 one dollar coins) while the bus driver waited patiently for me to get my change and board. This bus had video feeds, and I was looking forward to seeing something interesting, but for most of the trip, all it showed was a map and where the bus was on the map. And as the bus went a few blocks, so did the little bus image on the map. This is supposed to entertain us? The landscaping along the Orange Line is more visually appealing than the video, and for the first time, I noticed how the vegetation is much more developed at the eastern end of the line, since it was completed first. Woah! The bus just swayed real hard; the driver took the curve around Fulton Ave. really fast. I think he was going over 50mph! For the rest of the trip, I squint to try to watch his speedometer.

The Red Line part of the journey was a little tiring because I had to stand for most of the trip. Once in downtown, I exited the tunnel through the Temple street exit. Since that was the first time I used that exit, I had to get my bearings, because I wasn’t sure exactly where I was. The exit is right beside the Court of Flags,

on Hill Street, half way between First and Temple. From the Court of Flags, you can see across the Criminal court parking lot to what appears to me to be one of the older court buildings.

I’m embarrassed that I don’t know which building this is, but I thought you would enjoy an image of it. (I find out later this is City Hall.) I’ve seriously thought of bringing my good camera downtown, but I would have nowhere to store it if, for some reason, the sheriff's decided not to let me bring it past the security checkpoints. So for now, I’m reluctantly settling for the grainy images from my old cell phone.

As I pass through the Court of Flags plaza and reach Broadway, the back of the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center comes fully into view.

I can see a group of photographers about seven in all, on the railing overlooking the parking lot waiting for Phil to arrive. You can barely see them in this photo.

And, in the west corner of the lot, a lone photographer with a tripod and long range lens. Across the deep set lot I can see Spring street, which is where Court TV has set up their filming area for Beth Karas’s on air commentary.

Through pm’s warhorse46 said I should go over to the taping area, and introduce myself to Beth. When I did, she was just about to go on air, and did not have time to talk. I just had enough time to mention that I had met her briefly before at the Robert Blake trial, and that I was friends with Linda Sweetingham (a former print reporter for CourtTV) .....Beth said, “You mean Lisa...” Oh boy. “I’m sorry! Yes, I meant Lisa.” I must have turned beet red in the face. You see, I was so nervous I totally misspoke Lisa's first name. Although you might not guess it from my post on various crime forums, I’m actually a very shy, introverted type person. I have a difficult time introducing myself to total strangers and carrying on a conversation. I will often trip over my own words. You will never see me on camera, being interviewed like Marlene Newell (sp?) was at the Scott Peterson trial. I would be so nervous, I would probably look and sound like a total idiot, lol!

As I arrive on the 9th floor and pass through the second security checkpoint, I see a mass of reporters waiting for Judge Fidler’s courtroom to open. I see Russ, an on-air reporter for a news organization I got to know during the Blake trial. I also recognized the reporter who covered the Blake trial for the LA Weekly, Steve Mikulan, and reintroduced myself. If LA Weekly News (Online) has his stories, I encourage you to stop by and check them out. He wrote some great articles covering the Blake case, and I’m sure he will have a witty, insightful take on this case, too. As I lean against a wall to wait, Steve is in the process of editing a story he’s already printed out, and I mention to him that he has a very unusual way he holds his pen. It’s one of the things I notice when I meet people and see them write is their handedness. I’m always on the lookout for other lefties like myself. We talk a bit about the different ways people hold their pens. Steve mentioned that it was a madhouse at the courthouse yesterday, and I know that I probably would not have been able to get in to observe.

Steve mentions that Cutler only spoke for 45 minutes yesterday, and will continue with his closing today. He also mentions that the rules of this courtroom are much more strict than at the Van Nuys Courthouse. The reporters won’t be able to go in or out whenever they need to file stories. Steve says that if you leave, you won’t be allowed back in. That the sheriff's don’t even want the reporters to leave at the morning and afternoon breaks. And I'm thinking, I better go pee when I can. I also see that the famous AP reporter Linda Deutsch is already there as well as Dominick Dunne.

As some might know, I’m a big fan of Mr. Dunne. I’ve read several of his novels, and his diary is the first thing I read when my Vanity Fair arrives in the mail. Phil’s main defense attorney arrives and talks to Dominick for a bit. After he steps away, I get the courage up to approach Mr. Dunne, and reintroduce myself to him, mentioning that I met him at the Blake trial, and that he signed one of his books for me then. I ask him if in the coming weeks, he could autograph another one of his books for me, and he assured me that he would. I’m ecstatic that I even got my courage up to speak to him.

After scanning the crowd and not seeing Alan Parachini. from the court’s Public Relations office, I finally see their representative, a young woman carrying the numbered badges they give to the reporters who have registered and checked in for a seat to cover this trial. She says that once the deadline has passed for reporters to check in, she’ll see how many seats are left. At this point, she feels I have a good opportunity to get in to observe. My day is looking even better.

Three tall and enormously wide individuals come out of the courtroom and pass me in the hall. They are massive human beings. I remember hearing on TV that Phil surrounded himself with huge bodyguards because he is such a small person. These guys are not just big, I mean they are really big. What goes through my mind though, is the thought that, being next to these men really amplifies the impression people get of Phil being a small man. I think this is intentional. Sandi Gibbons, the District Attorney’s public relations officer arrives soon after I get a seat in the back row of benches on the left side. There is an empty space next to Russ, and it’s nice to sit next to a familiar face, where I can occasionally feel comfortable asking a question or two. I have a good full view of the jurors, the judge and the witness stand. I can barely see Phil through the crowd of reporters though.

The Court TV control camera is in the far left corner at the end of the second bench isle from the back. There are two men sitting very close together in swivel chairs hunched over this control screen. Behind them are two lens cameramen with compact cameras that can zoom in on the defense and prosecution tables, as well as the judge and witness box. (Later, at the morning break, I find out that the men holding the cameras have been standing that entire time, and will do so all through out the day.) Eric Leonard from KFI is sitting in the row in front of me, and notices me for the first time. He smiles and says hello.

Court comes into session. There is a discovery issue that must be discussed before the jury can be brought in. This is regarding evidence collection that Dr. Henry Lee did on behalf of the defense on February 4, 2003. The issue is over three years old and still has not been resolved. After requesting it numerous times, last October, Dr. Lee finally turned over a blood sample that he collected during his time in the house. However, it wasn’t until April 20, that the prosecution actually received the “55 photographs” he took, that actually puts that evidence into context. The prosecution has requested these photographs for at least two years. This is a blatant discovery violation by the defense Mr. Jackson contends. Jackson says they haven’t had time to do any real analysis on this yet. My question is, was it Dr. Lee who stalled in getting this sample and images to the defense? Or, did the defense attorneys stall in turning this discovery item over to the prosecution, because, supposedly it is the prosecution’s evidence. I don’t particularly understand that specific point of law, but the judge said that the evidence is clearly the prosecution’s.

Judge Fidler: You still haven’t answered why did you turn it over so late.

Defense: I don’t know why the delay. Dr. Lee did do presumptive test. (on the blood)


Mr. Jackson: Now that we have photos, that puts it in context. We received from Dr. Lee, a dried, cracked, sample...

Judge Fidler: Where were the photos? Why late?

The defense appears to still be dancing around for an answer, and at the same time, they are wanting the sample back to do DNA testing, because the prosecution is not going to do DNA at this time. The prosecution says, Woah! We just got the photographs that put the blood sample in context. We’re not ready to release it back. The judge then interrupts Mr. Jackson and says, “You might want to stop because I’m about to rule in your favor.”

Judge Fidler: (The defense has) firm leg to stand on. There’s one other issue. (It appears) Mr. Brunon KNOWS one of the jurors.

Holy carp! How did that happen? From what I’m gathering, it appears Mr. Brunon was not in court for all of the voi dire. One of the jurors used to work for the building management, where Mr. Brunon had an office location. Mr. Brunon says he knows the jurors first name, but at this time can’t remember his last name. He just knows he’s sitting somewhere near the left edge of the jury box. Since he can’t remember his last name and is not sure of his juror number, the judge decides to bring out the entire jury. The judge explains to the jury that Mr. Brunon was not here for (the entire?) voi dire.

The Judge then describes something about a case People vs Cruse (spelling?) and he says a case number that I didn’t get the complete number (224.350?), and that Justice Krouse (spelling?) answers all the defense questions. I’m not sure what this refers to; it might be this particular issue. The Judge then jokingly says something to Mr. Brunon about plastic cups would be provided for water for you, but then you will be billed for them by the court building. This must be in reference to something else that has happened prior.

The Judge says the jurors are numbered 1-9 at the top from right to left and the right front row as numbers 10-12 and then the alternates. Mr. Brunon says the jurors number (of the individual he knows) and the judge asks him to stand. The juror is asked if he knows Mr. Brunon, and he replies that he does; that he used to work for the building where Mr. Brunon has/had an office. The judge asks about the nature of their relationship, and did he feel that knowing Mr. Brunon would affect his ability to be impartial. The juror said it would not, and so he is still on the jury.

Cutler now moves on to continue his opening argument. As those of you who have seen portions of his opening statement on TV, Cutler continually used the phrase “murder on their minds” to describe the behavior of the police when they first when to Phil Spector’s “castle,” and that thought process and focus never wavered (by LE). That the police and prosecutors went to great lengths to speak to “any and everybody....and taping their interviews...” who might have had contact with Phil, at any one time. Another phrase that was constantly in use (because this is opening statement and not evidence) was, “the evidence will show.” Cutler went onto describe how the police over reacted in the arrest of Phi Spector. That there was no need to tackle him, no need to tazer him. Or instead, (why not), “Phillip, come with us. Could you come with us?” Cutler said that the house is a landmark, and the local PD know it as “The Castle.” Cutler was very firm that, “the evidence will show there was no confession. (DeSouza) He’s not a substitute father...” (Is Cutler trying to imply that only a priest can take a confession?) “You will consider it in the context of that statement with murder on their mind.”

Cutler now goes into the differences in the size of the “decedent” and Phil Spector. Cutler never mentions Lana’s name. And I can tell that this is on purpose. It’s to depersonalize her. She was 5 feet 11 inches and 160 pounds. Phil is 5 feet 4 inches and 130 pounds. Lana was drinking alcohol and pills.....what did that have on her judgment? “Take it into context.” Cutler mentions the Carlyle Hotel Incident: “You’ll see from evidence in New York...unlike California they don’t look to a woman if you have a gun. You have to have a carry permit.” (This is down right misleading. Of course we have carry permits here in California, too.) He didn’t, and he wasn’t. She was given train fare. The hotel room was all paid for by Phil.” He mentions something during this section on the Carlyle Incident about her “not” being a prostitute, and that “The ladies all continued to see Philip.” Cutler goes onto say that this woman took photos she had of Phil and sold her story to the National Enquirer.

“Bear in mind, DeSouza is not a witness to what happened inside the house. He was in the Brazilian army. Keep all this in mind, when evaluating evidence.” Cutler goes onto talk about the prior incidents and makes a point to say that “no one prosecuted Phil. No one sued. All saw him afterwards.” And then Cutler says several times something (to me) that is amazing. He repeats it. “What Mr. Jackson said is not evidence.” Well, what you are saying is not evidence either Cutler lol! He looks like a mob lawyer, and is somewhat dramatic. I’m getting bored with this guy now, and I look around for Mr. Dunne in the courtroom.

Cutler says, “A case can be scripted; choreographed, put to together, to make it show that these events go together.” (The same could be said for what the defense will try to do.) He’s implying that, Phil pulling a gun on women in the past is coincidental. It has no relation to this event that happened inside his home. “This is not a spectacle or event. It’s covered because of the achievements of Mr. Phil Spector.” “These were not patterns. These were isolated incidents.” (Oh really?) I notice for the first time that several reporters in the back row along side me are working their story on their laptops. In some respects I wish I had brought my laptop, but I only have the one battery, and it’s only good for two hours, if that. Cutler says, “It’s not a crime, to take a friend out to dinner.” And it’s now I think, what a statement! This is total obfuscation. Cutler says, “There are times for when you reach a pinnacle (in your life/career, and) it’s lonely...” It’s around this time that Peter Jackson objects to statements as arguments. And the judge sustains the objections. Peter Jackson objects to another statement by Cutler, and the judge sustains that objection again. Cutler reminds me of a bull dog. He says, “It was not a crime scene, no matter how many markers or tape they put up. It was a death scene; not a crime scene.” Cutler then goes on to say that “Alcohol, pain killers, a starter’s pistol; that doesn’t hurt. Evidence will show...(she was) a big strong, take charge assertive woman....whatever she was doing there, she took her life...”

Cutler tries to get into his opening argument, “Phil says to me every day, I’m not guilty. I did not shoot her.” Jackson objects; the judge sustains the objection, and the judge goes the extra mile to admonish the jury to disregard the statements by Cutler. There’s more statements like this, “lack of evidence,” .... “there’s nothing similar with this event to other events”..... “This was an accident; not at the hand of Phillip.” Cutler closes by saying, “I want to thank each and every one of you to sit on this case. .....thank the judge and his staff.....for making me feel at home in a foreign place.”

Next up is Linda Kenny Baden to talk about “the science.” Baden opens with the statement, “The scientific evidence will show you that government is giving you a story.” There is one witness with no motive or ties or language problems, and that witness is science. .... Science will tell you who did what.”

Her opening statements were very compelling in the way they were delivered. She goes into detail, covering 10 points as to why the science “proves” that Phil could not have been the one to have held the gun, because he couldn’t have been close enough. It’s at this point that Peter Jackson objects several times to the manner in which Ms. Baden is giving her opening statement, which he is claiming is argument. The judge over rules Mr. Jackson several times stating . “No, this is a story. It’s allowed.”

Baden says that science may even tell you that she (Lana) loaded the gun herself. That the government ignored the science. Phil did not hold the gun. He did not pull the trigger. He wasn’t close enough. She says they (PD) “used circular reasoning...” Her ten points included, location of the bullet wound, and she went into detail about the unique attributes of an “intra oral wound,” and that they are “classically self inflicted.” “The bullet graised the tongue.” “You do not swallow a gun like that unless you do it to yourself.” She went into great detail on the path that the police went in their investigation and how they went off track by at first thinking that Phil shoved the gun in her mouth in front of her teeth, but that proved to not be the case. She states that science will show that her mouth was around the barrel of the gun, her lips resting loosely on the barrel. There was no damage to the outside of her mouth. And, the fact that her front teeth (dental caps) were propelled forward and not inward, down the throat substantiates this.

She went onto say that the "...path of the bullet wound entry is consistent with a self inflicted gun shot wound.....path slightly upward.” She points out that the decedent was sitting on a low chair, only 15 inches off the ground. (As I type this, I actually take the time to measure the folding chair I sit on at my computer desk. The top of the cushion rests at 16 inches and the top edge of my dining room chair cushion rests at 18 inches.) “She was seated low.... the trajectory of the bullet was slightly upward....” I look on over at the jury. They seem alert; attentive. I notice several of the alternates in the front row nearest me taking notes.

Baden mentions a few famous forensic pathologists. Dr. Vincent Miao and his book Gunshot Wounds, and later, Dr. Lee and his book, and also mention’s Dr. Werner Spitz. And I think, so Lee is actually going to testify? After that horrendous job he did at the Michael Peterson trial? Sheesh! It appears that, according to these experts, the blood spatter from an intra oral wound can supposedly be projected out much farther than the prosecution has let the jurors to believe in their opening statement. Baden apologizes at this point for appearing callous. “Intra oral wounds are not your normal gunshot wounds. There is a difference where there is no exit wound. ... The gasses of the gun are huge and enormous. ... There is no forward spatter and they (the blood) go back out. ...The mouth/head becomes like a chipmunk." And she demonstrates for the jurors by puffing her cheeks out.

It’s now that we get our morning break, and I finally get to stretch and go to the restroom. I don’t want to be stuck in that courtroom needing to pee, and once leaving, not be able to be let back in by the deputy’s. I see the same prosecution clerk who worked on the Blake trial, but I can’t remember his name. From my understanding, back then, he was still in law school. I wonder if he’s passed his boards by now. I see Phil milling around at break, and I’m trying to look at the swveral tall, attractive bottle-blonde women near the defense side, and which one is Phil’s wife. The bodyguards are sitting against the back wall, in chairs right beside the entrance to court. Who are all these women? Are they staff of the attorneys? Are they girlfriends of Phil's wife? I ask Russ to point out which one is Phil's wife. The gentleman who is seated to my right points her out. Rachelle Short has her highlighted brown/blondish hair pulled to the back of her head with a cascade of curls falling down to her upper back/shoulder blade area.

Break is over, and we are back on the record. The Prosecution brings up an issue before Baden continues her arguments. The images up on the overhead Elmo, are two of the photos that Dr. Henry Lee took. Since the prosecution just got those images on Friday, the prosecution doesn’t want them introduced to the jury until the discovery violation issue is resolved. The defense argues that, they are eventually going to come in, so...(what’s the harm?) Jackson struggles for a rebuttal argument, saying something to the effect that he can’t believe this is what they are using for an argument ... and the judge smiles when he replies, “I hear these kinds of arguments all the time,” and rules in Jackson’s favor. The photos are taken down.

Baden continues her opening statement. It’s more detailed science on intra oral gunshot wounds. She puts up a photo of a book by the distinguished Werner Spitz. Baden makes a conclusion regarding part of Jackson’s opening statement (describing where Phil was standing, as close as Lana’s slip). She says, “That way to determine distance is wrong.” Baden goes into great length and detail to show that there is a tremendous amount of spatter material on “the decedent” but virtually very little on Phil. Consequently, he had to be much farther away. It’s now that I have the thought that this woman reminds me a tiny bit of Leslie Abramson (spelling).

She puts up an image of blood splatter on Phil’s right side jacket, and goes into detail where evidence was not found.

“None on his pants.
None on his shirt.
None on his (shirt) cuff.
None in his hair.
None on his shoes.”

And here is where she makes the startling argument (to me) that, “The absence of evidence is absence of proof of guilt.” “Phil has no tissue on him.” It’s here that the thought goes through my mind about Phil’s wife. I wonder about a woman who marries a man charged with murder, and still has to face that charge. I notice alternates taking notes and a couple, are resting their hands on their head and/or chins.

Baden: “No GSR on his shirt. None on his clothes.” The judge takes off his glasses and leans to the side with his right hand fingers holding the temple of his glasses. He appears (to me) to be fiddling with his glasses. He finally sets them down and folds his hands in front of him. A few of the jurors appear to fidget, but no one appears sleepy or yawning. They still seem alert. Baden mentions the name of a famous forensic dentist, called an orodontist (spelling?) who worked on the Ted Bundy case (How is that relevant?). Baden says, “Because the teeth are on the stairs (it shows) no one stood in front of her.” It’s here that she talks about how Phil’s DNA was not found on the bullets inside the gun. LE only found Lana’s and some other person’s DNA. There’ is an image up on the screen, of a gun with the round chamber area pulled away to show the six bullets in their chambers. She talks about the “trace” DNA that was found on this area of the bullets, and that it was not Phil’s. If accurate, this to me is a huge point that the prosecution will have to address.

Baden mentions the “blood on ‘diaper’ cloth' was clotted. “Phil had a lot of diapers in the house. They were used for different things.” Huh? I think who uses diapers? These must be a cloth type diaper and obviously not a disposable one. I finally notice that the location of the clock is on the wall directly behind me. As I’m watching this defense attorney deliver these compelling statements, I have a terrible, catty, judgmental thought about her. Why do older women who have dark hair think they can be more attractive as a blonde? And when they do go blonde, why do they get these terrible dye jobs? Like I said, it was a pretty catty thought.

When Baden tells the judge that she does have a bit more statement, the judge decides they would break now (it’s right an noon), and start up again after lunch. It’s always a mad rush to the very slow elevators. There are only four elevators that service the 1-11th floors, and they are slow as molasses. Since I will be bringing my lunch, I know I’m going to eat in the building cafeteria. It’s convenient, and it will easier to get back to court on time. Steve tells me that we need to be back at 1:15pm sharp. No later. He also asks me if I know how the coffee is in the cafeteria. I tell him that I don’t drink coffee, so I wouldn’t know.

In the cafeteria, I choose a table right next to where Dominick sits. An officer at the table across from me, engages Mr. Dunne with a few questions, and another woman comes up to him to talk to him. He’s very polite and gracious. Always talking to everyone who approaches him. When I finish my lunch, it’s 12:50 pm and I go back upstairs to wait for the courtroom to open again. While I’m waiting, a sheriff comes out in the hallway and says in a loud voice to everyone, “Watch your comments!” Jurors file out behind him, and another sheriff brings up the rear. There are only three reporters in the hallway waiting for court to restart. One is typing up her story on her laptop, the other two are making notes like I am on notepads. The woman asks us about Werner Spitz, “Is he a pathologist? And, who was the gunshot expert? DiMiao?” “Yes,” I say.

The reporters talk about the per diem they get from their employers, and listening in, I wonder about that; which news agencies are more generous with these types of benefits than others. I’m also guessing it just depends on what type of contract negotiations they went through when they were hired. Another reporter I had spoken to briefly before lunch joined us in the hallway. This time, I introduced myself and found out she is Dawna Kaufman, and she works for American Media. She is a very nice woman, who has a very positive energy about her. I ask her, who are all these tall, bottle-blonde women associated with the defense? She laughs and says, I know! Who are they? I tell her my real name and that I had attended the Blake trial. Most everyone asks if I’m in law school, and I tell them, no, I’ve just a public person, who’s had a fascination with true crime ever since my late teens. I mention that I was down here for one of the pretrial hearings, and wrote about that on several of the crime forums. She says to me, “You must be Sprocket. You’re famous.” I was completely startled by that statement, because I'm thinking, Huh? NOT famous by any stretch, lol! Dawna and I talk about our viewpoints on the JonBenet case, and I found her perspective interesting, given the fact that she is a reporter. I ask Dawna how she felt Linda Kenney Baden was doing, and she felt that she is doing very well. She felt the issue of the trace DNA on the bullet cartridges would need to be addressed by the prosecution, and I think she's right.

Dawna mentions to a few nearby reporters the fact that the attorneys (and reporters) kept referring to Lana as 41 years old. Dawna says she looked it up. Lana was two months shy of her 41st birthday; she was really 40 when she died. Several of the reporters discuss this, because they were all under the impression that she was 41. A sharply dressed reporter walks up to me and Dawna and introduces himself to me, but he says his name so quickly that I don’t catch it; just that he works for “Fox.” I don’t know if that’s our local Fox channel, or Fox News. The Fox reporter talks about the show “24” (he's a big fan) and American Idol, and what a “disgrace” that telethon show they aired was, and how shocking it was that the contestant Jordan got such a low vote turnout. I agree. I was quite disappointed in the whole hype surrounding it and how they used this show to drum up donations to this charity they developed. Finally, the courtroom opens up, we all file in.

Inside the courtroom, Russ tells me that there will be no court on Tuesday, May 1st, due to some demonstration that will be going on downtown. As we wait for Judge Fidler to get seated, Russ says he feels the judge is “very engaged; very confident. He’s very much in control of his courtroom.” When Judge Fidler takes the bench, he addresses the jury and says, “Remember when I talked about everyone having to serve jury duty?" He’s holding up his own jury summons! It’s too funny and many in the courtroom laugh. The Judge opens it up to see if there will be a conflict with this trial. His reporting date is sometime in August, and with a smile the Judge says, “We’re safe!”

Baden continues her opening statement. She talks about the actual position of the gun is really unknown, because it could easily have been moved during the “take down” of Phil in his “narrow, only ten feet wide entrance hallway.” (I'm thinking, gee, a 10 foot wide entrance hall is pretty wide to me.) I look over to observe the jury. Juror #2 is looking down and taking notes. #9 is taking notes. They appear somber, and one of the alternates appears to be having trouble staying awake. At least, her eyes are closing for a few seconds then opening again. Baden closes by saying, “If you listen to the science, through science, (this will) bring truth to justice....”

The prosecution is ready to proceed with their first witness, but they can’t locate her. It’s around 1:50pm, and I position myself to get a good view of the witness box. The witness is still not here.

“I’m sorry for the delay.....and I’ve just been told the CSCL elevators have just swallowed another human being." (From my notes, I can’t tell if Jackson or the Judge said this.) Laughter erupts in the courtroom. The judge then makes a comment about the inefficiency of the elevators. From where I’m sitting, I can see the Court TV control console feed, and as they flip from camera view to camera view. Peter Jackson tells the court, “I’ve just been told the witness is 59 seconds away. Judge Fidler, “How did you calculate that?”

The first witness is Dorothy Melvin, but she has to sit on the witness stand for a bit while the attorneys approach the bench and discuss an issue. I see the Court TV camera zoom in on Phil, and I can see one attorney has his arm around Phil, and he stays like that for a bit. Pat Dixon then takes the podium to question the prosecution’s first witness.

Dorothy Melvin is asked about when she first met Phil Spector, and the details surround those events. She first met Phil she said in the early 90’s. She wouldn’t be pinned down more specifically than that. At the time, she was Joan River’s manager; a job she held for approximately 20 years. She said the time span that she started dating Phil lasted about two years. When asked how often they went out, she said that was difficult to answer. The testimony quickly gets to the July 4th weekend of 1993. She talks about flying from New York to Los Angeles, and first visiting her parents. She then drove to Phil’s home at the time, 1210 Arroyo, in Pasadena. She had to call him a few times on her car phone on how to get there. She had never been to his Pasadena home before. She arrived somewhere between 8 and 10 pm. Later during cross she said it was somewhere between 9 and 10 pm.

She said, "He showed me around (the house) ots of beautiful things to see...him playing the piano....(he was) drinking from a round bottle with a handle....we talked....he talked...I talked......He drank virtually a full bottle down.” She said they went to the second floor and shot some pool. At some point in the evening he disappeared. But that wasn’t unusual; Phil often did that. She sat down on the sofa and fell asleep, and then sometime early on in the next morning (just before light) she woke up. The prosecution asked about her clothing and what she was wearing. She was wearing a short black dress with a fuscia jacket. When she woke up, she called out for Phil but he didn’t answer. She found him outside, and he was pointing a gun at her mercedes.

Dixon: What type of gun was it?

DM: Snub nose revolver.

It’s then that we learn that this witness is very familiar with firearms. She has shot off all types of guns that the prosecutor asks her about. Dorothy starts screaming at Phil, asking him “What are you doing?”

Dixon: He was pointing the gun right at you?

DM: Yes. In a loud threatening voice, he started screaming at me to get the F back into the house......and take my clothes off.

This goes on for some time, Phil waving a gun at her and screaming at her to get her clothes off . Then Dorothy said something sharp hit my head. I see juror #9 is taking notes. Back in the house, Dorothy says that Phil has her handbag, going through it, and he’s pulled out various items, and he pulls out her lipstick, and confronts her, WHAT IS THIS??!!!! And she says back to him that it was a lipstick. Apparently, Phil was accusing her of taking things from his house. The witness was terrified of Phil, and manages to get in her car to escape the property, but she can’t get out. The gate at the end of the drive doesn’t automatically open. She hears what she says sounds like a shot gun being cocked, as Phil finally approaches her car screaming at her to leave. She’s screaming back that she can’t; the gate is closed! And at that moment, it’s like a switch has gone off in Phil's head. He realizes that the gate is closed, and Dorothy says, he finally responds to that in a normal voice about the gate being closed. Eventually, the gate is opened and she can leave the property, but she leaves without her purse. As soon as she does, she calls 911 and tells them her approximate address. Officers arrive at her location, and Dorothy goes back to the police station with the officers, where they get ice for her forehead wounds. (Understand, there is quite a bit more testimony in regards to the series of events, and how she gets her purse back.)

Every time Dorothy talks about what the police officer’s say, the defense jumps up and objects. The judge, every time allowed her to comment, but reminded the jurors that what the witness says the officers said is hearsay. Rosen then objects to another statement in a very aggressive manner and the Judge admonishes him on that. He tells Rosen that there is no need for that in this courtroom. Dixon needs a moment to confer with Jackson, and I see Dominick get up to leave the courtroom. I bet the sheriffs let him back in. Dixon asks a few more questions about the times that Dorothy saw Phil after that event, and she made it clear that she was never alone with Phil after that incident. The prosecution said they were finished with this witness and the Judge called for a break at 2:45pm.

I really did need to stretch my legs. I get to see Phil standing up in the defense area. He’s wearing a long black suit jacket and has a white (appears to be silk) kerchief folded into his lapel pocket. His bodyguards surround him. He stays in the courtroom talking to his wife and one of the bottle-blondes. They are all talking very low, leaning in to whisper to each other.

I sit down outside the courtroom by the Fox reporter I met earlier. I apologize to him, that I didn’t catch his name. He says his name is Bob Massey (spelling?). As Phil walks by, he smiles at Mr. Massey and says hello. His wife is holding his arm, like he is being led. Bob speculates that Cutler will handle the cross of this witness. He feels the judge is very sharp and knows his rules of evidence. Mr. Massey and I talk about watching people, their expressions, body language and what that reveals about them. As a 19 year bodyworker, this is something I’m very familiar with. I mention that there are a couple of scientists who have broken facial expressions down to miniscule, individual muscles, involuntary muscles that we can’t control, and what they reveal about a person’s emotions. We talk about what it must be like for Phil's wife to sit there, and listen to this testimony.... what must be going through her mind. Bob said he watched her for a bit while Dorothy was testifying, and she appeared fidgety. He noticed she was sitting on her hands. I mention that I find it interesting that, this much younger, beautiful woman married a man who had a charge of murder hanging over him. Bob asks me what news agency I’m with, and I tell him that I’m not with any organization; I’m just a public person following this trial. And Bob responds with something that I’ve heard several times today when I say who I am, “Good for you.” These reporters have been a little surprised but definitely encouraging to me in my effort to attend this trial.

I mention to Bob that I attended about 90% of the Blake criminal trial. Bob mentioned that he observed the preliminary trial in that case. (I missed it.) Tom Messerau is a good friend of his. Bob felt that Messerau won that trial for him because he got so much thrown out and dismissed during the prelim. We then talk about our opinions on what we felt really happened to Bonnie Lee Blakely, and if Robert was the shooter. Break is over, and we head back into court.

Finally, at 3:05 pm, Rosen stands up to cross this witness. Rosen asks Dorothy, “How do you like to be addressed? Miss, Ms, Miz?” Rosen puts back up the photograph that the prosecution introduced of a smiling Dorothy and Phil taken at a party. Rosen asks Dorothy about the ribbon in the photo on Phil’s lapel. Dorothy says, that ribbon represents the loss of his son when his boy was 9 years old. Rosen asks another question, and Dorothy answers it not as he wanted, and Rosen is very forceful with her and says, “That’s not what I asked you!” The Judge immediately admonishes Rosen: “We are not going to have those type of questions between attorney’s and witnesses." I thought that was interesting. The Judge really rules his courtroom, and won’t let these attorney’s get away with badgering witnesses.

Rosen goes over her testimony in detail, wanting to find out who she discussed her testimony with and when she first talked about this incident. Rosen appears to be getting agitated with the witness, and in the next statement, asks about, “...when you were injured.” Dorothy replies, “I was assaulted.” Good for her! Rosen questions her, “You’re absolutely certain about pointing out these injuries on your head and bumps and contusions to the police?” Dorothy replies, “Yes. Two bumps and a small cut.” Dorothy then describes what she calls “...going into Phil mode...” explaining that was when he was screaming. Then he would instantly switch to “charming” for a moment then go back to being a lunatic.

Rosen: Did you slam a door in his face?
DM: No.
Rosen: Did you push him?
DM: No.
Rosen: You stayed in contact with him?
DM: He stayed in contact with me.

The defense wants to put up on the overhead elmo projection some emails, but the prosecution has a concern with the jury seeing the e-mail address and the attorneys approach the bench. The Judge rules that the e-mail address be blocked out on the e-mails that are put up on the elmo, and given to the jury.

Rosen then goes over some correspondence. He puts up on the screen several post cards that Phil wrote to her. Rosen tried to make a big deal of the fact that she still had them. She replied that they were in with a lot of other correspondence that she kept. Rosen put up on the screen an e-mail from Phil from 2002. The e-mail is addressed to “Dorothy and Toto,” something that the witness admitted Phil used to tease her about. I note that the e-mail is signed, “Phil, aka The Prince of Darkness" in a very gothic style type of font.

A second e-mail is presented that is signed “Love, Phillip.”

Rosen: He sent you postcards after the incident, Correct?
DM: Yes.

Prosecution objects again to the defense exhibits, and I believe this is where the Judge has the defense block out the address on the postcards, so they will not be visible.

Looking over at the jury, I think they look as tired as I feel. It’s very close to 4pm. Sitting still on a hard bench in the gallery with just a thin pad does get to your low back after hours on end. Rosen is still going over more postcards, with the witness that appear to be humorous. He’s bringing this out to stress Phil’s “charming” side. Rosen gets the witness to admit that Phil is “very funny, and talented,” and she agrees.

Rosen: You didn’t know Lana Clarkson?
DM: No.
Rosen: You were not at the residence (on the night Lana died).
DM: No, I was not.
Rosen: Anything you have read about this case...
Jackson: Objection!
Judge: Sustained!
Rosen: You attended his parties, yes?
DM: Yes.
Rosen: You did not bring a civil suit against him?
DM. I’m not litigious.
Rosen: He never fired a weapon?
DM. No, he did not.
Rosen: Never had you hold a hand gun?
DM: (no notes for response)
n: Never put the gun in your mouth?DM: No.
Rosen: You were not given the weapons to examine? (The gun he pointed at her and the shotgun.) You can’t tell the jury that those weapons were loaded?
DM: No, I can not. When you deal with guns, you assume they are loaded.
Rosen: Did he ever threaten to sue?
DM: Yes.
Rosen: Did he ever sue?
DM: No.

Cross ends. Redirect continues.

Dixon: Did you ever respond to those cards?
DM: They did not require one.
Dixon: Were you ever alone with him afterwards?
DM: No.

Recross begins.

Rosen brings up the fact that on January 23, 2003, you sent him an e-mail requesting all e-mails be rerouted to a new address? There is cross talk over the attorneys, while Dorothy is answering, explaining that it was a global e-mail that went out to all the e-mail addresses she had on her computer. The Judge says, “Stop, stop, stop,” and Dorothy finally stops talking.

Judge: Did you still have his e-mail in your computer?
DM: Yes.

Rosen brings up another e-mail she sent Phil, and he reads it to her. It’s an e-mail with an off color joke about a cardiologist, a gynecologist and a proctologist in it. The Judge says, (to Rosen) “In retrospect, maybe you should have had the witness read the e-mail.” There’s laughter in the courtroom.

Rosen: I thought the jury would enjoy it.
Dorothy says she doesn’t remember the e-mail she sent, or even get the joke.
Judge: I’m not going to comment or explain the punch line.

Small amount of laughter erupts in the courtroom. The gallery is getting very restless. Well, at least I am. It is after 4pm and I’m ready to move already. I check the clock. It’s 4:10pm, and the attorneys are still going, trying to get the witness released and not have to call back, which is why the Judge continued court past 4pm.

Rosen: Were the postcards still in your possession?
DM: It wasn’t that long ago and it was with all other mail from other people.
Rosen: (I know he asked a question, but I didn’t write it down.)
DM: I never was out of contact.
Dorothy goes onto say that the contact was ended when two detectives (called on her).
Rosen: They told you...
DM: No. I ended contact on my own.

Dorothy, in trying to answer another question by Rosen says that, “He was sending me clippings about the alleged murder.”

Both the defense and the prosecution say they have no more questions of this witness, and the jury is excused for the day. The court goes back on the record. This was really interesting. Jackson brings up an issue with the court. He says, that the defense opened doors--to witness knowing/experiencing prior bad acts. Jackson says, “This falls in line with the Tizano (spelling?) incident." (I realize this is an event that has been ruled as inadmissible!) “The prosecutions test is cross corroborating. She KNEW his history of (pulling) guns.” (Dorothy witnessed this earlier prior event where Phil went ballistic at a party thrown by Joan Rivers and was, from what I'm gathering, escorted off the premises and/or arrested.) Jackson makes a great argument, that he can bring her back to ask her if she knew of any other incidents....because the defense led the jury to believe that she had never seen Phil like this before, that this was her first experience with Phil pulling out a gun. But it wasn’t.

Judge: When faced with an angry woman--he didn’t shoot. (If I’m understanding my notes correctly, he’s rephrasing the defense rebuttal argument against all of this other stuff coming in.)

So! This could mean other evidence previously ruled out could be ruled in. The Judge says he will give it some thought. He says he might let in a question to the witness, just a simple, did she know of any other (incidents). Then the Judge goes onto say that Mr. Dixon was responsible for explaining the joke to Ms. Melvin.

As I exit the court, I see Dominick Dunne visiting with Dorothy Melvin, and they are chatting up a storm. In the elevator down, several of the reporters are asking each other if they heard the complete joke and did they get it. One of the reporters, in reference to the gun testimony says, “Just assume everyone is armed.”

On the Red Line home, I have the opportunity to observe several of my fellow passengers. There’s quite a diverse collection of faces and souls. I’m happy to be on my way home, while at the same time, I’m trying to see how I can arrange my schedule next week to attend as much of the trial as possible. I was lazy this morning and in the evening. I took the escalator verses climbing or taking the stairs down. I hope to do better in the future, like I had promised myself in February.

I hope you enjoyed my trial notes. Please understand that my notes should not be used in place of a more exact transcript of the trial. Although I tried to be as accurate as possible when I was quoting someone, I’m sure you will find some statements that do not exactly match Court TV’s Extra coverage.