Inside the courtroom, we are all waiting for the trial to start. I’m sitting in the second row on the far left next to Steven from the LA WEEKLY. Steven has a new article about the trial online. The black female sheriff comes over to me. I start to panic. What did I do now? She’s actually apologizing to me for yesterday, saying she sometimes has the same habit. But the worst news is, the Judge told her to check out my jaw chewing! I’m mortified. The Judge noticed my bad habit.
There are very few reporters today, and it was easy to get a seat into court. Spector is wearing glasses today. Since there have been quite a few posters on the Court TV forum that have been admiring Alan Jackson’s looks, I try to check his left hand to see if he’s wearing a wedding ring. He’s not. I make a note to remember to tell the poster’s that Mr. Jackson appears to be single. Spector surveys the gallery. His hands are not currently shaking. As he’s sitting, his elbow is resting on the arm of the chair, and he has his had sort of in front of his chin, almost holding it. Steven and I chat about how we both forgot our notebooks. He brought a script to a play with him to read, and he’s writing on the back pages of that. I grabbed my notebook from 4-26-07, and ended up writing on the back side of the pages.
I look over to check out Rachelle, Spector’s wife. She has her overly streaked hair in two french braids that end in two pigtails. I find this hairstyle an odd choice for court. A friend is with her. It’s not one of the bottle blondes, but a very thin, attractive woman. The Judge is on the bench. Rosen is trying to argue against new tape recordings coming in as evidence by the prosecution. They “have no bearing; foundation, relevancy, argument.” Jackson says they should wait until the witness testifies. The Judge says he can’t rule until he hears her testimony.
The attorneys and Spector stand when the jurors enter the courtroom. Stephanie Jennings is the next witness on the stand. She has a facial deformity. It looks like she has no nose. I wonder if, maybe she had a bad plastic surgery. I can’t tell from my notes, but I believe that Alan Jackson is presenting this witness. The witness says she lives in Philadelphia. She makes her living as a photographer. I miss writing down the year, but she was attending the Philadelphia Music Alliance (award ceremony) and she was covering the event, taking pictures of Spector. After she was through taking photographs, she was introduced to Spector. Jackson puts up a photo of her and Spector together taken at the ‘94 music conference. Jackson asks her if that’s her in the photo. She replies yes. Jackson then asks the witness to explain why she looks different than in the photo.
OBJECTION! Relevance! OVERRULED!
A: I had a car accident. It was two years ago. It was a very bad car accident. I totaled my car.
Jackson then asks her when she next met Spector again. She was having a drink at the bar of “Elaine's Restaurant.” She was emerging from the bathroom, and she saw Spector coming out of the restroom also. She tapped him on the shoulder and reintroduced herself by saying, “I photographed you (at the Philadelphia Music Alliance). He replied to her, “I almost shot you.” He then asked her to join his table. The witness can’t remember the other individuals in the party. The whole group went back to the Carlyle Hotel. It was fun. Everyone was having a good time, joking and laughing. There were at least four or five people in the group.
Q: Did your relationship become intimate?
It was kind of a long distance relationship. The witness states that the suite that Spector was staying in, was a suite that he “shared” with Princess Diana. “It was a long distance relationship.”
Q: Were there phone calls, cards, and letters?
Q: How long?
A: Two years. ... He called and asked if I wanted to go to the rock and Roll Hall of Fame after party. He said I would have my own room.
Q: How did you get to the event?
A: Phil sent a limo for me.
She attended just the after party, not the event itself.
Q: Where was the party?
A: The Wilshire Astoria. (sp?)
The witness testifies that she took one of her cameras with her to the party, but she had more cameras and other equipment with her back at her room in her camera bag.
Q: Was it a substantial amount of equipment?
Q: Did you check into your room before the party?
Q: Was he drinking?
A: Yes. He was drinking at the party.
Q: Can you describe how much?
A: I can’t give you an exact estimate. He was never without a drink.
Q: Towards the end of the evening, can you explain his demeanor.
A: Extremely drunk. Loud, insulting.
Q: Was his gait steady or unsteady?
A: Unsteady. ... I was ready to leave. I was tired. I hadn’t seen Phil for over an hour. I went back to the (Carlyle) Hotel via a taxi and went to sleep.
One of Spector’s bodyguards knocks on her door to her room, and says to her, “Phil wants you to go to his room.” She refuses. She’s tired, she wants to go back to sleep. Within five minutes, there’s another knock on her door.
Q: Who was at the door?
A: Phil was. ... He asked me to come over to his room. He was drunk and loud and demanding that I come over to his room. He said he was paying for the room. He was angry and loud. I tell him I can pay for my own room. We started arguing. I started packing my bags.
Q: Was it your intention to take your bags?
The witness testifies that Spector's main demand was, she had to leave her bags there. He was trying to prevent her from taking her camera equipment with her down to the desk to pay for the room. “He was following me around the room yelling. I went into the bathroom to gather my things (toiletries), since that was the last place I still hadn’t packed up yet. “He came into the bathroom and slapped me and pushed me. I in turn, shoved him He fell into the tub and the shower curtain came down.” Spector left the room and then came back into the room with a gun. It was a small gun; the witness was not sure which type of gun.
Q: As you think back, what type of gun?
A: I’m not 100% positive.
Q: Did he point it at you?
Q: Did he move a chair and set it in front of the door?
A: Yes. Yes, he did point it in my direction. ... I sat on the bed, crying. ... I picked up the phone and dialed 911. ... I just wanted to leave. He was..... I was not leaving the room without my bags. He thought I was calling my mom.
Q: Why did he think that?
A: He said, “You can call your mom all you want. She can’t help you now.”
Q: What was said to the 911 operator? What was the gist (of the conversation)?
A: She asked if this was a domestic dispute. Was I at the Carlyle. Did someone have a gun.
At some point, the witness was able to give the information to the 911 operator because Spector left the room to investigate a commotion Spector heard in the hallway.
Q: Did you see what Mr. Spector did with the gun?
The police arrived, and some came into the room. Some were in the hall. “The police were treating me like I was a call girl.”
Q: Did they appear to know Phil Spector?
Q: You felt like they didn’t take you seriously?
A: What was I to do?
She didn’t know what to do. The manager gave me money to take the train back to Philadelphia. I didn’t know what to do. I just wanted to get back home.
Q: Did Mr. Spector ever mention to you about this gun?
Q: Did you ever bring it up?
Q: Did you go to this event again?
A: He said I would have my own room, and that he would be leaving and that I wouldn’t be alone with him.
Q: Never alone with him again?
After this second awards event, her contact with him was only by phone. The last time she had heard from him, was when he asked her to fly to New York for a job to do some photography wok. He wanted her to leave that day. Since I couldn’t leave her current assignment that day, then the offer was off. Prior to that, after the Carlyle incident, she was invited to his birthday party. “I was supposed to meet him as his date. I did not. I was seeing someone else, and I didn’t think it was appropriate. So I stood him up.”
After that, she received threatening phone calls from Spector, telling her she would never work in this business again.
Q: At some time, did you hear about Lana Clarkson?
A: Yes, I did.
Q: Were you contacted by a writer?
A: I was contacted by many different media people. ... A writer wanted to talk to me about Phil Spector and use my photos.
Q: Did you know what paper he was with?
A: Initially, no. ... I believed it was going to be an article on Phil Spector, not about me. ... I later learned it was the National Inquirer.
She found out when she read the article. The witness said she was paid $12000.
Q: Did you think it was for being interviewed for the article?
A: No. I believed the money was for the use of my photographs.
Detective Tomlin contacted her. He was relentless in calling. He called her attorney. She was subpoenaed.
Q: Did you speak with the media since?
Court recesses for the morning break. I’m now able to get a peek at what Rachelle is wearing. It’s a matching tan/beige~ish suit jacket with matching shorts! SHORTS! SHORTS! And heels! I am totally flabbergasted she wore SHORTS to court! Phil an Rachelle talk and she is smiling and laughing. A bottle blonde shows up and joins Rochelle's friend on the defense side. I notice there are several more public people in the gallery today. There’s one woman who has shown up who is not with the press, but does appear to know Linda Deutsch and several other reporters. From what I’ve overheard of her conversations, she’s recovering from some sort of injury. Maybe she’s a reporter, but just not using her credentials?
Back on the record.
It’s now time for cross by Rosen.
Q: In January ‘95 were you aware of why he had bodyguards?
OBJECTION! Relevance! SUSTAINED!
Q: Regarding the second knock, didn’t you invite him into the room?
A: I don’t believe I invited him into the room
Rosen goes over her interview with the detectives. He’s using the transcript to try to impeach differences in her testimony. During that initial interview with detectives, she said the gun wasn’t pointed anywhere specific. On direct, she said Phil was pointing the gun at her. So, her testimony is not exactly the same.
I notice Juror #6 writing in his notebook, or, he’s leaning forward. He’s not watching the attorney or the witness. Ah, I see #6 finally looks up. He’s just going over his own notes.
Rosen tries to show that in her interview with detectives, she’s is more casual. She had been around guns. Rosen asks her if she knows about the Sullivan Act.
Rosen is now crossing her on the “romantic" relationship. Her first interview was with detectives Tomlin & Forneya (sp?). There’s a contradiction that’s dated to ‘96. ( I can’t remember what this note refers to. Damn.)
Rosen now puts a contract up on the Elmo. It looks like a contract to talk about Phil Spector; an interview. The contract is dated February 5, 2003. So, the witness did talk to someone before the investigators. Rosen goes over every detail of this contract. The amount was for $1,000 instead of $1,200. Standard legalese contract that appears to contradict her testimony. Rosen confers with Cutler.
No more questions from the defense.
Redirect by Dixon.
Q: It was a standard contract, correct?
She didn’t review it with her attorney before she signed it. She was always under the impression the article was supposed to be about Phil Spector instead of herself. On redirect, Dixon gets the witness to say that in her experience, there were “two” Phil Spectors. That he could just “snap.” Dixon tries to get in something about “personal knowledge.”
OBJECTION! SUSTAINED! Redirect is over. Rosen recrosses.
He’s trying to challenge her on her testimony. He’s trying to say she’s lying. That her statement to police is quite different, but (imho) is it really? She says that she didn’t think he would purposefully shoot someone.
Q: Did you feel threatened?
A: No, not exactly. (I’m not sure but I think this is from her statement to detectives, that Rosen is reading back, or getting into testimony.)
The witness is now saying that what Rosen is saying is out of context of the transcript.
There’s no redirect of the witness.
The lunch recess is called, the jury is excused. Someone, a “custodian of records” is going to be next .
Lunch break is over, and the defense arrives like a big wedge of bodies, the bodyguards getting people to move out of the way. The second Cutler arrives, he’s followed by reporters. Steven and I sit over by the jurors in the second row. As I watch Spector and Rachelle together, I’m struck by the fact that I’ve seen very little if any intimate touching between them. I see them standing and talking often, but Phil always has his hands clasped together, like they are now.
I see a new person in the gallery sitting behind me whom I’ve never noticed before. He asks me a ton of questions. Some of them quite perplexing. We are all waiting in the courtroom and I see that Lana’s mother hasn’t arrived back from lunch yet. The attorneys are debating an issue of a tape recording. The prosecution is trying to get in the recording. Beth Karas comes in and sits in a row behind me, right beside the Court TV guys who are monitoring the cameras on small control station. The defense is objecting to this tape, saying it’s highly prejudicial. The prosecution says something about leaving the jurors with a false impression. Roger Rosen is getting very emotional and riled up. The Judge says he won’t rule yet on the jurors time. He needs more information. The next witness is called. Vickie Daniels Mathews.
Vickie Mathews is a Police Communications Technician for the city (state?) of New York. She’s a S.P. R.N.T. which stands for Special Police Reporting Network Technician. She searched through the NYC microfiche and found the 911 call that Stephanie Jennings made from the Carlyle Hotel. The witness recovered those logs and gave them to the DA’s office. The prosecutor goes over all the coded text in the report and what it actually means. The witness is here to testify and explain what all the codes mean.
Direct questioning begins. the witness is asked to explain all the different codes and abereviations on the report and what they mean regarding the 911 call. It’s all very tedious and boring testimony. Finally a question is asked that becomes funny.
Q: “Slow down.” What it means....does it mean for units to conoiter (sp?), group together?
A: It means exactly what it says. Slow Down.
There is a bit of laughter over this in the courtroom.
The call started at 6:23a m and ended at 6:31 am.
Cross by the defense begins. The witness has been with the NY Police department 17 years. They get millions of calls. Back then, the calls are taped. They don’t have a tap recording of the call because the tape of this call was erased as a matter of course on April 14, 1995.
Q: Are there roll call sheets?
Q: Were you asked to find an (roll call sheets/) reports.
A: No. Not my job.
Rosen goes over every excruciating detail of the call, often repeating the information the prosecution got out on direct. It’s very repetitive and often is very exasperating. Steven and I feel like this is the most boring type of testimony there is. The cross of basically boring information. I notice the jurors are not taking notes. The jurors are watching the Elmo, with photos of the actual 911 generated report of the call and all the coded words.
Rosen gets the witness to read off where it says: ML standing by phone, with “ML” meaning = male.
Q: It doesn’t say sitting in chair in front of door with a gun? ... Nothing that says the male pointed a gun at Stephanie Jennings! Nothing in box C (on the form) that this is a serious crime and to get there (asap)!
After more of this, this witness is finally excused.
The next prosecution witness is called. Melissa Grosvenor, and direct examination begins.
In May of 1991 she was working as a waitress.
Q: In May 1991, did you meet a man named Phil Spector.
A: My sister and I lived in New York. We were friends of Ahmet Ertegun, and we were invited to a party. At this party (which I believe was held in a restaurant). Spector noticed her and said, “Where are you going?” Spector tried to get her to join his table where he had a part of guests. The witness declined. She had other plans, and left.
Q: Did you know who he was?
A: No, I did not.
Later, she found out that Spector asked her sister for her phone number. “We went out to dinner. He was real charming , and we had a lot of fun.” They started dating. It was a platonic relationship.
Q: How often would you go out?
A: A couple of times a month. We would go to basketball games. I would go to parties with him.
Q: In that dating time, after a year did he move?
A: He moved from one hotel to the Waldorf.
Q: The restaurant where you worked, how close to the Waldorf was that?
A: Just across the street.
Phil invited her to Los Angeles. His assistant handled all the details. She cleared her schedule to have four days off from work. However, when the ticket was sent over to her, it was only a one way ticket. She called Phil, asking why there was only a one way ticket. He said, “Oh well, maybe we’ll play it by ear. Maybe we’ll only stay one or two days.” And the witness didn’t question that. It sounded reasonable. A driver picked her up at LAX, and took her to a hotel in Pasadena. Later, she got picked up for dinner by his driver and they had dinner at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
Q: Did Phil drink with dinner?
Q: Did you drink?
Q: Was that the first time, you had ever been to his house?
The prosecutor asks the witness about the effects of alcohol (on Spector).
A: He wasn’t stumbling drunk, but he was drunk. Back at his house, he was slurring his words some. He was playing the same song over and over. (He was) dancing and drinking.
Q: After a period of time, did you have enough?
A: Yes. When I told him I wanted to go home, to leave, he pointed his finger at me and his demeanor changed.
The prosecutor asks what did she do next.
A: I sat down on a chair with my handbag. ... He came back in and he had a gun with a shoulder holster. ... He held the gun within inches of my face and said “If you leave I’m going to kill you.”
Q: Did you know if the gun was loaded?
A: I didn’t want to test it.
Q: Had you ever seen this type of behavior before?
A: No, I had not.
Recess is called, and we have the afternoon break. As I get up to stretch from sitting still for so long, it’s now that I see the first signs, the first glimpse of any intimacy between Spector and Rachelle. She touches his suit jacket in a playful, childlike way, with her hands, in small short pawing like motions several times. She’s smiling as she does this. Phil appears to be very animated while he’s talking to Rochelle now. He’s point his finger, and appears to be stressing a point. I’m across the room, so I don’t hear what is being said. From Spector's gestures, it’s like he’s giving Rachelle his own explanation (I’m speculating here: of what actually happened with this witness) and stressing a point.
On the same row/bench as me, there is a reporter from NBC Dateline. She asked me who I was with. Behind me, is the gentleman who was asking me all these perplexing questions. He’s dressed very casually and has a cross between a goatee and a full beard. When I asked him why he came to court, he tells me he’s a comedy writer, and that he thought that he would come down and see what the trial was like, how it was going. He tells me about his experience of getting to see one day of testimony at the OJ Simpson trial. It was the day of Mark Furman testimony, and the “playing of the tapes” with the racial slurs.
I see Spector watching the gallery from his seat at the defense table. The comedy writer talks to Beth Karas. Break is over, and the jury enters. After they are seated, I see Alternate #6 look out over the gallery.
The prosecution continues with it’s direct examination. The witness says that she was sitting in a chair crying hysterically. She then closed her eyes and fell asleep, sitting up in that chair. The next thing she knew, she was awakened by Spector tapping her on her foot. She noticed he didn’t have the gun or the holster. Spector asked her if she wanted to go get breakfast. She replied, “Yes, I did.” She just wanted to get out of there, and breakfast was an easy way to do that. She didn’t say anything about the incident (with the gun). “I was afraid to.” The witness said Spector drove her back to her hotel and she packed her things. She said a ticket was sent over. (For her to return to New York.)
Q: How long were you in Los Angeles?
A: I spent 19 hours.
Q: Did you tell someone about this (event)?
A: Yes I did.
Q: Who did you tell?
A: My family, friends. ... I asked Fran (a friend) to take me home.
Q: When you went back to work, you resumed your job, correct?
The witness states that after the event, she often saw Spector in the restaurant where she worked. At some point, she left NY and moved someplace else. She’s not sure how often she saw Spector in the restaurant, but it was more than ten times. And during the time he was in the restaurant, she had to serve him.
Q: Was he always pleasant?
A: In the restaurant (yes). Not when he called me up. ... He threatened me. He left me messages. He said, “I’ve got machine guns. I know where you live. You know what I can do.”
It’s not clear from my notes, but I believe an objection is called, and the attorneys have a side bar with the judge. While this is going on, I see the Dateline reporter ask a gentleman in the front row, (who appears to be holding the witnesses’ handbag) who he is, and how old the witness is. I later find out that this gentleman is the witnesses husband.
Back to questioning the witness.
Q: How did you get here?
A: They (detectives) came to my house in Wyoming. I was subpoenaed. ... In 1989, Polegi was my maiden name. ... I was convicted of bank fraud.
Direct questioning ends. This is what they were trying to keep out. I show this comment to Steven because we are too close to the jury to whisper. I observe the Dateline reporter give her business card to the witnesses husband. The attorney’s are currently in a sidebar with the judge, possibly having to do with the prior conviction of the witness. Everyone in the courtroom is watching the judge and attorneys. Especially the jury.
It’s 3:30 pm and cross examination finally begins. The question is will Cutler cross? He gets up from his chair and it looks like it’s going to be him, but he sits down again. Rosen will do the cross.
Q: Ms. Grosvenor, you are a convicted felon?
Q: Federal Court of Georgia, correct? US District Court, Southern District of Georgia?
I miss writing down her answer here. From my notes, it appears the witness is confused because she doesn’t know precisely which court it was. The defense enters the conviction document into evidence, and the judge makes a comment about the numbering of the documents that the jury finds amusing. The judge and the attorneys are now litigating which documents they can show the jury.
Q: (You were) convicted in 1989?
A: Yes sir.
Q: (It was) a felony?
Q: And that felony was embezzlement of bank funds; convicted in Federal Court where?
A: Augusta, Georgia.
The attorneys approach the bench again. Rosen it appears, still wants to get something in about this witness. The comedy writer chats with Beth Karas again, and the jury fidgets. Some are watching the judge; some are taking notes. The witness waits on the stand. It’s now that I think that Judge Fidler reminds me a lot of Bruce Willis, except, the judge is probably quite a bit smarter.
I see jurors #7 and #8 whisper, smile and laugh to each other. Juror #9 coughs. They all appear to be bored. I see juror #9 look out onto the gallery, but most still have their eyes on the judge and the attorneys at the sidebar. And the witness continues to wait.
3:45 pm, Rosen finally continues his cross.
Rosen puts up a job application document up on the Elmo.
Q: On October 31, 1988, you made an application to be a flight attendant. When you signed it, you signed it that it was true and complete. You signed it.
A: Yes sir.
Rosen shows that her employment history is incomplete on the form. That she was fired from the bank is not on the form.
Q: So, she knew when you wrote that, that it was a lie, correct.
Q: On the job application it asks “Have you ever been dismissed or asked to leave for a job, and you checked no. That was a lie, (wasn’t it)?
Q: You knew when you signed that you were giving false information (didn’t you)?
A. That’s correct.
Rosen now goes onto talk about when the witness lived with her sister, Angela, and that she is now estranged from her sisters. At one point they were very close. Although my notes end here, from memory I will try to fill in the rest of the cross. Rosen is asking her questions about “didn’t you say to your sister,” (blah, blah, blah), and the witness denies most of what Rosen asks. On one question, she does correct him and say what she actually said to her sister. In her final answer to one of Rosen’s questions, the witness gets in that “My sister is a drug addict, which is why I no longer have a relationship with her. I’ve stopped giving her money. I believe she is getting money from Phil Spector.” That’s from memory, and I’m not sure it’s exact, but that’s the gist of what she said.
The witness is released from the stand, and court comes to a close for the day.
Outside the courtroom, Sandi Gibbons is responding to reporters questions about which witnesses will come next. Sandi says she thinks there are about 10 more witnesses left to go, and that we still haven’t heard from the chauffeur. That he will probably be on the stand next week. There are some redacted documents that will be available to the press through her (or the attorney’s ???) office, tomorrow.
I hear Linda Deutsch say that Henry Lee might be testifying (in the discovery issue) next Wednesday. Linda says, “The defense said that.”
On the 17th, there won’t be any court. Peter Y. Hong says, “Chinese newspapers said, Dr. Lee left Taiwan. It was in the Chinese Daily News. He was on a cold case; a 1980’s murder case.” In the elevator down, I ask the Dateline reporter (I’ve been admiring her locks; she’s got great hair.) if the gentleman in the front row of court was the witnesses husband. She replied, “Yes.”
On the trip home, I’m grateful that I get a seat on the train and the bus. It was a long day, and I am worn out.
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.