Monday, May 7, 2007

Trial Notes, 5-7-07

9:11 am
I finally arrive on the 9th floor. The hallway just out side Judge Fidler’s court is full of jurors waiting for other courts. There’s no Spector. No Dunne. No AP reporter.

Alan from the court’s public relations office pokes his head out of the courtroom and surveys the hallway. Harriet Ryan who is writing the Court TV blog on the case is sitting right beside David K. Li as usual. I see Russ and say hello. At 9:25 am, the bodyguards lead Phil, his wife and another woman into the courtroom. I get in and get a seat in the row right behind Steven Mikulan from LA Weekly. We had chatted in the hallway a few minutes ago about the days he missed. Phil is wearing a blue suit with a pink shirt. Mr. Cutler arrives, and some of the reporters shout at him from the gallery, “Mr. Cutler! Mr. Cutler! How do you feel!!?”

I see the AP reporter talking with another woman I haven’t seen before. She’s in the public group like me, but she seems to know some of the reporters personally. I see the reporter John Spano go up to the front of the courtroom and extend his hand to Cutler and introduce himself. At first, it appears like Cutler doesn’t want to shake his hand. All of Spector’s defense team appear to be here, but I’m shocked at how different Linda Kenney Baden’s hair looks. It’s obviously been professionally streaked, and it’s in an up swept do. It’s a big improvement over the stark blond color she’s had since the beginning of trial. I can’t say the same for the outfit she is wearing though. It may be a designer suit jacket, but it is not flattering on her.

It’s 9:35 am and the judge still hasn’t taken the bench. Ah, there he is. He’s not in his robes. He’s by his clerk’s desk, witnessing some legal documents and signing stuff that has been brought to his court.

Steven and I identify Lana’s mother who enters and sits right in the front row. She’s been here every day of I trial I believe. Every day that I’ve been here, a man who has been identified to me as her boyfriend is right by her side. There is also a younger woman sitting on her other side of Lana’s mother in the front row, but I don’t know who that is. I look around the rest of the gallery and spot Joe Dominick from Los Angeles Magazine. Dominick Dunne and Eric Leonard from KFI are not here today. 9:40 am, still no judge on the bench. The AP reporter gets up and goes over to speak to the man sitting right beside Spector's young wife. A tall slender bottle blond, impeccable make-up and dress, comes in and sits on the defense side and chats with the bodyguards. 9:45 am, still on judge. Sandy G. from the DA’s office finally arrives. 9:47 am, Dixon, Jackson and Rosen emerge from the judge’s chambers. I missed seeing them go in. 9:49 am the judge asks if counsel are ready. Dixon nods his head. There are a few issues before the court.

Judge: Mr. Cutler, are you better?

The first issue before the court is about the e-mail communication with one of the jurors, #6. The attorney’s for the Los Angeles Times contacted the court, concerned that there might be an issue of whether or not a juror has been affected by communication he received. The second issue is about another juror, #7, who said that they think a photographer with a telephoto lens was taking photos of them and brought that to the court’s attention.

Juror #6, the first issue is discussed. I look over at Joe Dominick who is in the same row, and I notice that he is a “hooking” left hander. Juror #6 is brought into the courtroom and questioned by the judge. He’s asked if this communication incident would affect his ability to be impartial on the jury. He said it would not. The rest of the jury is brought in, and the judge asks juror #7 to explain their concerns, and the judge, communicating to the gallery, that woe is the person who would end up before him, if they are found to be taking photographs of any of the jurors.

The next witness takes the stand. Chris Russ, a police officer. Patrick Dixon questions the witness.

He is currently employed as an officer of the Pasadena Police Dept., in the “Standards and Procedure's Department.” This is one of the officers that responded to the scene when Dorothy Melvin contacted the police about getting her handbag back from Spector’s house in 1993. At the time of Melvin’s incident report, he had been with Pasadena six months. Prior to that he was with another agency in northern California for eleven years. In July, he was assigned to patrol work with his partner, and they got a call to report to 1210 S. Arroyo in Pasadena.

The photo of Phil and Dorothy Melvin at a party is put up on the screen for the officer to identify.

Q: When did you first meet Dorothy Melvin?

A: It was on the roadway. She was next to her parked car. She was at her boyfriend’s residence. He produced a gun and forced her to leave the residence.

The witness says that he didn’t know of Phil Spector.

Q: Did you have a face to face confrontation at this residence?

A: Yes I did. I explained why we were there and asked to search the house for the purse.

Q: Was he pleasant and courteous or upset and angry?

A: He was pleasant.

The officer and his partner read off the nature of the call, that it was a possible robbery and the presence of the gun. One of the officers would have briefed the sergeant. There is quite a bit more testimony as to all that they had to do to get the purse. Phil got upset and started making accusations against the officers and the officers left the house. They put in a call the sergeant. The sergeant arrived and the sergeant was able to get Phil to let them search the house. The purse was found underneath a dining room table. It was returned to Ms. Melvin.

Cross of the witness by Roger Rosen. I am able to see that most of Rosen’s notes are hand written.

Q: You started with the Linkson (sp?) Police Department?

A: That’s correct.

Q: Today your title is sergeant?

A: Correct.

Rosen is asking about his report writing class that he took when he became an officer. There are more questions about reports and making sure that all things of importance are documented. Rosen is basically insinuating that the witness didn’t adequately fill out a detailed description of the event. There were no supplemental reports, and Rosen makes a big deal that the title on the pages the report is written on says “Crime Report.”

The witness tries to explain that this is just the form they use, and that the report was forwarded to detectives for information only. The report is marked that way on the selection box and in the narrative.

I notice that Phil's hands are held together, fingers interlocked. His elbows are resting on the arms of the chair. His hands are shaking.

Rosen verifies the name of the witnesses partner DHALSTEIN (sp?).

I hear the clacking of Harriet Ryan’s computer. She’s typing very fast for the Court TV blog.

Rosen makes a big point that there is nothing in the report about Dorothy getting hit on the head, or that the officers even noted that. The witness states that he observed Dorothy lean forward and show her head to his partner. However, there’s nothing about that in the report that Dorothy applied neosporin to her supposed head injury.

Now Rosen is asking him about his interview with detectives in 2004, who were investigating the murder of Lana. He and his partner were interviewed.

Q: Do you remember what you said about any head injuries?

(From my notes here I think the officer did not remember specifically), and Rosen asks him to read from the investigators report of their interview with him. Rosen is going on and on about not taking any photographs of Dorothy’ Melvin’s head. But, it wasn’t because of Melvin’s head injuries that they were there at Spector’s residence. It was because of a robbery and a man wielding a gun. Rosen is trying to get the officer to say that since it’s not in the report, it didn’t happen, and there’s no photographs to verify it. Therefore, Dorothy Melvin wasn’t really injured. The witness stated that he remembered Dorothy Melvin showing her head to his partner.

Q: But there’s nothing in the report! The report doesn’t contain anything regarding a fifth of vodka! It doesn’t contain any information that Spector pointed a gun at her.

A: The report says “displayed a gun.”

Q: The report contains no statement that she was terrified. The report does not contain information that a gun was pointed at her! No statement that she could feel the welts on her head. There’s nothing in the report about charges, threatening to charge Mr. Spector.

Rosen is going over every tiny item of Dorothy Melvin’s testimony that’s not in this officer’s report.

Q: There’s nothing in the report about Phil Spector threatening to sue you.

The officer did recall it, but it’s not in the report. Rosen then attempts to make a big deal that there is a difference between “displaying” a gun verses “pointed at.”

Q: Was he drunk?
A: No.

Redirect by Dixon

Q: If someone displays or points a gun at you, both are serious situations, correct?
A: That’s correct.

On redirect, the prosecutor get the witness to explain the reason the report says “crime report.” It’s not “really” a crime report. The witness recalls both officers talking to her but didn’t over hear everything that was said about Dorothy Melvin. Dixon gets the witness to point out that Spector wasn’t given a test for alcohol because he wasn’t driving a vehicle.

Recross by Rosen.

Rosen goes over again, the difference between the word displayed verses pointed.

The judge calls for a break. At break, I go to the restroom, but the male sheriff right inside the courtroom doors won’t let me back in until break is over. As I wait, Spector is escorted out with his bodyguards. As he passes, I smile at him and he smiles back. I see Roger Rosen and Patrick Dixon chatting about something as they head back to the courtroom. I hear low laughter coming from Patrick Dixon. Back in the courtroom, Beth Karas comes in to observe some of the trial. Steven tells me it was strange in the men’s room, with Phil and all the bodyguards. I watch some of the gallery, and the interesting way that Joe Dominick holds his paper and pen to take notes.

Steven says that those massive bodyguards are not really equipped to move fast or chase after anyone. They’re really only useful to keep space between Spector and anyone who might want to throw acid on him or something. We’re back on the record.

The prosecution is about to play a tape of recorded phone messages from Phil to Dorothy. And I’m thinking, geez! This is like, ten years old! You have to wonder about someone who saves this stuff after all these years. The defense objects citing “352” to these recordings coming in and heard by the jury. It’s explained to the defense that this was already litigated. “Oh, you did rule on it.” The defense says they are objecting to some, and the prosecution said they removed the ones they had objected to. Defense is still objecting to any of them coming in. They’re now objecting as to the use of language. The judge over rules the objection. Cutler then stands up. It’s like he’s just now hearing that these tapes are coming in, and he says, “Something is getting past me?? Is this being played now?” Man, was he asleep at the defense table?

The jury enters the courtroom. A transcript of the audio phone messages is given to each juror. The defense wants the judge to make sure that the jury knows the actual evidence is the audio recording and not the transcript. The audio is filled with rambling messages.

“So where are you, and call us, and don’t be so mysterious...” I’m amazed at the use of the word “we” verses “I” in Phil’s first message to Dorothy. “We hope this is the right number to reach us at....” In this first message, he only uses the word “we” instead of “I.” It’s weird.

Then, there are messages that are clearly relating to “after” the assault.

“I want you to know it was the right thing to do...” “I really understand. It’s okay.”

Then a second and third apology.

“In any event, I don’t have any ill will...”

Fourth message/apology: “You never did anything. It was all my behavior...” “My behavior was inexcusable...” I apologize. I wish you well and I am sorry because you deserve a lot better than that.”

Fifth message. He mentions something about his “nipple ring” that I miss getting in my notes.

“I ws expecting a return call. But be careful what you say to me because nothing is worth your life.”

Sixth message. “You deal with my lawyers from now on. Your F***** and you will see papers Monday morning!”

And that’s the end of the morning session. Recess until 1:30 pm There are more issues before the judge. Rosen is objecting to tape recordings that the Jennings witness brought to court with her. The judge says he will wait until the witness testifies, and then he’ll rule on their admissibility.

At lunch I step outside the building to get some fresh air. I’m close enough now that I can see the letters etched into the building. It says, CITY HALL. It’s the original building. I see Joe Dominick pacing outside with a cell phone glued to his ear.

Passing time is slow, even though I had brought a book. I try to stretch out my low back as I stand. It helps some.

1:11 pm
Back up on the 9th floor, the reporters start straggling back in. Dawna shows up! I hadn’t seen her at court for several days. LKB is talking to the Court TV reporter, Michael about her hair and what happened but since she said to him that it was “off the record,” I’ll respect that and not write what she said. Dawna says that the ANS case is still big news and that story has been occupying most of her time. The reporters chat and joke among themselves, waiting for court to start up again. I tell her that there has been a lot of criticism of LKB’s hair on the forums. Dawna says, “It’s a shame,” that her appearance is being criticized, “...because she’s such a brilliant attorney.”

1:35 pm
We’re back on the record. The attorneys are going over an audio tape that was brought in by the next witness. Jackson is not going to use it in his case in chief, but Rosen needs time to listen to it. There are not that many people observing the trial today. Rosen and Cutler are conferring with each other, and Cutler wants to hear the tape. They’ll have to do it during the next break. The judge brings in the jurors. One of the reporters clarifies for me who is who in the front row. They think the taller, dark haired man is Lana’s mother’s boyfriend, and the shorter, silver haired man is her attorney.

The next witness on the stand is Dianne Ogden. She’s a sharp looking woman. It’s not until days later that I find out she’s still relatively young. She’s actually pregnant. She met Spector in 1982. Naughty (sp?) Egan, Spector's publicist introduced her to Phil. At the time, she was a talent casting coordinator. She was extensively involved in the entertainment industry. Dixon questions the witness.

Q: In 1982 were you involved in the entertainment industry?
A: Yes.
Q: Were you involved with the Grammys?
A: Yes.
Q: (I missed the question)
A: It was her assistant who wanted to get us together. Not Phil. I didn’t know him, no. (snip) He was funny. I thought he was a gentleman.
Q: Dinner was late?
A: 9-10 pm

Spector asks her if she wanted to see his home. At the time, it was off Sunset Blvd., in the hills. The witness says it was an interesting house. It looked like a castle. It was kinda scary. He had a popcorn machine. He was drinking, but not at his home.

“He had a buzzer to lock the doors” (snip) “I couldn’t get out. I tried the doors, I couldn’t get out! I thought it was odd because I’d never seen that side of Phil before. I was laughing because I was nervous.”

Spector finally unlocked the door, and she left. In 1988, the witness saw him again. Its now that the black female deputy comes over to me with a napkin in her hand telling me to give her my gum. I get this bewildered expression on my face and say, “I don’t have any gum.” Complete embarrassment here. I have a nervous habit that I’ve had since a child that starts when I’m totally engrossed in something and I don’t even know I’m doing it. I start gnawing on the inside of my cheek. I’m paranoid. I now think the deputy sheriff has it out for me, and she’s looking for any reason to kick me out of the courtroom.

The prosecutor now takes the witness to an event she experienced with Spector. It was a bad experience. Her voice immediately becomes very emotional. This was a dinner party that she helped arrange for several people at Spector’s house. She thought it would be okay since several people were there. Everyone had left and she was the last person to leave and she was trying to get out of the house. Suddenly, Spector had a rifle in his hand on her right side. The witness is getting even more emotional, just talking about this event. She then suddenly turns and says something to the judge.

“Can I say something. I just want to say, I did not want to come here! I was subpoenaed to come here. Two plain clothes police officers came to my home in Park City, Utah. Came to my door at 7:30 am in the morning! My children were with me and I was terrified.”

This was a year after Lana Clarkson was killed. The witness had never contacted LE.

Q: (That night, ) did you know if Spector has been drinking?
A: Yes. I don’t know how much.
Q: (missed this)
A: I couldn’t understand (what was happening). This was not my Phil. This was not the man I loved. I can’t even describe it. It was demonic. (snip) I sat down. I said, “Don’t do that!” He had a pistol to my face. He put the pistol here, there ( The witness demonstrates with her hand where Spector put the gun on her face.). It reminded me of my step father. (snip) It just scared the hell out of me.

Q: Did he repeatedly touch your face with the gun?
A: Yes. (She wrote about this in her journal.) “He wanted me to go upstairs to the bedroom.
Q: Did you spend the night there?
A: Yes, I did.
Q: Did you want to be there?
A: No. He did it by gunpoint! He wanted to rape me! (snip) He had me take off some of my clothes and he tried to have intercourse with me. It was icky.
Q: Did you have sex with him?
A: He tried.
Q: (missed this)
A: The next morning, he was singing in the bathroom, in the shower. Like nothing had happened. (snip) It was weird that.... no discussion. He never mentioned it. He never said he was sorry.
Q: There was no reference to what had happened?
A: He said he was going to blow my brains out! (snip) That was not romantic if we were going to make love.
Q: (missed this; something about seeing him again)
A: I did see him again. (snip) I thought he had a drinking problem. I still cared about him. (snip) After a period of time passed, I went to his house again.

The witness describes how Spector chased after her to her car with an “uzi.” He was slamming it with one hand against the window. She could see in her rear view mirror Spector running after her. “He was screaming nonessential things. He was yelling. He wouldn’t stop yelling.”

“I thought, That’s it.

I notice that the jury appears to be very attentive.

(Afterwards) “I know that he called me a few times.” The witness states that she got married in 1990 and moved to Florida. “He sent me cards, roses. He was a very thoughtful man.”

The court recesses for the afternoon break. Steven and I discuss the witness. Finally! Some decent testimony/action. She’s a great witness. She reminds us of Goldie Hawn.

2:50 pm Back on the record. I feel Dixon played that really well. He got her to say rape. And the defense will try to tear her testimony apart.

Q: You didn’t report this to the police?
A: I wanted to protect him. (snip) Maybe I should have done it. (called police) Maybe it would have helped him.

End of Direct. Cutler gets up and he’s going to do the cross.

Q: Have we ever spoken?
A: No.
Q: Have we ever discussed this case?
A: No.
Q: Was 1998 your last contact (with Mr. Spector)?
A: Yes.
Q: Did you know... (Cutler is using a big booming voice here)
A: It never culminated in a real romantic relationship. It was never a sexual relationship.
Q: What is a casual dating (relationship)?
A: It could mean a kiss; having dinner and being friends.
Q: You never had sex?
A: That’s correct.
Q: Did you also think Phil was guilty?


Q: About the first incident; there was nothing about a gun?
A: correct.
Q: Did your relationship with Phil change?
A: Yes.
Q: You worked for him as an assistant?
A: Yes. Part time out of my home. (snip) I enjoyed working for him. I trusted him.
Q: 1988 was the first incident with a gun...

Then something in my notes here about 3/89...No, 3/89... It appears she’s disputing the date of the first incident. Cutler brings her a paper to review. It’s the investigators report. She says that the first incident occurred in 1989, in spite of what the report says. “I may have said ‘88. (snip) I don’t know if he taped the interview.”

Q: Did you say there was a lot to love about Phil Spector?
A: Yes. (snip) He helped Ike Turner. He was very generous.
Q: (I miss writing this one down.)
A: I was surprised by the two detectives. I could have said that.

Cutler is trying to pull out inconsistencies in her interview with the Los Angeles Detectives and her statements today.

OBJECTION! SUSTAINED! (I have no notes what this one is about. Sorry!)

Q: Do you recall....


Judge: The question is improper. The question is sustained.

It appears the detective’s report has several errors relating to one of the party guests. The report says one man’s “wife” was there, but the witness says it was the man’s son. She’s sure because the man was not married at the time. He had a girlfriend.

Q: Did you know Philip had guns?
A: Yes.
Q: How did you know it was an Uzi?
A: Philip told me it was.
Q: Did he fire a gun in your presence?
A: No.
Q: Did you fool around with a gun in his presence? (I’m not sure about the accuracy of this question.)
A: No.
Q: Did you provocatively play with a gun in his presence?
A: No.

The witness responds with all of these “NO’s” very emphatically. The judge is now admonishing Cutler. I notice juror #6 yawns, same as I do right now. The jury fidgets about a bit and so do I. For me, it’s these hard wood benches with no cushions. The judge now admonishes Cutler over questions about her handbag. His voice is booming and accusing.

Judge: (To Cutler) You will not yell or point at a witness. I told you before. DO NOT YELL. The Judge (at the jury??) (unsure about my notes here) about Cutler’s booming voice. The Judge is really shutting Cutler’s theatrics down.

Q: Did you form an opinion? (Cutlers voice is booming again!) Did you.... (snip) How tall.... (snip)


Q: What did you read (about this case)?
Q: What did you hear (about this case)?

Judge: Mr. Cutler! You need to stop yelling. Now Dixon getting upset and raising his voice!. It’s now that Cutler makes this amazing statement! “I get exercise... (did he say exercise or excited?)...Something goes off in your head.” It’s totally amazing that cutler says this, because this is what the prosecution thinks Spector did. Lose it. Lose control.

Judge: Even if the devil made you do it.....
Cutler: You’ve totally....


Cutler gets very animated now.

Q: Didn’t you tell Mr. Bennett (I don’t get this name correct). (snip) You don’t know what Paul Schaffer told investigators about you?
A: No I do not!!!!

OBJECTION! Improper form.

Judge: Mr. Cutler! I’ve told you too many times. If you hear my voice, STOP TALKING!
Q: You never mentioned that before? (snip) You just added that! The pocketbook never came up! There, with Spector!

Earlier, on direct, she states that she was getting ready to leave, and her “...pocketbook was over her shoulder, and I wanted to leave.” So now, Cutler is trying to get her to admit that she just added that today on the stand. She never said that with the investigators before.

Q: You told Bennet (don’t know if this is the correct name) on the very first day... (of their interview with her)....

Q: Did you ever act professionally?
A: NO!
Q: Are you acting today?
A: NO!!
Q: You threw in that bit about the rape! “Blow my brains out!” That’s not in the report either!
Q: Ms. Ogden, You have intentionally...
Q: Have you intentionally..... (snip) Blow my brains....That’s an uzi....

The witness needs to use the restroom so the judge calls a recess. Steven says, she drank too much water on the stand. Cutler is trying to impeach her with the detectives report, saying she embellished and added these other statements to match what happened to Lana.

It’s now that I observe Cutler and Rosen off to the far left, right next to the jury box. (The jurors are not in the courtroom) They are discussing elements of the witnesses testimony. Cutler is very animated saying “Blow my brains out! The pocketbook! Come on Roger! You don’t let that go! Rosen who is listening to Cutler but his eyes are downcast is shaking his head while Cutler is talking.

Some reporters have speculated that Rosen and Cutler don’t get along, and that Cutler’s histrionics won’t play well with the jury. The Judge, watching the dramatics of Cutler, is making these great facial expressions. There’s some talk that I don’t totally get. I miss it, but I have snippets of it in my notes. Someone says, “The dynamic duo of the prosecutions office.”

Judge: Which one is Robin?

It’s 4:10 pm. Looks like court is going to go long today, to get this witness finished on the stand, so she doesn’t have to come back to court again. Back on the record now.

Spector and the rest of the attorneys stand and the jury comes in. Phil (?) says something to Cutler and Cutler responds, “I know.” Cutler is bringing in a document as new defense exhibit.

Cutler: Mark this defense exhibit H, as in Happiness?
Judge: If only.

A tape is now played for the jury. This is a tape that the prosecution did not want to use as a part of their case. I can’t tell from my notes if this is Dianne Ogden’s tape, or not. Yes, it is. Cutler gets the witness to admit that there are no dates on the tape.

Q: On the tape, is this before the gun incident?
A: Yes.
Q: Did you send Philip an e-mail in late 2002?
A: No I don’t have his e-mail address.

Judge: It’s 4:30. We need to wrap it up or put it over into Wednesday.

Cutler: It’s a wrap.

Prosecution: No more questions your honor.

I finally take a note of what color kerchief Spector has in his coat lapel pocket: Its baby blue. The jury won’t be in tomorrow, and they will be continuing the discovery issue. Spector takes his 977 waver not to appear. The Judge says on 5/23, there will be no morning session.

And that’s the end of my notes. It takes me longer to get back home on this day, finally pulling into my driveway after 6:00 pm. The fur kids let me know chow time is late.

I hope you have 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.