Wednesday, August 1st, 2007
I drive to court today. That's because I will have to get home as fast as possible to get ready for an evening appointment. I go to my regular budget lot, but it's been taken over by a film production crew. There's no public parking today. Fortunately, right across Broadway and halfway towards 3rd Street, I spy another lot. I speed over there, and find out this lot is $1.00 cheaper than the budget lot. Success! I've found a new lot, and it's only about 100 steps more to the courthouse.
Up on the 9th floor, I see most of the regular crew in the hallway. ccarrolladams (CCA) is already there. As I'm waiting, a very pretty and nicely dressed slender woman with great skin comes up to me. She has a long necklace on that catches my eye. I can't remember exactly what she said, but it was something to the effect of, "Are you Sprocket?" She then introduced herself. She is Kel from the Court TV forums. This is not the first time she's been to the criminal court building, but it is the first time that she's actually going to be in the gallery to watch a trial. I make sure that she gets a seat in the second row next to me and CCA, and introduce her to Mr. Dunne.
Inside the courtroom, Ciaran shares a bit of history he's discovered on Bradley Brunon. He's actually been in practice since 1969. He represented Virgina McMartin in the famous McMartin child abuse case, and was instrumental in getting her charges dismissed. He played a big role in bringing to light the way the police and the DA's office in that case, slanted their investigation and conducted improper interviews with the purported victims.
One of the cameramen leans over to tell our little group of reporters some news. Apparently, Chris Plourd has actually said that the defense is chartering a plane to bring Dr. Henry Lee back to the states. The image I get in my mind is of little Herve Villechaise, yelling "The Plane! The Plane!" My own Fantasy Island image if and when Dr. Lee actually lands back on US soil. I find this information interesting, and will be quite surprised if Dr. Lee is here in the States ready to testify before the deadline Judge Fidler has set. I'm still amazed that these clowns didn't bother to subpoena Dr. Lee for his testimony at trial.
I see Miriam Hernandez from the local ABC Ch.7 is in the room. The AP reporter comes over to say hello to Dominick and catch up. They go way back, and even though the AP reporter is staunchly pro defense, Dominick just adores her. She tells him that she is very disappointed that she will be missing Memphis' Elvis Week, which is held every year in August. I ask her if it's because of her upcoming knee surgery, and she tells me she doesn't have to have the surgery. That's good news I tell her. She says that it's this trial that is preventing her from going. I ask her if she is an Elvis fan, and she tells me some information that I did not know about her. She started the first Elvis Fan Club when she was 12 years old. I ask her if I can write about that, and she replied, "Sure! It's on the Internet already." She then gives me the web address to an article on Editor & Publisher that's about her 40 years with the AP and mentions how she first got into reporting while president of that fan club. (The very next day, she brings me a print out of the article.)
I look on over and I see Rachelle has worn an all black mannish looking pantsuit today. Finally, when her husband's clown act of a defense team is sinking miserably, she wears something appropriate. Rod Lindblum, one of the attorney's for the family, leans in to me to whisper a message from Donna and Fawn. I smile and nod my head.
The jury hasn't been called yet, and the defense is moaning about names on the people's rebuttal list. Rosen is getting very testy, and I'm trying to write down some of the names as quickly as I can. Bruce Liverpool, Michael Bay, Kim Gregory, Susan Michaelson, ~supposedly flying in this afternoon~ Nick Terzian, Patty Leon...potentially 13 witnesse.. Rosen says he has no background information on these people, and he's really testy about this list, and that the prosecution is springing most of these witnesses on them at the last moment. Then Linda Kenney Baden has a request from the Judge. It seems that their next witness, is unwilling to release a report or some documents to them. The Judge says, "Bring him in. I'll deal with this. Some parts of this job are really enjoyable." The Judge also gives the attorney's time to look over these documents that they have never seen before, and the gallery waits.
Behind me, there is a large group of high school students in the classroom, as part of some type of class trip. It must be a summer school class, or a school that has a schedule on shifts. I see Donna Clarkson lean in and speak at length to the prosecutions exhibits' operator. I still have not quite caught her name. It always sounds like they are saying "Sutzie" when they address her. A blond haired woman (who might be near Lana's age) is in the courtroom sitting with the family. It's 10:10 am, and our little group of reporters chat about trial strategy to pass the time as the attorneys to go over the documents out in the hallway. The attorney's come and go from the courtroom and the gallery is all a chatter while we wait. I write a note to Dominick. I wonder who the heavily made-up woman is behind us. Dominick says she's really nice, and didn't give him any trouble when he asked her to move to another row. When she moved to the front row, he had to tell her that the family sits there, and she moved again.
At 10:15 am the attorneys are back in the courtroom and the jury is called. This is the 26th witness for the defense and the 61st witness overall. Ciaran is the one who is consistently on top of keeping track of all the witness stats, and we rely on him to keep up updated in that regard. One of the Dateline reporter's statements comes back to me. Her comment that the jury doesn't know who Rachelle is, because they don't see Rachelle and Spector together. And the question I ask back in my mind is, "Well what about voi dire? Could they have, then?"
The next witness is detective Tom Fortier, a detective with the LASO I-Tech Task force. It's a multi-agency force (state, local, federal), that investigates CD/DVD fraud as well as investigations on computers. He first received the computer around February 11-12th, 2003. He was asked to look for any correspondence between Spector and Ms. Clarkson, and for any references regarding suicide or depression. He made a copy of the hard drive. He asked for assistance from the Secret Service. (It's not clear in my notes here whether this next statement is referring to him or the SS.) He tried to access the computer several times, but the hard drive kept crashing. The computer's backup battery was bad and kept resetting the date. He did obtain several documents off the laptop hard drive.
Carlton Smith arrives and sits next to the AP reporter. There is an email to a Mr. Peter Anderson, and the witness titled it "depression reference." There is a third email (I seem to have missed what the second one was) to a David Shapiro with a reference to "manic depressive." The witness testifies there were hundreds of incoming emails in her in box at AOL. 3,553 in box emails. In the sent file, there were 1,932. However, there were also 1,485 corrupted "sent" files dated from 10-22-2000 to 12-4-2002. Fortier did not find any evidence of Spector's email addy in Ms. Clarkson's computer or vice versa. There were no results from the Secret Service. Dan Haste, also did work on the computer. Direct is finished and Jackson steps up to perform the cross.
Q: You also searched Spector's computer and zip disks, all belonging to Mr. Spector?
A: I searched all media at one time.
Fortier states that the word suicide doesn't even appear in the email he labeled suicide. It was in reference to a SAG email on depression. The word suicide doesn't even appear anywhere on her computer. 10:35 am, Brunon enters and sits with Rosen's girlfriend in the second row of benches behind the defense. The email was sent not Lana specifically, but as a mass mailing to all SAG members in conjunction with Cedar Sinai Hospital about a service they were offering. Then Jackson goes over the manic depressive referenced email, and he asks the witness to read that email to himself. Then the witness testifies that the words are spoke by Lana bout someone else and not herself. I write the following note to Dominick: DESPERATE.
Baden redirects her witness.
Q: Does that email also reference the word depression?
Baden asks him to read the sentence. I'm thinking this is the same email that was put on the stand when David Schapiro testified, and it's dated October 25th, 2002. Then Baden confuses the witness. She asks, "Was it deleted?" And the witness basically does a "Huh?" He's not getting what Baden is trying to imply, but finally after a few tries he agrees, that the email wasn't deleted and that it was saved in her LivingDoll files.
Q: Did you do a search for key words "hurt myself?"
Dominick leans into me and whispers, "This is pathetic!" The witness reviews his notes, and says, "No." Baden snaps back, "Did you do a key word search for drugs? Did you do a key word search for tequila? Alcohol? Sobriety? And the answer is no, no, no, no. The witness verifies that he never had the hard drive of the desktop to examine. Jackson gets up and asks, "
Q: Is there an expiration date for responding to the email?
Q: What was it?
A: Must respond by June 9th, 2002.
Q: Were there lots of emails in there?
Q: Did she save her response?
Unfortunately, it's not clear in my notes what the witness answered. Jackson recrosses with, "You can not tell if they did save that (sent email)? "That's correct," he responds.
I don't completely catch what a reporter says, but it is something to the effect of, sheesh, I know I'm going to blow this funny comment. Those who haven't suicided, don't/didn't have Plourd's cross of Louis Pena. There's a sidebar for a few minutes before the next witness.
Witness #27 for the defense, overall #62 is Daniel Haste. We find out that Ms. Baden and the witness just met outside in the hallway. He's a technical information consultant and programmer. He worked on the ibook belonging to Lana Clarkson. He also helped one of the prosecutors work on their blackberry. (I totally miss whether it was Jackson or Dixon.) He first worked on this case in March, 2004. 10:45 am, the high schoolers leave the courtroom. He wrote a final report, but he doesn't recall the date. He didn't date the copy he has in front of him; he just printed it off his computer and brought with him. He agrees that it "sounds correct" that he originally dated his report February 9, 2005. Lana's computer was old and he had to find a similar machine to install the hard drive on. She had documents in a print queue, waiting to print out. I see the jury is in various states of relaxation (stretched out, leaning back in their chairs) and only one alternate, and one juror take notes.
I'm wondering, maybe there's a reference in one of these gazillion emails to Greg Sim's party? Otherwise, what in the world is the defense doing dragging all this out? Now Baden is asking if there is anything on L.B. Moon, or to "black out" drinking. The witness states he was given no search commands for any key words. This is going miserably slow for Mr. Haste, who admits he had never prepared reports of this type. So, he was asking for the DA's input as to whether he was on the right track as to what they wanted. Pathetic, this presentation. He did have some hand notes, but he didn't bring them. He testifies that he was first asked to see if there was a calendar on Lana's computer. And I'm thinking, "We could take a reasonable nap between the questions and the time this witness gets around to answering, and we wouldn't miss anything." Then a miracle happens. The defense is done and the prosecution has no questions!
The next final witness will be 24 year old Nicole Spector, who will testify for her father as defense witness #28 and overall total #63. A sidebar is called, and some of the jurors are watching the gallery. Spector is slumped down in his chair, almost like Lana was. I check in with a look to Louis (since Nicole is going to testify) and his friend, and he gives me a smile. The sidebar is finished and Linda Kenney Baden will direct the witness.
Q: Are you Spector's daughter?
A: Yes, I am.
Q: Have you observed him?
Nicole testifies that she lived with her father the first eight years of her life, and she's spent a lot of time with him since. During her teen years, Spector picked his daughter up from high school every day. Her and mother would go to dinner with him and watch All In The Family together.
Q: Have you observed him since?
Q: Have you ever seen him use his left hand to play piano?
A: My dad is right handed.
That's all the testimony from this witness and there is no cross examination. As Nicole exits the courtroom, Dominick leans into me and says, "No smiles from her stepmother." The defense has no more witnesses, and all the attorneys approach the bench. The jurors exchange smiles and fidget, and most focus on the activity at the bench. One juror looks out at the gallery and smiles. A few of the jurors whisper to each other. It's 11:30 am, and they are still at the bench. The gallery and the jury waits. The AP reporter has a coughing fit again, and it's a repeat of before with the bailiff bringing her a glass of water. Rachelle leans in to speak to Brunon; Spector talks to Linda Kenney Baden. The sidebar at the bench is over, and the Judge calls the lunch hour early. Spector, standing at the defense table as the jurors exit the courtroom, finally has a smile for his attorneys. Someone (we don't know who the man is) comes into the courtroom and kisses Rachelle on the cheek.
I try to get to the lunchroom as quickly as I can so I can push two tables together. Kel, CCA, Louis and his friend and myself all have lunch together. A bit later, Mr. Dunne joins us, but leaves early to make some calls.
Back on the 9th floor inside the courtroom, everyone is waiting. Beth Karas comes in and she is really upset. Seems the defense is now denying that they said they chartered a plane for Dr. Lee. Chris Plourd is now denying he said it to her. Beth really prides herself on her conservative reporting, to ensure that her facts are verified, and she is 100% accurate as to what she reports on air. I'm guessing she had to go on air and state a retraction, but she made sure to name Chris Plourd as the source of the chartered plane story. I don't have it in my notes, but I could swear I remember overhearing her say something to the effect that she will never believe anything Plourd says again...but don't quote me on that lol! At 1:40 pm, the jury is finally called. I make a mental calculation of how many exhibits each side has presented. The people about 171, and the defense about 250. Nicole is sitting in the front row with the bodyguard. Louis says that she lives in New York, and here all this time I thought she lived in the Alhambra condo that Spector also owns. Rosen's girlfriend is in the courtroom, and there are several Spector supporters sitting on the defense side.
Dixon presents the 1st rebuttal witness, for the prosecution, the very handsome, bald and black firefighter/paramedic, Bruce Liverpool, with 23 years experience. Paramedics function for advanced life support. He took his initial six months program back in 1990-1991, and he outlines for the jury the course work, and what the training entails. He's required to fulfill fourteen hours of community education every two years. The jurors take a few notes. Again, we see the report that was filled out by paramedics for when Lana broke both her wrists. This is the paramedic who was Stark's senior partner on the rig when they responded to the call in the Hollywood Hills, and he was the one who actually filled out the form. The witness states that he treated a patient named Lana Clarkson. She had a slip and fall injury, and she fractured both wrists. This is a much better witness than Stark was for the defense. Liverpool comes to court dressed in his uniform and he is HOT looking. (I bet I'm the only person who notices things like this, lol!) The witness goes over the document and what all the little boxes mean, and what Lana's score was, for alertness.
And the ETOH/DRug area (This is an abbreviation for ethanol. It would be checked if they suspected alcohol or drugs.) on the paramedic's patient form is shown, with no box checked. The prosecution is now going to play a tape of the communication the paramedics had with the hospital. Dixon passes out transcripts of the tape that we're going to hear to the jurors. OMG! In the background, there's a strong "ooooohhhhhwwwwww" It has to be Lana. It's the first time that we actually hear her voice in the courtroom. And we hear the paramedics say, "She does not have any alcohol consumption at this time," which is part of the communication to the hospital. Liverpool recognizes his voice on the tape. Hearing the tape brought back memories to him that even he and his partner Stark, slipped on the same rug at the location!
Now there's a little dust up between the Judge and Brunon, and the Judge gets a bit of irritation in his voice. "It is not hearsay. I have ruled!" The jury appears alert, but to be accurate, they are often stoic in their facial expressions. I see the jurors exchange smiles after the Judge now says, "Good work, Mr. Brunon!" I could have sworn that Brunon brought in all this, as well as the hospital's document on his direct with his paramedic witness. Now the witness is talking about how Tawni Tyndall, an investigator for the defense, came by his fire station and represented herself as a lawyer. He described her as having long blond hair with bright red lipstick and that she appeard to be about 45 years old. (I think I have in my notes here, the "902M"....but I'm not sure if that's the station house or if this is referring to something else.) Liverpool asked her if the person was suing the homeowner, and Tawni Tyndall said, "Yes." (Uh, oh. That doesn't sound good for Ms. Tyndall!)
Liverpool testifies, "I said that at the time, I couldn't remember the event, but now after hearing the tape recording, everything, I remembered both myself and my partner slipping on the rug. She (Tawni Tyndall) never mentioned anything about this being the Phil Spector case." I think there is another question or two, and Rosen steps up to cross.
Q: You don't have any reason to believe that firefighter Stark would be lying now do you?
Looking on over at the jury, one juror appears to be asleep, and they appear to be totally ignoring this cross. It appears this witness brought the fire house journal entry with him to court. I write this note to Dominick. They are going to drag this out like salt water taffy. Rosen ---> OILY. Two jurors appear to have their eyes closed! Is Rosen like full of himself? This cross doesn't appear to be going over well. Two jurors are openly trying to take naps. I'm hoping we get a break soon. Rosen's attempts at wit fall totally flat in the courtroom, and I just can't write another note. Maybe Dr. Lee's plane will arrive while this is going on.
Finally the break is called. Dominick and I go up to the 13th floor snack bar. I need something to wake me up and Dominick needs an aspirin. We are both totally disgusted with Rosen's cross. When we step in the elevator, there's Firefighter Liverpool, and we give him a big smile. After we got our purchases in the snack bar, we go back to the elevator lobby, and when we get on the elevator, there's Firefighter Liverpool again! We laugh and give him another greeting. He is so handsome up close! He can help me with a slip and fall anytime!
Back in the courtroom we are back on the record, but I don't have it in my notes that the jury is present. It appears Brunon is still arguing on the admissibility of the hospital document record. I could have sworn that the defense brought this record in already. It's a public record, a county record, but it's prepared by hospital staff, who are not county employees, so it's a "gray" area and the Judge has to now think or research it a bit.
The second rebuttal witness is called. The 65th witness in the trial so far is Nick Terzian. Once he's on the stand, a sidebar is called. A few jurors in the back row laugh amongst themselves. The sidebar quickly over, we learn that Terzian is a SAG franchised talent agent who's been in the business for 18 years. He handles on camera and commercial print industry. He procures models and gets them jobs. Terzian testifies that the relationship between agent and client is very important. It's a very close relationship. Agents advise their clients on potential projects. Terzian currently has approximately 400 clients. In 2003, he had about 250. At the time of Lana's death, he was her agent. He had worked with Lana for about 11 years. There was a short time, about one-and-a-half years, where there was a break in that representation.
In November of 1999, he broke off from the company he was with, and went into business on his own. Lana stayed with the previous company. Back in 1992, when he was first representing Lana, he and another gentleman handled over 700 clients. Lana was considered a "money maker" client, so he and his then partner got to know her very well. "She was bigger than life. She owned the room. She definitely made such an impact. During the actor's strike, she said she was interested in coming over and eventually she did." Sometime in 2001 she came over to the new agency. Lana was extremly marketable. A money maker. 90% of actors that are working actors make a living. Not 50 milling a year, but they make a good living. She was a beautiful, comedic actress.
Q: There was testimony that Lana Clarkson, because she was over 40, she would be competing with 20 year olds. What's your opinion about "B" movie actress label.
A: That was one of the reasons I didn't do many interviews. It makes them sound like they were not an A list actor. Lana was a working actor. There are many working actors.
Her work ethic was extremely professional. She dressed the part and looked the part when she would show up for an audition. She put forth 150%.
Q: During the months and years, did she consistently go out on castings?
A: Yes, she did. Lana showed up to every audition. She never flaked. She always showed up dressed the part. Once, she auditioned as a Vegas showgirl, wearing sequins and the feathers. I don't know how she drove down the street like that but she did.
The Judge calls the recess, and that's all the notes I have for this day. For the reporters I'm sitting with, it's a breath of fresh air, to finally hear some positive words about Lana. I dash out of the courtroom as quickly as the ancient elevators will let me, since I have to get home for an appointment.