Thursday, July 26, 2007

The "Producer" gets in the picture & Spray-on, day-glow orange

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007

I make an 11:34 am bus. but it's not until I get on the bus that I realize in my haste to print out more stuff off the web for court, I've totally forgotten to eat my lunch that Mr. Sprocket prepared for me this morning. Oh well, I'll have to freeze it when I get home. Maybe I can get something that won't be too bad in the cafeteria. Hopefully, they will have some bananas left over from this morning. As soon as I get to court I go directly to the cafeteria. I get a banana, some sliced, hard boiled eggs from the salad bar and a water. When I get to the cashier, I quickly spot ccarrolladams (CCA), and head over to sit with him. Not long afterwards, a pretty, petite woman with dark hair approaches us and says, "I'm looking for a woman with red shoes and long hair." It's Mrs. Doubtfire (Mrs.D) from the Court TV message boards, and we all introduces ourselves. CCA goes up to the 9th floor early, and I sit with Mrs.D while she tries to finish her lunch. Then we both head on up to courtroom 106.

Once inside the courtroom, I see CCA, but I don't see Dominick. I wonder if he decided to stay at his hotel and continue writing. He's usually here pretty early and one of the reporters asks me if I know where he is. He did tell me yesterday that he was going to skip the morning session to try to get caught up on writing he didn't finish over the weekend, and maybe he decided not to come. Then I see Rachelle. My jaw drops and I could have licked my instep. Just when I think she has worn the most inappropriate outfit to court, she outdoes herself again.

First off, she's got that fake hairpiece on again that doesn't match her real hair. You would think with all the money Spector's spending on getting his sweetie several pairs of Christian Louboutin shoes, (she's wearing a pair today) she could spend some on fake hair that actually matches the streaked dye job on her real hair. She's wearing knickers again, with a matching, very tight form fitting (think sprayed on) sleeveless jacket, the color of which I can only describe as day-glow or neon orange. There are gold studs here are there on the jacket and pants. The top she's wearing with the jacket looks like it's gold lamme, and she's carrying an oversize handbag, that also looks like it's gold lamme, but I'm not positive. She's wearing cream colored sheer hosiery with the knickers and the eight-hundred dollar shoes.

It's 1:30 pm, and I see Spector and Cutler hug and pat each other on the back. Trial watchers are arriving pretty fast. Dominick is still not here, nor is Rod Lindblom, the tall, black haired family attorney. I see Rachelle lean in and speak to one of her husband's attorneys. A minute or two later, Dominick arrives and several of the reporters give him a greeting. "He's here! He's here!" At 1:35 pm, we finally get started. The next witness, Gregory Sims, an independent film producer, was sprung on the prosecution just a few days ago. Somehow the defense found him, but the prosecution hasn't had enough time to adequately "vet" this witness. The defense gets to put him on, but the Judge also ruled that the prosecution gets to recall him if needed.

Rosen conducts the direct examination of Gregory Sims. Sims states that he's a producer of "high end, independent films," mentioning "Touch Me, Red Surf, and Suddenly Naked." Years earlier, he managed actors, one of them being Nancy McKeon who played "Jo" on The Facts of Life TV series. Currently he's focusing on the music side, managing an artist in Europe. He was subpoenaed to be here. Rosen asks him if "the lovely Tawni Tyndall" interviewed him, and he asks Tawni to stand up in the courtroom. Sims met the Pie on a film To Die For that it appears the Pie was actually in. The witness always knew her as "Pie," and that's how she's addressed throughout the rest of his testimony.

Sims makes an attempt to describe the atmosphere at the Backstage Cafe in Beverly Hills. "It's a very interesting environment. It's a "pub" for the industry. I pub-like friendly place." He's been there since the place opened approximately 1997, and knows the investors. He met Lana at Backstage in the late 90's. "She was the Pie's best friend, not mine," he says. They had a cordial relationship. It was fun. He's asked if he had a romantic relationship with Lana and we get a bit of news about Sims personal life. "I've been married up until next week, so it was totally platonic." He saw Lana infrequently at Backstage. While he would be in the States it could be as often as three times a month or only once a month.

Not long before Lana died, he was maintaining offices and occasionally living at the St Regis Hotel (now defunct) in Century City. One week prior to February 3rd, 2003 a group from Backstage came over to his suite at the St. Regis, (it's not clear if this was after the club closed for the night) and it swelled to a party of about forty people. The Pie was there for a time but she left. There were quite a few people there at this impromptu party. As it got later, everyone else left and Lana remained. It was just Lana and Sims talking. They were in the bedroom fully clothed, and he spoke to her for a couple of hours.

Q: What was she like?

A: At the beginning of the evening she was like the person I knew. As the evening wore on, she became somber, outwardly demonstrative, emotional. She talked about hating the business.

(I find it interesting that this is the third person for the defense who has used the word "demonstrative" to describe Lana.)

Sims goes on to say that Lana's conversation was tearful. She was talking about everyone being "M-F'ers." She was having a hard time. She had been drinking a lot and was repeating herself, saying the same thing over and over. Sims would not be pinned down though, as to what Lana was drinking. He recalls her drinking, but he doesn't have 100% memory as to what it was, only that it was alcohol. She was past the point of functioning clearly. She was intoxicated. She started to cry, and that continued for a period of time. She was unhappy with her place in the business. She talked about wanting children. A wish unfulfilled. She described her life as basically unhappy. She was generally a good person, a happy person. Sims states that this was a "several hours" conversation.

Around this point Rosen has a few of his questions objected to and the objections are sustained. Sims makes this interesting statement. "Even on the bed she had her purse with her." (This comment to me, is very staged.) Regarding the Pie's and Lana's relationship Sims says, "It appeared to me over a period of time that they were best friends. They had camaraderie. Lots of closeness."

"I saw despair. It was a bad night for her. She reached a certain level of sadness in her personal life. I'd call it hitting a wall (in her career)." Rosen asks him if Lana talked about any recently failed relationships. "There may have been something in the recent past. I'm not certain." Sims can't connect a failed relationship to a name, even though Rosen tries by offering up a name. "I thought she needed help to reach out to someone." Sims then states that the Pie had left the party early, but returned about 3:30 am for Lana. The Pie may have had someone who was driving, but Sims is not sure. Lana was reluctant to leave, but she did leave with the Pie. She was impaired when she left. She was having difficulty walking a straight line.

Rachelle and Plourd lean in to talk. Jackson and Dixon are taking lots of notes. The Pie had to assist Lana from the bedroom to the elevator. It was an awkward moment for Sims so he accompanied them to the elevator. Mrs. Clarkson leans in to whisper something to John Taylor, and he gets a fleeting smile on his face. Tawni Tyndall passes a note to Plourd.

Q: What was the Pie like after Lana's death?

A: I saw her go from a happy person to someone who had difficulty getting out of bed in the morning. (This was over a two year period. ) (snip) I know that "it" devastated her, Lana's death.

The problem I have with this statement, is that the Pie continually said she was not a morning person. I imagine she rarely got out of bed until late afternoon on most days. Jackson is sitting back and cracking his knuckles. I'm sure he's just itching to cross. Rosen takes a moment and picks up notes from Plourd and the table. After a few last questions, Sims says, "She was crying a majority or a good portion of the time." And then Rosen is finished with his direct. I'm surprised. Dixon gets up to cross this witness. (Then again, Pat does need to do some of the work. I can't expect AJ to do it all now.)

The witness asks for some water and there is a bit of a delay while that is obtained. Dixon questions him on when he spoke to Tawni Tyndall: July 19th of this year, less than a week ago. He talked to her by phone previously, and he also did an interview on Court TV back in May of this year. He's been producing independent films for 20 years. Dixon gets him to concede that this type of film production is a very risky business because no one may buy it after it's made. Then Sims says something totally outrageous. "The business has changed. Actors either make the minimum, scale, or they are making 30 million. There's no longer an in between, or middle group of employed actors. It is way tougher now than it used to be." When Dixon asks him about the ups and downs of the film business, and if struggling actors complain when things are down, Sims says that he's heard this from many people in his career. I note that along with Tawni Tyndall, Rosen's girlfriend is here today.

I lean in and write CCA a note to see if he knows this guy or has ever heard of this guy. He writes back, Never heard.

Sims says that it was really the Pie's relationship. Did he call Lana? No. It was not that type of friendship. He did call the Pie the next day to talk to her about the night before.

Q: Were you drinking?

A: Yes. We were all over 21.

I then write a note to Dominick. Do you know anyone who knows this guy? Dominick shakes his head, No. I see Tawni Tyndall taking a slew of notes. Sandi Gibbons comes into the courtroom. When Sims is asked why he appeared on Court TV he responds, "I had some bad information that if I was on Court TV, I wouldn't be called as a witness. I went on at the request of a friend, to round out a fuller picture."

Q: Did you call the sheriff's department, and tell them this "fuller picture" of Lana?

A: I just thought that I'd stay out of it.

Q: Until Court TV called?

A: That's correct.

handling it and I didn't want to be involved. I wasn't one of the central figures." Rosen gets up to redirect his surprise witness. He didn't call anyone at the District Attorney's office. He didn't want to be here. "I felt there were other people who were closer to it that were handling it and I didn't want to be involved. I wasn't one of the central figures." Rosen goes over the Court TV appearance, and it's now that we find out that the "friend" is Lisa Bloom, of Court TV.

(Kim, on her blog The Darwin Exception, writes a great piece on this days trial coverage titled, Who Has Lisa Been Blooming? I find this part of Sims testimony interesting ~and unbelievable~ that, with attorney Lisa Bloom as a "friend," and that he most likely also knew her mother, Gloria Alred, also a very capable attorney, this guy says he got "bad" legal "information.")

He received a message from Anne Hartmeyer from Court TV. They contacted him; he didn't contact Court TV. "Lisa Bloom was wondering if I would talk about my friend Lana. Lisa Bloom is a friend." He returned the call, and said at first he would think about it. Sims states that it was really more to talk about the entertainment business and the House of Blues since he knows a bit about that.

I take a peek over my left shoulder and I see Beth stifle a laugh. It appears she heard something funny while on her blackberry. Finally, the afternoon break is called. Beth Karas, Jackson, Dixon and a junior ADA all talk about the witness. Jackson, with a stern look on his face says, "I resent you, Court TV, for injecting yourselves into my prosecution!" Then he smiles and laughs. Jackson asks Beth jokingly, "Do you have subpoena power at Court TV? Did you subpoena him?" I go over to Sandi Gibbons and ask her if she's surprised about the neon orange outfit with the gold studs and she replies, "I'm not surprised." Sandi is talking with another woman, most likely from the DA's office about the child abuse cases involving priests. Evidently, the DA's office received some new evidence on one of their cases they're filing.

Rosen is back on redirect of his witness now. At the break, one of the reporters tells me that down at the other end of the hallway by the men's room, he saw Roger Rosen in the hallway, going over specific points with his witness. Maybe that talk in the hallway was to get Sims to be sure about the "day of the week." Rosen gets Sims to say that, "He knew Lana not days, but years."

Q: Did you know Lana to ever get that part or that type of success?

A: Not that I know.

According to Sims, "I never saw her that despondent or despaired in all the time that I knew her. There was no burning romance and she was not a happy camper in that department."

Rosen is finished with redirect and Dixon recrosses the witness.

Q: You said, "After Lana's death, the Pie couldn't get out of bed?

A: Yes.

Q: The foundation room is a private club?

A: Yes.

Q: Lana went to work the next day and went back to work for several nights in a row, correct?

A: Yes.

Rosen jumps up to redirect for a question or two and there's nothing more Dixon wants to ask. It appears that Brunon is going to call the next witness but there is some confusion about who is next and the jury laughs at the antics in the well. Next up is Detective Robert Kenney.

Kenney is one of the officer's from the LA County Sheriff's Dept. that went to Lana's house with Fawn and Rod Lindblom. Fawn said it had not been disturbed. She didn't say whether she had been inside. The officer's were checking to see if there was any connection between Lana Clarkson and Phil Spector. They were examined books and papers by Ms. Clarkson. Since she was the only one living there they assumed the documents were hers.

I miss what initiates it, but Brunon responds to the Judge, "You can trust me Judge. I'm a lawyer." The jury laughs a bit, but they are slow to respond. Fidler responds, "You should not the reaction in the jury box." Brunon tries to get the witness to agree that the officers were conducting a psychological autopsy of Ms. Clarkson, but he doesn't agree with that assessment. The laptop was taken into custody, but not the desktop computer because they were told by Fawn that it had not been used recently.

Q: While at the location did you note a 2003 date planner?

A: No, I didn't.

John Taylor, Fawn, and Donna Clarkson whisper back and forth while this bit of testimony is going on. I ask Mrs.D if she is going to try to come back to watch more of the trial and she nods, Yes. Now the officer is changing his testimony, (after reviewing his statement). The officer is now saying the Fawn may have been in Lana's little cottage because of the clothes. She noted that Lana had not been home (from work?). That's about it for this witness and Dixon steps up to perform the cross, and I see Spector staring straight ahead.

The officer states that they looked through all the documents at the cottage that they could find. "There was something that was laid out on the bed. I remember Fawn point it out on the bed," Kenney says. Jackson leans in to speak to Dixon, while the witness reviews his notes. After looking at his notes, the witness says, "Fawn mentions that it wouldn't be in the position it was in if she had been home. Dixon asks Kenney if the cottage was neat or messy, like in the movie The Wedding Crashers with pizza boxes all over the place. The courtroom laughs and Jackson chuckles too. (We know the place was neat and tidy; that's evident in the photographs the defense put up.) Dixon is done and Brunon starts his redirect.

Brunon keeps trying to get the witness to say that he has no evidence of how old those scripts were and who put the phrases on the refrigerator. There's no recross and the defense calls their next witness, Dr. Werner Spitz.

Werner Spitz is a legend in the forensic pathology community. He's coauthor of what some call the be all to end all of forensic textbooks: Medicolegal Investigation of Death: Guidelines for the Application of pathology to Crime Investigation, 4th Edition.
A world renowned forensic pathologist (for, according to him 54 years) he's currently self employed. He went to Med school first in Switzerland from 1946 to 1950. Then from 1950 to 1953 he studied in Jerusalem, Israel. He graduated there and received his MD degree. When an undergraduate, he worked summers in various hospitals in the labs. To become a pathologist requires several years of internship. Once an applicant has passed their boards for pathology, then it's still another year of training to get certified in forensic pathology. Then that 60,000 figure comes out for how many autopsies he's supervised or performed. Spitz describes "supervising" as, "Being in charge of training program in a supervisory capacity."

Dr. Spitz's book is held up for the jury to see. Dr. Spitz wrote all the trauma chapters. It's a world wide famous book.

Q: Is it an authoritative text?

A: I better think of it like that or all this work is for nothing.

It's not clear from my notes, but I believe at this point, we are done for the day, and thee is a little housekeeping to get caught up on.

Jackson wants to make sure that Dr. Spitz doesn't refer to all the items that have been ruled inadmissible in front of the jury. Lana's "life story," and Spectors "self serving" statements to police officers. There's a bit of silence in the court after that, and Judge Fidler looks on over at the defense and says, "Who want to respond?" Plourd stands up and says the defense wants to be able to reraise some issues that have already been ruled upon in the prosecution's favor.

Judge: The court is not going to revisit this ruling. It is unreliable, and it's not coming in.

Plourd: We are still pressing to ask for the jury to see Spector's home.

Judge: We are going to make sure that noting is staged at the house.

Fidler mentions the OJ Simpson case, as an example of staging for the jurors. Jackson wants to see the scene before he agrees. (Although Dixon has been to the scene years ago, Jackson has not.) Rosen then stands up to tell the court that they never received "everything" from Lana's laptop hard drive. Jackson says that as far as they know, an "image" was taken of the hard drive and passed onto the defense, but he will recheck to make sure that nothing was missed. And that's it for the day.

Entering the elevator going down, there was a slender black man who greeted Mr. Dunne and they chatted for a bit. It was Carl Douglas.