Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Leftover Pie, Police Procedures and Urine Samples

I drove this morning to court. Traffic was horrendous. And when I get to the courthouse, the security lines were triple looped, with only two scanners working. When I finally make it to the 9th floor, ccarroladams (CCA) and houdinisback (dini) are already there. CCA starts in by explaining to me in detail, how he knows that Michael Bay was not at some musician's party on January 23rd, 2003, a Thursday, one of only two dates that the Pie was certain of on the stand. He knows that Mr. Bay was in post-production on a film that had to be finished by January 30th, so he could show it to the investors. He's certain, because he knows exactly what buildings Bay was using at Universal and Technicolor. I'm not really understanding all that he's saying, but I'm scribbling down notes as fast as I can. Monday night, CCA put in a call to talk to Mr. Bay, and got an off the record quote. This morning, CCA talked to Alan Jackson outside the courtroom about contacting Mr. Bay, and I believe helped Jackson get in touch with him, but I'm not positive on the exact sequence of events, or how it came about. (The next day, Michael Bay made a statement on his own message board about this accusation, where he also states he spoke to the prosecutor. Well, at least when I first read the link I could have sworn he said he spoke to the prosecutor. Maybe I'm mistaken or he edited his post.)

Finally inside the courtroom, I take my seat next to Dominick and dini and CCA sit right beside me. It's now that dini tells me that earlier, she had quite the conversation with the Pie in the women's restroom. After meeting the Pie and talking to her girl to girl, she felt more sympathetic towards her. As we look on over at Rachelle to see what she's wearing today, dini says, "She has the Heidi look on today with pigtail braids." She's wearing knickers again, with a matching vest. The blouse is a little white, short puffed-sleeve thing, and she's wearing some expensive fuck-me pumps on her I-wonder-what-size feet. There's no question that Rachelle Short, who has appeared topless in Playboy Magazine, is a tiny woman with a good figure and attractive features. She would have to be to get a small part as a stripper in the movie Tigerland, where she also appeared topless.

The tall, black haired attorney for the family turns around and asks Carlson Smith how he is feeling today. He had a bad headache yesterday and was rubbing his head all afternoon. More people from the DA's office come into the courtroom and sit in the row behind me. Miriam Hernandez from the local ABC channel 7 is here. As we wait for court to start, Dominick, Ciaran and Steven all talk about the recent capitulation of the Los Angeles Dioceses to pay out over 600 million to more than 500 victims of child abuse by local priests. One of the reporters says, "No one laughs at priests and young boy jokes anymore." Several bottle blonds are sitting over on the defense side. Of all of them, I have to say that Roger Rosen's girlfriend (who I understand works in his office) is the one with the best color treatment. She also dresses the best for court too, usually wearing a suit. As the Pie passes in front of us to take the stand, I won't repeat what Dominick does when she passes. He obviously doesn't like her, and doesn't believe that this was ever a "friend" of Lana's.

It's 9:50 am and we're finally getting started. Jackson continues his cross of the Pie. Jackson is getting the Pie to verify what events she went to surrounding Lanas death: the memorial service, the funeral and a wedding she went to soon after.

Q: You carried a picture of Lana with you (to these events)?

A: Yes.

Then Jackson asks her about statements she made to people at these events and the Pie's memory suddenly goes away again. She replies, "I'm so sorry, I was dazed and confused at that point." Jackson confronts her again, asking her, "During a conversation with Rick Brody (at one of these events), didn't you say, We need to fry that bastard for killing Lana?" And the Pie replies, "I never believed that, so I know I would never say that."

Right after that question Rosen gets up to try to redirect the Pie.

Q: You never believed what?

And the Pie is stumped. It's obvious that she had not rehearsed for this answer, because she is like dumbstruck on the stand.

A: Uh.... Can you move onto another question?

Unforkin' believable. She actually tells the attorney to ask her a different question! And Judge Fidler, not real happy with this, instructs her to answer the question. Rosen moves on and asks her "As far as you can remember."

A: I know my phrasing, I know I would never be that aggressive.

And I'm laughing inside after she says this. Because we have evidence that she would. Dominick and I discuss how she just came up to him and greeted him like they were long lost buddies, two days in a row. I tell Dominick I think that's how she networked. She went up to famous people she wanted to meet and just pushed herself on them, by acting like she knew them. Maybe at some party event, the Pie went up to some big name she wanted to meet and they dissed her.

Now the Pie is stating that it was because of her recommendation, the family held Lana's memorial service at the spiritual center Lana loved. And I'm thinking "What hogwash!" As if Lana's family was clueless in this department. When the Pie was asked why she didn't tell the police, she gets even more unbelievable. "I knew what I knew they needed to know, and I felt trapped; trying to tell them other things but not all things. It was hurtful. It was sad." I want to run up to the witness box and shake some brain cells back into this woman! (Something Steven is jokingly always trying to get me to do.) Even on the witness stand over four years later, the Pie still thinks this is all about her.

It's now that Rosen tries to resurrect her gaffe during direct, where she called Lana's death "a murder." "Oh, I was just confused," she said. "We are in a murder trial." The Pie also tells us that her friend Anne Marie and the family attorney, Rod, told her to, "Keep her mouth shut about the suicide thoughts." The Pie also lets us know about her own low comprehension levels saying, "I didn't know what, a defense investigator was. I didn't know what that meant." When asked if she did speak to any investigators she says, "I don't remember. It's not my forte." (But partying big time, getting plastered and losing what brain cells she has left certainly is.) Rosen gets in a few more questions then passes the Pie on to Alan Jackson for recross.

Q: This is just a little bit different truth, than you told Tomlin and Forneya?

A: Yes. (snip) I said before, I had to hold back.

When the Pie is finally released from the stand, she exits with a big thud. Before she goes she actually says, "Thank you very much." WTF? All this time did she think she was auditioning for something?

The defense calls their next witness, James Hammond, who's an officer for the City of Alhambra. Bradley Brunon performs the direct examination. He was one of the first officers on the scene at 1700 Grand View on the night of the murder. Brunon takes the officer through all that happened, specifically focusing on the "storm trooping" tactics the police used to arrest Spector. I'm surprised that one of Spector's statements to the officers actually comes in, where Spector said, "You got to come in and see this," to the police. I look over and see that Linda Kenney Baden is not on her laptop today. (There's been quite a bit of speculation on the Court TV message boards what Ms. Baden is doing on her computer at the defense table.) Brunon puts a photo of the crime scene up on the Elmo with Lana in the chair, showing the shield on the floor the police used to rush Spector. The family looks away. I look over and see Heidi wrapped up in her polar fleece blankie. Alan Parachini from the court's public liaison office comes into the courtroom. I see Mrs. Clarkson and her attorney lean close to discus something. More questions from Brunon, "Did you hear him ask for his white jacket or to get a list of phone numbers?" And the witness replies, "I don't recall that." (All during this officer's testimony, an undercover officer who was at the scene is identified as "Detective Pee," to protect his identity, and I find it pretty funny they use this initial.)

Q: Did Detective Pee try to use the tazer directly on Mr. Spector?

A: I heard it go off once. (snip) I recall him going for the body contact, but I didn't hear the (sound of it) go off.

That's about it, and Dixon stands up to cross the witness. I notice that Alan Jackson isn't in the room. I didn't notice when he slipped out, and I'm wondering what was so important, that he couldn't get an assistant to retrieve it. Dixon does a marvelous cross of this witness. Point by point, he turns this witness to his own advantage. Officer Hammond explains about officer safety, and that it's all about ensuring that each officer gets to go home at the end of the day. Everything the police did, every move they made, the reason for it is explained in detail. Dixon gets the officer to explain that "We were aware that a gun had been used and a gunshot had happened." The officers had spoken to Adriano DeSouza, and DeSouza's recollection, of what Spector said to him gets read on the stand to the jury again.

There's an interruption in the testimony. An attorney for somebody~I guess correctly that it's Madam Jody "Babydol" Gibson's attorney~ approaches the bench and the rest of the attorneys approach also. Dini, who must have the best hearing around, says she overheard the Judge say, "I'm annoyed with your client. She has repeatedly ignored my order." I write down a short description of Babydol's attorney but the posters on the Court TV forums have a better description, calling him the "travelocity gnome" and "Colonel Saunder's."

The attorney's leave the bench and Dixon is back on cross. Brunon keeps trying to object to Dixon's questions but the Judge continually over rules him and takes the extra steps to explain the reasoning why to the jury. I see Plourd and Heidi in an intense conversation for about a minute. Most of the jury is leaning back. Four or five of them are taking notes. Rosen looks back at the gallery with a stern expression on his face. I believe I catch eye contact with him for just a second. It's ice cold in the courtroom today. In fact, I don't think it's ever been this cold for me before, and I'm shivering with just a short sleeved blouse on. Sandi Gibbons enters the courtroom. I also failed to notice when Alan Jackson reentered the courtroom. I'm pretty sure he was there when Babydol's attorney was at the bench. I see Donna Clarkson accidentally look up at the Elmo, and then she puts her head down, and places her right hand up on her face to keep from seeing the screen. Fawn turns her whole body away from the images and towards the jury.

Earlier in my notes I have written out a question that the Court TV posters wanted me to ask Steven. Some posters were concerned when Steven wrote (about Jennifer Hayes Reidl) that this deffense witness connected with the jurors somewhat. In response, Steven tells me, "Maybe it's only me. Just by the expressions on the jurors faces, and it was also an opinion of another reporter in the back row. But who knows. It was just my impression."

Brunon continues his redirect of his witness. Brunon brings that statement in again of Spector inviting the officers in. I write this note to dini: This is all to prove/show their contention the gun was moved...by police. There are photos on the Elmo of Lana again, and the Lana's family turns away and looks down. At this point, Detective Pee is brought in as an exhibit, and then, just as quickly, he leaves the courtroom. There's another sidebar, with Brunon and Plourd at the bench. Rosen is in deep conversation with Linda Kenney Baden. Dominick and I discuss the reasonings for the scuffle and the point to prove the gun was moved. Dominick leans into Sandi to whisper his thoughts about the Pie. Back to questioning, Brunon asks the witness, "Did Mr. Spector make a statement: I'll tell you what happened? " And then the attorney's have to approach the bench again. This is all about the self serving statements. The Judge strikes the question, "I can explain, I can explain," from the record. I write a note to Dominick: In my opinion, none of this helps the defense.

After this witness is excused, the defense informs the court that they are not going to call Detective Pee to the stand after all. Who knows what the defense strategy really is at this point, but maybe they realized that more officers testifying that Spector was uncooperative would not be in their client's best interests.

A new witness is called, Dan Anderson, from the Los Angeles County coroner's office. He's a supervising criminalist specializing in toxicology. Plourd conducts the direct examination of this witness. And this is where it starts. Urine is discussed ad nauseum for the rest of the day.
This witness testifies that their lab was used to test the urine sample the Alhambra police collected from Spector at the Alhambra police station. He testifies to what specific drugs are found in Spector's urine.

Finally, the lunch recess is called.

Over on the defense side of the room, I noticed a young woman with short black hair, dressed conservatively for court in a black suit. She had a stack of papers in her hand. I wondered who she was all morning. When I exited the courtroom for lunch, I saw her walk over to two of the defense attorneys in the hallway. Ah ha. She's a clerk or attorney working for the defense. I got close enough to see the top page of the stack of papers she was holding. I immediately recognized my blog banner: Trials & Tribulations. It's been said many times on the Court TV forums that both sides of a case (defense and prosecution) will read what people are posting on the forums and blogs. What I saw most definitely confirms it in this case.

In the cafeteria, Dominick, CCA, dini and myself discuss the Pie and the supposed "dis" by Michael Bay. Dini and CCA really enjoy their burgers from the grill. Myself, I usually get some romaine lettuce from the salad bar to go with my lunch that I bring most days. Upstairs on the 9th floor waiting for the courtroom to open, the hallway is packed with potential jurors from other courts and it's stuffy hot. The other blogger approaches me in the hall and tells me to check my stats, my traffic. At first, I'm totally confused by what she's saying, and then she explains some more, and I finally get the gist of it. She's given me a "credibility rating" on Technorati, which is something I'm not even familiar with. Inside the courtroom, I make sure to find out what her blog url is, www.laist.com, so I can give her a reciprocal shout out, here. Once in our seats, dini, tells me she did a mini interview with Roger Rosen in the hallway. He doesn't watch much TV. Basically a local news channel and Animal Planet. And he eats dinner late, like around 9:00 pm.

Beth Karas brings the group of reporters news that the Pie, did an interview in 2006! Holy Cow! We all eagerly hang on Beth's words. It was part of promoting a book by Jane Velez-Mitchell called Secrets Can Be Murder. Evidently, the Pie said during an interview, "Who thought Phil Spector would be dangerous." (I'm not quite clear in my notes if this is on tape, or if this was something quoted in the book.) A Court TV Spector Forum poster said, "Pie was quoted in her book." This will totally discredit another part of the cow-Pie's testimony, especially since she said this after she started talking about Lana having suicidal thoughts to defense investigators in 2005. It's looking more like she changes her story depending on who's asking, and what air time she gets.

We continue to wait for the afternoon session to begin, and finally it does. Plourd is still on direct with Dan Anderson, going ever so s l o w l y about the drugs that were and were not found in Spector's system. CCA notes that not one of the drugs found is a drug to treat diabetes. (The following day at lunch whether or not Spector really has diabetes is a hot topic. Louis Spector tells us that his father always indicated to him and his siblings that he had this illness.) The courtroom is about three-quarters full. I see Stan Goldman the law professor slip into the courtroom and sit along the back wall near the door. Now the whole Viagra issue is brought up, and why the lab didn't test for it, even though they were asked to. "At that time, they didn't have the special equipment to test for Viagra," Anderson says. I look over and see that Spector's hands are not shaking at the moment. The witness testifies that he also tested the samples taken from Lana Clarkson. I notice that there are a few new trial watchers in the room. Finally, Jackson gets up to cross. With his first question about Spector's blood alcohol level, a side bar is required over this question.

It's during this sidebar that my mind starts to wander, and I'm thinking about those first few days after Lana's death. Where did Phil go once he was released on bail? He didn't go back to the Castle. Where did he go and what did he do? Jackson is able to get his question in about Spector's BAC (blood alcohol level), and that's about all he asks. Plourd gets back up to ask a few more redirect questions and then that's it for this witness. Sandi Gibbons comes back into the courtroom. Rosen and Dixon confer for about twenty seconds, and then Linda Kenney Baden steps up to the podium to present the next witness, and a few of us groan.

Robert Allen Middleberg is the fiftieth witness in the trial so far, and the fifteenth witness for the defense. This is another forensic toxicologist. And now we have to listen to virtually hours of put-you-to-sleep-if-you-had-a-pillow testimony about first Middleberg's credentials and then urine, urine and more urine. That's all he talks about is urine. I've got pages and pages of notes on urine. I pass this note to Dominick. Give me an F'n Break! I can't believe they are really groping at straws here challenging the results of the urine test! Urine tests are so standard. They have been accepted in courtrooms all over. Now they are trying to say the urine test for his blood alcohol level was not accurate. Dini writes me a note as quick as she can, and then I write this same note to Dominick in my book. Spector went to the bathroom at the House of Blues three times. He also went on the wall at the parking garage to get Lana's car. So..... then supposedly he doesn't pee for another 13.5 hours?

Heidi, wrapped up in the blankie, has closed her eyes. She's nodding off. I bet her husband's defense team is hoping the jurors are not following suit. It's 2:30 pm. A rail thin woman enters the courtroom and sits in our row right beside Linda Deutsch. She's well dressed and has full makeup on. I notice her nails are painted blood red.

More about drugs in the urine, urine, urine.
Floxeine ---> Prozac.
Nor-Fluoxetine ---> Metabolite of Floxeine.
Topiramate----> Topamax = used for seizure control and could also be used for pain.
Neurapatine----> Garopetin = can be used to control seizures.
It's a good bet I've probably spelled all these drugs incorrectly.

It's now that CCA tells me and dini that this "expert" is famous for defending DUI's (or DWI, depending on where you are in the US). This expert pushes attorneys to have their clients ask for a urine sample test because this guy, has never seen someone who is "drunk," via a urine test, because according to him, they are not reliable. Now all this "expert" testimony is making sense (from a defense point of view). Spector wasn't really drunk! Rosen leans in to confer with Plourd. Dominick leans in and says to me, he's heard enough urine talk, and after that, I have to cover my face because I can't stop laughing. I'm afraid I'm going to burst out and be hauled out of the courtroom. Dini reminds me about Judge Judy's book, Don't Pee On My Leg And Tel Me It's Raining. And that brings on another round of giggles I have to stifle. I look on over at the defense side of the courtroom, and the young woman, the defense clerk who I saw had a print out of my blog pages appears to be staring me down. Now I have to tell you, the courtroom benches are these loonnnggggg benches that are bolted to the floor with steel supports. But the section of the wooden bench I'm sitting on inexplicably is starting to squeak right now whenever I readjust myself to be more comfortable in my seat. Fortunately, the squeak isn't too loud. Right then, the witness (who is describing the side effects of some medications) says, "The side effects are sleepiness.." Judge Fidler interrupts him and says, "On that note, we will take our break."

The skeletal woman greets Heidi and hugs Spector. Dini recognizes her. It's Anita Talbert. Dini says, when she was working in the fashion industry, women with these body types were referred to as "social x-rays," with a size of "minus zero." Anita, Heidi and Spector talk. At 3:08 pm, the Judge finally takes the bench. I made a decision I'm not going to write one more note about urine. At the break, dini told me that Heidi and Anita were "checking us out," and I chuckle to myself. There's not much to report folks. I'm over 50, I wear jeans, plain white blouses and comfortable shoes to court. That says it all.

When the Judge asks Alan Jackson to use the term "to empty the bladder" instead of "to go number one," the courtroom laughs, and I can safely laugh, too. Jackson wakes the room back up with his cross, and turns this testimony around. Is the BAC test called ETOH, or ETOA? I'm now totally confused about that, because I could have sworn I heard it said both ways. The witness won't make a commitment about the supposition/hypothetical that Jackson makes on whether or not Spector was drunk, even though Jackson outlined the number of drinks Spector had, and the time that he drank them on the night of Lana's death. On redirect, Baden asks about an EMS report. I look at the clock. Less than ten minutes to go! Rosen looks back at the gallery, and I catch his glance again for a second. Finally! At 3:55 pm, court ends early for the day. I say a quick goodbye to dini and CCA, so I can get home as fast as possible for our evening at The Magic Castle.

I'll finish up this entry tomorrow, with details on how that went.

7 comments:

Niner said...

Hi Sprocket!
Don't feel bad about having to buy a dress/skirt - I too don't have one either - and if needed, would need to go out and buy one! LOL!
I was wondering how the jury was "responding" to Pie - Thanks again Sprocket for that great write up yesterday! LOVE your description of everything! (o:
Wish I still lived in L.A. - I'd be there with ya! I'm going to try & cover the Kovavich murder case up here in Auburn when it starts next March, 2008.
Oh - when you show Mr Dunne about the internet - don't forgot to point him to WebSleuths!!
Also - you MUST tell Alan Jackson about that party re Michael Bey - regarding the wrong date!!
Hope you have/had fun at the Magic Castle!

Sprocket said...

Monica h. said:
FYI - if you haven't already seen it, this is a sample of Jody Babydol Gibson's dispatches to the press.

...received the following the other day, forwarded by a party interested in the Phil Spector case.


Thank you Monica, for sending me the info about Babydol. I just posted this part of your comment because there was no refering link for the article. Do you think you could dig up a link for me?

Sue Not Susan said...

Hi Sprocket!

There are two things I will be reading this weekend:
Your update and HP and the Deathly Hallows!!
Which will be first? Oh, the suspense!
Thanks again for all your efforts!
Will check back later,
Sue

Sprocket said...

Suzi said:
Thanks ofr your insightful updates and give Mr. Dunne a "big hello" from me!


Thank you Suzi! I will pass on your greeting to Mr. Dunne.

I apologize for editing out the other part of your comment. I really don't want anything about that, given a voice on my blog. Hope you understand!

Anonymous said...

What is a Magic Castle? Sounds like a wonderful restaurant I visited as a child in Dallas. -Poplife

Sue not Susan said...

Hey there, Sprocket!
Enjoyed this recap. I've also been reading the other recommended trial bloggers, thanks for the recommendations.

Oh, for your edits, the public information officer for the county courts name is spelled Alan Parachini - he was one of my journalism instructors at USC (he was living with newswoman Linda Douglas at the time).

Thanks again and keep up the stellar work!
Sue

Sprocket said...

Niner,

So nice to hear others live a similar lifestyle as me. Luckily, I was able to find something that fit pretty easy.


Sue not susan,
Did HP get released yet? I hope you are enjoying the book! Thank you so much for the correct spellng of Alan's name, and I'll correct it momentarily. I couldn't find anything on the court's web site, and for a long time, couldn't remember how to pronounce it (just knew it started with a "P") until Mr. Dunne said it a few times.

Anonymous @ 7:32pm
When I updated my entry, I linked to the Magic Castle web site. It's an old, victorian style huge home turned into a private club for magicians, although non-magicians can apply for membership. It's located in the heart of Hollywood, and open to the public for lunch on Fridays. I've driven by it for years, but had never been.