Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Ever since I've been immersed in this case, that's all I've wanted to talk about, and my husband has been getting an ear full. I didn't even really want to go bicycle shopping in July, something my husband really wants to do. Every weekend all I wanted to do was spend every nonworking moment getting caught up on my trial notes. About a month ago, my husband made an offhand remark that maybe he would go to court with me one day, just to see for himself what my days have been like. I really didn't think it would happen since he started with a new company in late June, and they have been working him sixty hours or more a week with hardly a day off. It is the summer, and HVAC companies who service commercial buildings are very busy, and my husband's skills are in high demand.
After eight days without a break, Mr. Sprock told his boss he was taking a day off so he could spend the day with me. "After all," he jokingly said, "My wife is famous now. She was mentioned in the local paper." Yesterday I went shopping and splurged on a new tie and jeans for him because, if he was going to come to court with me, he wasn't showing up in one of his standard worn and faded t-shirts. He had to be presentable. Mr. Sprock wanted to experience the whole day like I do, riding the bus and the train to court. I said, "Okay, but you do realize that means we have to be walking out the door by a certain time, or we will have to drive."
We got up early this morning, and it looked like we would have enough time to get everything done. This also included an extra chore for me, of sewing on suspender buttons on Mr. Sprock's new pants. Mr. Sprock made us a great breakfast and lunch, and we also packed a blanket to sit on, just in case the unforgiving courtroom benches were too much. As we are rushing to get ready, I'm calling out the time, reminding my husband that we have to leave soon. As he starts to button on his white suspenders, he's realizing that they look like they have a few stains on them. I tried to remind him about taking care of that last night, but to no avail. So he tries to clean them up a bit and throws them in the dryer to dry. Minutes keep ticking by, and he's still not ready. I'm packing our lunch, getting extra water ready, and making sure I have my notebook, enough pens as well as all the material I've printed out for Dominick.
Two minutes to go the suspenders are miraculously dry, and my husband is finally putting on his tie. The problem is, he can't remember how to tie a double Windsor knot. "Why do I have to wear a tie" he asks, totally frustrated that he can't remember how to do it and wanting the easy way out by not wearing one. "Because if you're going with me to court, I'm asking you to wear a tie," I reply. I'm watching the minutes tick down to when we have to leave and he still can't get the Windsor knot figured out. He keeps trying. It's now about eight minutes past when we were supposed to leave. Taking the bus and train are now history, and we will have to drive. As we get in the car, Mr. Sprock is still trying to get the tie together, so I have to get us there. On the freeway, the traffic is unexpectedly light through a good portion of the San Fernando Valley, but I'm expecting bumper to bumper once we reach the Hollywood Freeway. As I pass the first freeway traffic sign with travel times, it says it's a 25 minute drive to downtown LA. I breathe a sigh of relief, knowing we will have plenty of time to get to court.
Mr. Sprock finally abandons trying to remember how to do a double Windsor, and settles for a single. Success. He's not happy with how it looks, but at least it's presentable. As I'm driving, he gets his coat jacket from the rear seat and notices a stain on the left sleeve near the cuff. I knew I should have looked over all of his clothing before we left the house. He immediately goes to work, putting some soda water on the stain, and rubbing the stain on his jeans. "Don't get it on your pants!" I tell him. "Oh, it will be dry by the time we get to court," he confidently replies. We park in the budget lot, and walk to the building.
Up on the 9th floor, I see Dominick sitting with the two cameramen in the hallway, and I introduce him to my husband. He had a flesh colored bandage over his nose, and everyone is making up funny stories as to what happened. I knew the real story before we left the house, and was happy to see that he was feeling okay and just a little banged up. Inside the courtroom, I see ccarrolladams (CCA) is already in his regular seat, chatting it up with two trial watchers next to him. As we sit down, I ask Dominick for a favor. My older sister, just having found out yesterday that I've been sitting next to Dominick at trial, told me I would never have to sew her another thing ever, if I would get for her, a signed copy of Vanity Fair. Dominick asks her name and signs the page his article is on. Right after, one of the cameramen asks Dominick if he will sign his M&M's wrapper. We all laugh. I pass the package of materials I've printed off to Dominick and he immediately starts devouring Kim's blog, The Darwin Exception. I start pointing out everyone in the room who arrives to Mr. Sprock.
The other blogger Carolyn Kellogg is here. LAist, where she blogs, recently did an interview with her. I see the gentleman who attended the Blake trial in the back row near the door. Spector finally shuffles into court with the little wife and bodyguards. Mr. Sprock turns to me and says, "Who's the woman wearing the pregnancy top?" It's Rachelle. (For the rest of the day, my husband asks anyone who will listen if they think she could be pregnant.) She's got on a matching top and pants, but the top looks like it belongs on someone who's six months or more in the family way. It has all these pleats in the front, and these strange sleeves that are all puffed around the elbows, and I'm reminded of the big poofed sleeves the men wore in The Three Musketeers. And her hair looks terrible. What can one say about couples that dye to match? Maybe after she styled Spector's rug, she passed the color bottle to her own head. Her hair is dead flat straight. It's obvious she hasn't had her ends trimmed in months, and, her whole head is full of split and broken ends. One of the reporters said, "She looked much better as a streaked blond." Like I've mentioned before, she looks best with her hair pulled back so you can see her face.
Dominick says he saw a show at the Geffen Playhouse over the weekend and it was great. He asks me if I've ever been. "Once," I reply, "To see one of my long time dear clients, Penny Fuller." "I know Penny!" Dominick says. "She was a good friend of my late wife." I tell him that whenever Penny comes to town, she always makes a point to get a session with me. One of the reporters in the back row asks Dominick, "Did Lindsay Lohan punch you out?" I see Spector's single fan along the back row. A tall large man in a nice suit (he looks almost like a mob lawyer), comes in and goes up to Rod Lindblom to shake his hand. He's then introduced to the family.
Ciaran tells Dominick that Michelle Caruso quit the paper she was with, and was hired as a senior editor at The Star. Ciaran says she's a fun girl, and he really likes her. This is a good move for her, and he mentions that she might come back to trial later in the week.
For a long time, everyone thought that Spector's former assistant Michelle Blaine, who knew Phil since she was a young child and worked for him for about eight years, was the one who hired Rachelle as her assistant. Well, that story isn't exactly accurate. The reality is, it was Spector who met Rachelle (who knows where), and Spector ordered Michelle to hire Rachelle as her assistant. Seems the latest Mrs. Spector had Phil in her sight glass for a long time, and marrying Spector is a probably her own Bonnie Lee Bakely dream come true. I'm sure it must have been difficult for Michelle, forced to have an assistant that she absolutely hated with a passion.
The attorneys have been in camera with the Judge, and they finally emerge around 9:43 am. A few minutes later, Roger Rosen's girlfriend arrives and sits on the defense side beside Rachelle. Brunon is not in the well of the court; he's sitting in the second row of benches behind Rachelle. Mr. Sprock (a fan of any music before Beethoven), excitedly tells me that CCA knows all about an incredible Italian record label, Fone. You have to hear an album produced by this guy on a decent sound system to truly appreciate it.
The first witness up is Marc Scott Taylor, a forensic scientist who does general criminalistics work and DNA analysis. He does have a degree...a bachelors degree, in Zoology but that's about it. I'm wondering if with this degree, he's done any shotgun wound testing on animals, because that's the only way I can think this guy is going to be relevant to the defense case. Taylor makes a point to say that he did all the course work for his Masters, but he went to work for the LA County Sheriff's crime lab, and never wrote his master thesis. Whoop-de-do. What's the point of going to school then? We hear lots more boring testimony about DNA extraction, RFLP testing and the current method, PCR that's used around the world. His lab is one of the first labs to go "online" using DNA testing.
During all this make you snore testimony, I exchange some notes with Dominick about Rachelle's hair, basically everything I've already written about. I look over at Rachelle and she's already got her blankie wrapped around her. The jury is listening to the witness, but I rarely see a note being taken. I think, "What would they write, anyway?" Spector's hands are in his lap, and not where I would normally see them. I can't see any shaking. The witness states that DNA can transfer just by touching a pen. A juror picks at their nails. Now we are finally getting to something. Taylor states that saliva is the preferred reference sample for DNA, because it's one of the most concentrated human fluids for DNA. It has more DNA than blood. Is the defense trying to imply with this witness, that Spector didn't have anything to drink, that his DNA being on the brandy snifter glasses is just transfer DNA, and could have gotten there through Lana kissing him? Ewwwww!
The witness is breezing along testifying but he says something, claims something about a stain, (I'm a terrible reporter; I totally miss the statement) and AJ is objecting faster than I can blink and a sidebar is called. It appears Plourd didn't lay the proper foundation for the question. About this time Linda Deutsch has a coughing fit that just won't stop. Dominick is really worried about her. Several people offer Linda water, but she waves them off. The bailiff brings Linda a glass of water which she finally accepts. Soon, it's revealed that this blood stain is the dried blood that Dr. Lee collected in a post-it paper. Still, it's puzzling, why the defense is even bringing this up. I check in with my husband, and he writes me a note on my pad, asking when the break is. He's fidgeting all around, and I think he needs to use the bathroom. I tell him 25 more minutes at least. Now Taylor says the blood sample has tissue in it.
I think this testimony is pointless. Why is the defense getting testimony of the minutia of comparing this blood sample with the control sample taken from Lana? The reporter's don't think this blood stain Dr. Lee collected was in contention that it was Lana's. "The sample could not be excluded from coming from Ms. Clarkson. The sample is rarer than one in 1.8 billion." The blood flake Dr. Lee collected would not dissolve, so it was harder to get it to back into solution. Mr. Sprock asks me "What's the point of this?" And soon it becomes clear. Apparently, this expert witness says post-it notes are used all the time to collect evidence; he's even heard that at a forensic conference. After all, it's only paper. So this is to try to rehabilitate Dr. Lee's collection procedures. Rosen passes Plourd a note. A juror looks out at the gallery. We wait it seems like endless minutes for AJ to get up and cross.
AJ gets Taylor to admit that he doesn't have a master's or Ph.D. degree, and that he doesn't know the particular luminol formula that was used.
Q: Evidence envelopes are handled a bit more carefully?
Even after Jackson does a demonstration with a post-it pad, the witness is still firm that post-it paper is quite acceptable to collect evidence in. The sticky side being the part that is used. After a question by Jackson the witness insists that when he received the item, the dried blood was attached to the sticky area. As a last point, Taylor has to admit that his lab is not ASCLAD certified. Plourd tries to redirect his witness.
Q: Does someone has to be a histologist to do DNA testing?
Q: In order to look at blood?
A: No. It's better to look at blood via testing verses under a microscope. A presumptive test is better.
When Plourd asks about someone possibly getting "prime rib" on their clothes, the witness says. "Well, with prime rib, you could be splashing blood, possibly; a better example is steak sauce."
Both sides are finished with Taylor, and Steven Dowell is the next witness for the defense. And right after the first question, Jackson calls for a sidebar. Since this takes a while, the reporters talk about Rosen's "non-presence" in front of the jury. One reporter thinks Rosen is a perfect example of a "smarmy, West LA lawyer," and I have to agree. When the attorneys step away from the bench, it appears the prosecution won that sidebar, because the defense moves onto their only other issue with Steven Dowell.
Steven Dowell testifies that he was at a meeting where the missing tooth was discussed. This is all just to get on the record, that the LASO crime lab makes mistakes, and gives the defense the ability to imply that the potential missing evidence could have been in that broken vial with the missing teeth. A few questions later, Dixon stands up to perform the cross.
Steven Dowell followed the proper procedures when he found the broken vial. He documented what he discovered and notified the doctor in charge of the case. Plourd asks a redirect question.
Q: Was Dr. Herold involved in trying to determine if the pieces were missing.
Q: An this was tooth material?
A: Well, that's what they believed it to be.
The afternoon break is finally called, and we get a chance to stretch. Mr. Sprock isn't in need of the bathroom like I thought, he's in need of some caffeineto wake himself up. He tells me he had to keep pinching himself and move around to try to stay awake. All those fourteen to sixteen hour work days have been taking their toll. He takes off for the first floor cafeteria to get some black tea. I look on over at the defense side, and I see Brunon talking to a woman who I guess is his wife with two late teenaged looking children. Later, in the hallway at lunch, it's a good guess that this might be his family. One of the court liaison officers comes over to speak to Dominick, Ciaran and Steven. Apparently in anticipation of the jury visit to the Castle, the court is going to have a meeting with all the members of the press next Tuesday at 8:30 am. Steven makes a passing comment that bloggers are not considered mainstream and should be included. I chuckle, because we both know I won't be one of the press selected to cover the viewing. Even so, I will go to this meeting just to cover what decisions are made, and report who gets to go.
When my husband finally gets back upstairs (seems he had a problem getting on the right elevator) he has purchased a bag of M&M's. I read him the riot act that he can NOT be caught chewing these by the bailiff. He says, "Well, as long as she doesn't see me." I remind him that the Judge will be watching too. He promises me he won't eat them during testimony.
When we go back on the record, Rosen calls the next witness, Richard Munisteri. This is an associate counsel for the House of Blues, who received a subpoena for certain documents. All this witness is here for, is to show Lana Clarkson's work schedule for the week prior to her death, and that she didn't work that Tuesday. This is the only way that the defense can get on the record as part of their case, that Lana could have attended Greg Sims's impromptu party at his St. Regis hotel room. It will be difficult for the prosecution to verify whether or not Lana ever did attend this party, because the hotel was torn down to make way for condos. Where in the world would they find people who might remember a party, or even the hotel records? My husband writes me a note asking what was the date of the murder.
After they are finished with this witness, there is another sidebar and the lunch break is called early. Dominick had a lunch date set up with the prosecutor on the Menedez case, so CCA and my husband have lunch together at a table near by. CCA brought me a DVD copy of Tigerland. I'm so excited! I've received hate mail telling me that Rachelle was never in this movie, she never played the part of a stripper and that she is a musician, and that I should get my facts straight. However, a very reliable source told me that yes, Rachelle is in the movie as an extra, dancing topless around a stripper pole in the background behind the principal actors. I'll try to watch the movie as soon as possible and report back to all of you.
During lunch, I leave a message for my sister in Florida that I never have to sew for her again. My husband, very irritated with the settings of the A/C in the courtroom asks CCA if he knows where the thermostat is in the courtroom so he can fix it. CCA, chuckling, tells him it's behind the judge's bench, and his hopes of fixing the A/C are dashed.
Back in the courtroom, my husband points to Spector, and says, "He looks like he's about to pass gas." He's in a strange position. He's standing in front of his special chair, facing it. His hands are on the arm rests, and his right knee is bent at 90 degrees, the knee resting on the seat of the chair. This pained expression is on his face. Beth Karas enters the courtroom. When we go back on the record, it appears the defense doesn't have any more witnesses! They are deleting some witnesses, and tightening up their case. They could rest this week, even as early as tomorrow! Holy cow! No one is expecting this, not even the prosecution, who thought the defense would be continuing all through next week. The defense asks if they can present Dr. Lee's testimony from the evidentiary hearing, because it appears he is "unavailable." Dixon gets up to object to that, and presents some arguments to the Judge to, show due diligence that the defense made every effort to get Dr. Lee here. And then a bombshell is revealed. Dr. Lee was never put under subpoena to testify. What a big screw up that was. It was just a good faith "hand shake" that he would be available. Dr. Baden is not going to testify. Looks like no more big guns expert witnesses. I find that interesting. The reporters tell me that Dr. Baden was here this weekend but he flew back to New York. And the last thing, the defense would like to see in advance a text of the potential jury instruction regarding the missing "evidence."
The Judge turns down all the the requests by the defense. The Judge points out that they did not prove to the court that they made every effort to ensure Dr. Lee would show up, so they do not get to use his prior testimony outside the presence of the jury. Second, no way in hell is he going to deviate from proper court procedure and give them an advance on that jury instruction because he hasn't heard all the testimony yet, so at this point he doesn't even know what the specific instructions will be. The Judge and the prosection will be going to the murder scene sometime on Monday, August 6th, to preview the scene and ensure there is no OJ staging. If everything is hunky dory, then the jury visit will go forward.
Rosen tells the Judge that they are still working out issues regarding the press and this visit. He spoke with Sandi Gibbons and they are pretty close on some issues but far apart on some others. Rosen then brings up the computer hard drive and that they haven't been able to review all the materials yet. This will impact the witnesses they are going to call tomorrow, and they may have to recall them. Sometime during this whole discussion, the Judge tells the defense that they can not rest until after the jury visit.
Then the issue of Cutler leaving for Westlake is brought up. The Judge asks Spector if that's agreeable to him. "Yes," he replies. I can't remember if it's the Judge or the prosecution who brings up a prior case where something similar occurred during a trial of one of the Manson accomplices, and because another attorney took over for a prosecutor that was killed during the trial, the decision to let another attorney take over was turned over on appeal. The Judge made it clear to Spector, that, if he decides to let Cutler partake in the closing argument, then he will forfeit his right to an appeal on the grounds of ineffective counsel. The Judge asks Spector if he still agrees, and Spector replies, "I'll talk with him (Cutler) about that." His voice is low, raspy. It sounds to me like he's got laryngitis.
The Judge then brings in the jury, and informs them that there's good and bad news. He informs them that they might be going out on a trip to the Castle on August 9th. There's a possibility of that. And, he understands that there is a possibility that one alternate, #6, may not be able to make that viewing. It remains to be seen, since it appears she has a prior commitment. And, that they need to start preparing themselves for the end of the case, and that deliberations will be held on Fridays also, so they may need to make arrangements for that. The jury is excused, and Plourd tries to get photos of Lana, during the filming of movie roles, holding guns. The Judge had already ruled on this, but now the defense makes a last ditch plea, showing the actual photos to the Judge. He still denies the request stating the photos are irrelevant. If you want to call the people who trained her for the roles and how to use a gun, that's one thing, but photos, no way. Brunon makes a last ditch effort to get these images in front of the jury saying, "It has some relevance," and the Judge replies, "It doesn't have enough for me."
There is some discussion involving Dr. Pena, and possible exculpatory evidence that the prosecution brought forward for advice from the Judge on whether or not this potential evidence was exculpatory, and the Judge felt it wasn't, and isn't allowing the evidence in. However, that information will still be provided to the defense team in an unredacted form.
The Judge finally leaves the bench, and the reporters take their time leaving the courtroom. We are all still reeling that the defense has shortened up their case, and is not going to bombard the jury with more expert witnesses. Maybe they are seeing the writing on the wall, and taking a better temperature of the jury, and showing them those disgusting photographs of Lana's teeth and tongue all over again with more experts. Before I leave the courtroom, I make a point to tell the family attorney about something I observed during the morning break, that I felt he needed to be aware of. He thanked me for that information.
Outside the courtroom, we linger a bit with Dominick and Mr. Sprock brings up the maternity looking top on Rachelle and whether or not she's pregnant. Dominick says, "I can't even think of them together!" And we have a laugh about that. With us chatting, are two other trial watchers, a husband and wife who were sitting on the other side of CCA. My husband was talking with the wife, right before leaving the courtroom, about sneaking up behind Phil, and giving a little tug on his head rug. The wife put her head down to keep from laughing because she said had to resist a desire to do exactly that herself! Outside the courtroom, my husband and the woman joke about this some more, and when Spector and his entourage leave and pass by us, my husband visits the idea again.
Walking back to our car and the drive home, Mr. Sprock said he had a good time today, except for when he had a hard time staying awake during the morning session.
I almost forgot to mention that Steven Mikulan has a new entry up at the LA Weekly. He got a scoop and interviewed Sara Caplan. It appears that all the reporting about Sara Caplan going to be hauled in front of Judge Fidler on Friday or Monday were just that. Rumors. According to Steven, the court liaison's office and Ms. Caplan, had not heard a thing about that.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
The almost daily Sprocket Blog is a total delight.
Constantly you provide us not just a transcript of testimony in CA v Phil Spector, but in addition the flavor and subtext of the events in and around the courtroom. Through your words we have come to know and love a whole new aspect of Dominick Dunne, a young man with a future as a wordsmith himself.
Some of us are comfortable discussing endlessly the difference between conventional bluing of steel in firearms and the finish treatment of aluminum in a Clot Cobra to make it appear to be fine steel. Some of us get pedantic when a defense expert witness who claims to know everything cannot answer a simple basic question from a defense attorney, such as the definition of a micron. Considering that is the basic measurement unit of optical microscopy you would think a forensic pathologist who started med school in 1946 would know a micron is 1 over 1,000 of a millimeter.
Okay, so you tell us about the different brands and styles of expensive women’s shoes. And just think, when “Sex and The City” stopped production I thought it safe to forget all about Milano Blahnik and Jimmy Choo. Before that when “Absolutely Fabulous” (AbFab) stopped I forgot all about YSL and Christen Lacroix. I guess as long as Phil Spector is married to Rachelle every day in court will be a fashion adventure.
Because you wrote about the comfort of getting to the court house using Metro busses and the Red Line, I was motivated to get out of my condo and spend a day or so at the trial. You offered to introduce me around, and I knew that Dini was flying in for a few days. That made me feel right at home, and soon I discovered I also had many long-time buddies working for either the DA or the LA Superior Court. First and foremost is Sandi Gibbons, lead spokesperson for the DA. We first came into contact long before the Manson trial which she covered so well.
Going to court is sort of addictive, but in a good way, and actually ethical as well as street legal. I can imagine a scene (say from “Reefer Madness: The Musical”) in which some disreputable fellow steps out of the shadows and offers an innocent young person a free all day Metro pass along with directions to the court house, knowing full-well that from then on that innocent person is hooked. A few claim they can stop attending court when they want, so are in denial about their addiction. Others freely admit Jonesing their next court day, although we will never admit Bogarting the best seats.
People say back about 1962 Phil Spector produced the music of their lives, which is as may be. I do know that even before this trial got a delayed start I was hearing “To Know, Know, Know Him is to Loath, Loath, Loath Him” and did not understand why.
Then when neither Werner Spitz nor VDM could remember passages from their own books, and admitted lifting parts from previous other author’s research, I could not help singing the Tom Lehrer song from circa 1955 “Lobachevsky” who claims the secret to success in science is to “Plagiarize, let no one else’s work evade your eyes!” VDM and later WS also got me to seriously thinking being a necrophiliac as a career path. VDM is the son of a former NYC Chief ME. WS is the father of a current Chief ME in Michigan, reminding us all about the “Young necrophiliac who achieved his boyhood ambition by being elected coroner” as Tom Lehrer says in the introduction to “My Home Town” on his 1960 album “Tom Lehrer Revisited.” Just think, had PS produced that album it might have sold even more copies. Silly Tom Lehrer, who produced and marketed it himself, the most successful such sales effort up to then in the field of comedy music.
Thank you, Sprocket, and Thank you, Mr. Sprocket, for loaning her to us all these many days!
C Carroll Adams PhD
Saturday, July 28, 2007
It's being whispered behind the scenes that Spector has terminated the chauffeured limousine service for Bruce Cutler to get to and from the courthouse. Cutler, who has been staying at The Ritz-Carlton in Pasadena on Spector's dime, recently had his lodgings down graded from a nice bungalow to just a single room in the main hotel. It's my understanding that driving him everyday has been relegated to one of the massive bodyguard's (down from three to two, for some time now). ~Maybe Spector's pocketbook is shrinking, and he's actually having to rein in his defense spending budget because you know, he has to keep his young, arm candy wife well stocked with Christian Louboutin shoes.~ I'm not sure if it's true but supposedly the other members of the defense team have been instructed to be "nice" to Cutler in public. All this is obviously to try to quell rumors in the press of dissension in the defense camp ranks. I don't think this last ditch effort (to make it look like everyone at that table is getting along) is working very well, since the accredited press has been reporting there is dissension. I doubt that Cutler is now suddenly included in the strategy sessions with the rest of the leaderless-looking defense team.
Early on in the trial, not long after the (Plourd-bored-the-jury-to-the- point-they-sent-a-message-of-complaint) cross of Dr. Pena, I predicted that this trial would not end until September. Not one of the accredited press believed that, and the thought of it going on that long really upset Mr. Dunne when I suggested it. With a jury trip to The Castle planned sometime for the second week in August, it's seems I wasn't far off in my prediction. Beth Karas is now reporting that the close of this long suffering drama will probably happen towards the end of August.
I took a break from taking the Metro and drove to court today. I found a slightly cheaper lot near the courthouse on the southeast corner of Broadway and 2nd Streets. It's only $10.00 (compared to $16-18) for the entire day. Granted, it is almost a full block farther away, but the walk does go by pretty quickly.
I finally get to the 9th floor around 9:15 am. Dominick is in the hall chatting it up with Harret Ryan and the Court TV camera operators. When I enter the courtroom, I see Judge Fidler is out of his robes and signing for documents related to other cases at his clerk's desk. ccarrolladams (CCA) and Steven both have jokingly said they can't look at Judge Larry Fidler without his robe on. It's just not right. Ron and Richard from Riverside are here, and when Dominick sees them, he gets a big smile on his face and greets them very warmly.
Sitting next to Rachelle is Anita Talbert (one of Spector's most outspoken supporters) wearing a pair of black, skin tight jeans. When she was in the courtroom before, she had on a more drapey, loose-fitting outfit. Today, Anita looks even more skeletal than she did the first time I saw her. I wonder how comfortable she will be on the rock hard courtroom benches because to me, it doesn't look like Anita has a rear end at all. I think Anita is a despicable person. She has been spewing lies left and right about Lana Clarkson to any news outlet that will give her a second of air time. The stories are horrendous and I won't repeat them. Right before the jury comes in I see Spector, animated and smiling, talking to Roger Rosen. I also see that Louis Spector and his long time love had come to court again, and his brother Dante is sitting right beside them. I made sure to stop by and apologize to Louis for having to run off so quick last week without saying goodbye. We agree to have lunch together in the cafeteria.
This morning, before I left for court, I got a private message on the Court TV forums from Gary Spector. Gary was concerned because he recently found out that one of his father's gold records, To Know Him Is To Love Him, was on sale on eBay for $100,000. He was upset that someone was trying to profit off of something that belonged to his father, and Gary was hoping I could help him get this information to his dad. I printed out the message Gary sent me, and I also printed out the eBay web pages that had the item for sale. I sent Gary a message back that I would do what I could to get this information to Spector for him. Not because I care about Spector, but because my heart goes out to his estranged sons. It's been my impression ever since meeting Louis and talking to Gary via e-mail, that even though Spector turned his back on all of his boys years ago, all they want is to be there for their father. They don't want his money, they just want to show him support, just out of respect for the fact that he is their father.
While everyone was waiting for court to start, I showed Dominick what I had, and that Gary wanted me to pass this information on. Dominick said I should give it to Horace, one of the bodyguards. I told him I didn't feel comfortable doing that (I'm terribly shy approaching people I don't know) and he said he would do it for me, since he knows the bodyguard. I quickly wrote a note on the top page that I promised Gary I would pass this information on, and signed my name. I saw Dominick hand the papers to Horace, and then I saw Horace motion to Rachelle, who stepped outside with him. My heart sank. I really wondered if the information would disappear, or if it would be spun in some totally negative way to Spector.
It wasn't until lunch that I find out what happened. Louis said that his father came up to him, (I can't remember the specific statement he made) saying he was quite angry at his twin thinking Gary was the one selling the record. Louis was quite puzzled about his father's anger, because he didn't know what it was about. I felt terrible, because I knew this was the last thing Gary wanted. I quickly explained to Louis the sequence of events and what I had tried to do. If I had known that Louis was going to be in court, I would have passed all of this onto him. Louis promised me that after lunch, he would set his father straight, that it wasn't Gary selling the item on eBay.
Back on the record, Plourd continues his direct of Dr. Werner Spitz.
Spitz worked at an army hospital in Israel performing autopsies, many of which were gunshot victims. In 1959 he came to the US on a visitor visa, and at first had no plans to immigrate. When he did decide to immigrate, for that application to go through he was required to return to his native Germany for two years before he could apply to live here permanently. While in Germany, he did the same type of work he did in Israel. Dr. Spitz then goes into great detail describing his US work history, and the various counties where he was hired as the chief medical examiner. He worked in Baltimore, and two different counties in Michigan. For thiry-five years, Dr. Spitz has been on the board of the Forensic Medical Journal (I don't think I have the name of it right~I think it's commonly referred to as "The Orange Journal.") for editorial review of articles submitted for publication.
In 1972 to 1988 he was the chief medical examiner for Wayne County, Michigan. When he retired in 1988, the county next door asked for his help ~because the medical examiner there was not a pathologist~ in a consulting capacity. Then after a few years he was hired as the chief medical examiner for McCoon County, Michigan. He finally retired from that position in 2004, and his son took over his job. Dr. Spitz helped develop the testing requirements for new potential forensic pathologists. (I'm guessing this is for the state of Michigan.) He's been appointed as a professor of two universities, one being Wayne State, the other I miss getting the name. He teaches classes on poisons in forensic pathology. It's 9:55 am and I see Rosen's girlfriend enter and sit on the bench with Rachelle and Anita.
I look over at Fawn sitting in the front row off to my right, and I see she has some sort of palm sized little pamphlet of printed material that she is carefully cradling in her hand and discreetly trying to read. I can't see what it might be that she's reading.
Dr. Spitz has testified in all fifty states and several other countries. He's testified in federal, criminal and civil courts as well as before congress. He was contacted by the Nelson Rockafeller Commission investigating the assassination of JFK. He not only worked on that case but also on the Martin Luther King assassination. This committee is still in existence, and if there ever is any need, the committee members are brought together again to investigate. Dr. Spitz testifies that he has probably looked at over 20,000 gunshot wounds, in either an actual capacity or a supervisory one. He was originally approached to work on the case by Spector's first attorney, Robert Shapiro.
In reviewing this case, he looked at the complete autopsy file, the Alhambra Police crime reports, the Los Angles County Sheriff's crime reports, prior medical records of Lana Clarkson, prescription records of Ms. Clarkson, her diary, her datebook and other materials that were found on her computer. He also looked at numerous crime scene photographs. He was asked to opine on the cause of death (COD) and manner of death (MOD) of Ms. Clarkson. I take a moment to look on over at the jury and it appears that several are taking notes. Dr. Spitz states that photographs are very important in postmortem review and in some instances he had to rely on them completely. He also mentions that he looked at the toxicology records, and other documents. And then, Dr. Spitz gives us his opinion of MOD, something he will never waiver from throughout his entire testimony. "I think she died of a self inflicted gunshot wound." Dr. Spitz states that it is almost impossible, although there are some exceptions, to determine what someone was thinking (right before they kill themselves). One of the jurors in the back row is making facial expressions, raising their brow, as if to say, "Huh?"
Q: Dr. Spitz, do you exclude it being a homicide?
A: No. ...Uh, Yes.
Absolutely incredible! Dr. Spitz first answers "No," but after a second or two corrects himself. Could this be a spontaneous admission of how Sptiz truly feels?
Dr. Spitz goes on to say, "I think Dr. Pena's opinion was a hasty opinion." Oh really, doc? I guess that slipped by you that Dr. Pena took about ten months to carefully review everything before he came to his conclusion. Hasty my ass. It's right then that Ron who is sitting behind me and Dominick, passes a note to Dominick that I get to read. Does Dr. Spitz belong to the SAG (Screen Actors Guild)? He's full of B.S. We both smile and Dominick gives me a little chuckle.
The defense has put up on the Elmo a video we've seen before, of Dr. Spitz firing off a Colt cobra 38 snub nose revolver. CCA leans into me and asks, "But what ammo did he use?" I look on over at the jurors. One has their arms crossed. Another one has an expression like they don't believe him. They are just listening and not taking much in the way of notes. I write this note to CCA, even though I'm sure he knows. Impossible. The ammunition was last sold over 20 years ago.
Dr. Spitz performed a test with the same type of gun but not with Plus P ammunition, which was the type that was in the weapon. He can't recreate the shooting because the ammunition can not be obtained. I pass a note to CCA about another trial watcher who has snuck in during the morning session. I also see the white haired guy enter and sit on the defense side. He's actually wearing a dress shirt and tie today, when he usually wears a more casual looking attire. Dr. Spitz did other testing with this particular weapon. He shot rounds at a special thick type of paper to document the gunshot residue pattern. Out of the corner of my eye I see Alan Parachini enter and sit near the door. A juror and an alternate have their arms crossed. Another juror is looking around and out at the gallery.
I take some time to watch Fawn's face. Occasionally I see an expression that passes (in my opinion) like she can't believe what she's hearing. Maybe it's a small half smile or a smirk. It's hard to tell because I can't see her face full on. I admire the courage it must take, to sit here for as long as she and her mother have, and listen to the defense witnesses try to drag her sister through the mud. Again, I have to say, every time I even concentrate too much on the family, all I can think about is the loss they have experienced. A few days ago, Dominick was sitting next to me, and reading my blog entry titled Pie loses her memory ~ well, what memory she has left. When he comes to the following passage, he outlines it and motions to me to see it.
There have been several times over the last several months, while I've been in the court room, I've looked at Lana's family, and I tried to put my emotions into the shoes of what Lana Clarkson's family is dealing with. What if, my sister had been so careless and thoughtlessly murdered like Lana was. What if, I had a child who was killed at the hands of a wealthy, misogynistic, weak little man. And when I think I've come just a little bit close, to what that horror would be like, tears immediately start to form and I have to shut the emotion down before I become overwhelmed by a sense of heartbreaking loss.He then leans into me and says, "I've felt this way, too." I respond back, "But you have been in their shoes. You have experienced this loss," referring of course, to the murder of his daughter, Dominique.
All this expert blabber sounds nice, but when you get down to the brass tacks, the defense can't get around some basic facts. That Lana's death occurred in Spector's home that she was unfamiliar with, with Spector's gun, and Spector's bullets. And the huge incriminating fact, within minutes of the shooting, Spector stepped outside his back door and said in a clear voice to Adriano DeSouza, "I think I killed somebody."
The morning break is finally called. I step outside and sit down on the same stone bench with Susan, the Dateline reporter with the auburn hair color I envy. Ciaran comes over and says, "Hello ladies." Susan shares with us a bit about the story Dateline is doing and the deadline she is having to meet. If I'm remembering correctly, Dateline is looking to air their show either during closing arguments or deliberations, but don't quote me on that. Back inside the courtroom, CCA tells me he overheard Jackson and Dixon talking with an LASO captian and others about scheduling the jury visit to the castle. According to what he heard, they were going to have to call in about 100 extra officers from neighboring jurisdictions. Coordinating the whole event will be a logistical nightmare. Two tentative dates are mentioned as to when this visit will occur. We go back on the record at 11:10 am. Lana's family stays outside the courtroom. They don't reenter when the break is over.
Dr. Spitz, is now talking about gun pressure. I didn't realize that forensic pathologist Spitz is also a weapons expert. Plourd is having trouble getting some questions to Dr. Spitz. Seems he's not asking them properly or even laying the proper foundation; Jackson keeps objecting and the Judge keeps sustaining AJ's objections. The Judge has to explain to Plourd what he's doing wrong. Finally he gets his act together so he can ask Dr. Spitz about gun gasses. "A gunshot wound would cause an explosion to the head and in this case, left evidence of that," Dr. Spitz testifies. I try to stay with it, paying attention to the testimony but now he's moved on to talking about the damage to the mouth and the teeth that were blown out and I want to cover my ears and go "la la la la la, I can't hear you!" Just like Kim described on her blog The Darwin Exception, when the orodontist Alselmo testified. But since I'm in the courtroom, I have to at least look like I'm taking notes instead of having my mind wander.
Beth Karas enters the courtroom and she's wearing a lovely, deep pumpkin colored skirt and matching suit jacket, matching jewelry, a white top and adorable shoes on her feet. Every time I see Beth, she never disappoints in wearing something stylish and appropriate. Spector is looking down, almost as if he is boring a hole through the defense table with is eyes. Linda Kenney Baden appears to be on her laptop again. For the first time I notice Cutler is not sitting directly beside Spector. From left to right it's Cutler, Rosen, then Spector and Linda Kenney Baden on the far right. OMG! They are showing that terrible image of Lana's lips pulled back again by that device. I can't look. It's disgusting. Several of the jurors in the back row look bored. Rosen is very busy writing, taking notes while Plourd is conducting the direct. As the testimony drones on, I'm thankful that I'm going to miss more of this if it continues into tomorrow, and at the same time, hating the fact that I'll probably also miss most of Jackson's cross.
Now Plourd is having Dr. Spitz show the tongue model to the jurors up close and personal, so Spitz can explain to them his opinions on the tongue wound. Earlier, Susan mentioned that she didn't think Pat Dixon looked too happy, and as this testimony goes on, I think she might be right. On the other hand, I can't see Dixon's face (or AJ's for that matter) very well when they are sitting at the prosecution table. I look on over to see what Spector is doing, and it doesn't appear that his hands are shaking. I haven't noticed them shake for some time now. I look on over at Steven and he makes a quick face at me. I have to cover my own face for a moment to keep from smiling or laughing.
The defense now puts up on the Elmo an image of Lana's damaged tongue. It's totally gross, and I have to look away. I feel like the family attorney who is leaning forward and has his head down. For a moment he looks up for a second, but then puts his head back down. I'm starting to freeze again, and yawn. I realize that I might as well bring a sweater each day, just in case the A/C is set to Antarctica. Ten more minutes. Seven more minutes.
Finally! The lunch break is called, and I make a quick exit to get to the cafeteria so I can grab two tables and put them together. I'm not sure if Dominick is going to join us or not. Monday, he was invited to dine with Peter Y. Hong and Cutler today, but Peter hasn't been in court all morning so Dominick doesn't know if the lunch is still on. Supposedly, Peter is an amateur gourmet chef, and puts together these fabulous sandwich lunches. Outside in the hallway near the elevators I see Peter on his cell, so Dominick's lunch date is on.
Louis, his friend, CCA and myself all have lunch together. Susan joins us, and we shuffle seats so that she and Louis can talk. Louis is considering being interviewed for the Dateline segment, and they talk about the specifics of what that might entail. Towards the end of the lunch hour, Dante shows up and joins us. I can see immediately that Louis is happy to have him here. For the rest of the time we are in the cafeteria I get to see Dante and Louis interact. And, it's obvious to me these two men have a deep affection for each other. Dante shares that his girlfriend is a massage therapist, similar to myself. From the way he talks about her, it's clear she is a very important part of his life. At the end of lunch I hear that during the morning session, Spector came over and shook Dante's hand.
Over lunch, Susan and I discuss whether or not the jury knows that Rachelle is Spector's wife, and I mention some of Rachelle's inappropriate outfits. Susan asks me what's wrong with what Rachelle is wearing; she looks nice today. (I agree. The white linen pantsuit is a big improvement.) I describe in detail the "knickers" outfit she had on yesterday. What about her boss, who is juror #2? Surely he would know who Rachellle is because he reviewed some material about this case before he was empaneled. Susan shakes her head no, because she was the one who presented materials for him to review. The jury doesn't see them together, since the jury comes before Spector and Rachelle do, and Rachelle is not at the defense table. For all they know, she could be his daughter or grandchild. I don't think so. I think they know. There are times during testimony, where the jury can see one of the defense attorneys whispering to Rachelle, and her to them. She's the only person on the defense side of the room who is dressed in "look at me" attire, which coresponds with Spector's own bizarre style.
Much later in the day, Ciaran gets confused with the word knickers. He thinks I'm talking about "underwear," because that's the word that is commonly used in Canada and England to describe undies. I thought I'd better explain for readers at Anthony Samuelson's Blog, who follows the trial in the UK. "Knickers" are also known as "pedal pushers." They are slacks (or shorts) that end right above the knees.
Back inside the courtroom, we take our seats and wait. Dominick is reading a script for a TV show where he is going to play himself for two episodes. He's up to page seven and his part hasn't appeared yet. "That's an outrage," he jokingly says. I mention to Dominick that Dante joined us at the end of our lunch. After having lunch with Peter and Cutler, Dominick can't say enough nice things about Peter Y. Hong. He really likes and respects him.
One of the cameramen wants to play a joke on Beth, and he places an empty plastic water bottle under the blanket she sits on, which is right beside his chair. The other Court TV employees in the back row are all in on the joke, but are sure to tell him to remove it if, when Beth comes back, the jury is seated and testimony has started. Beth, who sets up another dinner engagement with Dominick, doesn't sit down until right before the jury comes in, so the bottle is removed.
At 1:35 pm, Plourd is back on direct with Dr. Spitz. It's now that I decide I'm not going to write much more in the way of notes. Whoops. Not yet. There's that word "demonstrative" again. Spitz says it about a piece of animated video of a gun going off that Plourd is now showing the jury. The Pie said it, I think Jennifer used it, Rosen used it and so did the producer, Sims if I'm remembering correctly. Dr. Spitz feels Lana's heart could have still been beating for a short time after the gun went off. Now Plourd brings out the clear head model for the jury again that shows the trajectory of the bullet. A juror in the back row puts down their notebook. Most of the jurors are not taking notes anymore. Now Plourd wants to be able to have Dr. Spitz do a demonstration in a chair, but Jackson calls for a sidebar. When the sidebar is finished, it doesn't look like the defense is going to be able to get this demonstration in front of the jury after all.
Dr. Spitz now says her head moved after brain death. This is crazy. On what planet Dr. Sptiz? Never in my life have I ever heard of a body moving where the spinal cord has been completely severed so close to the brain. When Dr. Spitz coughs on the stand, I'm thinking he might keel over. He's now raising his voice and getting forceful. I write a note to CCA: He's going to milk this. I notice two jurors in the back row have their arms crossed and they are rocking in their chairs. Dr. Spitz is now complaining that there were no "tape lifts" taken of the hands as if this was a big departure from regular procedure. He thinks the physical evidence supports the opinion that Lana was holding the gun with two hands, one on top of the other. Dr. Spitz totally ignores that fact of Lana's wrist injuries, and that she couldn't even carry trays at the House of Blues. Plourd then jumps to the toxicology results.
2:20 pm I see that Rachelle's eyes are closed. It looks like she's taking a nap. A few minutes later, Sandi Gibbons and a couple more trial watchers enter. I'm starting to fade from getting only a few hours of sleep last night and I know as soon as the break is called I'm going to dash up to the snack bar on the 13th floor and get a Vitamin Water. At 2:45, Fidler calls the afternoon recess.
I get my Vitamin Water and come back into the courtroom. I see Rachelle, Horace, and the woman who is Spector's number one fan all break out in laughter over on the defense side of the room. Sandi Gibbons comes by, and I ask her about Vincent Bugliosi. Way back before there were cell phones, Sandi was working for one of the wire services at the time, covering the Manson trial. Sandi thinks Vincent was a legend in his own mind. He called over 140 witnesses; the defense didn't call any. "Mickey Mouse could have prosecuted that case and won," she said. I'm quite disappointed with this bit of information about Vincent, since I really loved reading all his books.
Back on the record, Spitz is going over the "reflexive breaths," he thinks Lana could have made after her spinal cord was severed. I'm shivering, the courtroom is still very cold. "The heart continues to work for a while," he says. "And if it didn't, I would be very surprised." Dr. Spitz goes on to add to his opinion about the MOD and suicide, and waxes poetic about Lana's state of mind. "She was callus. She didn't understand the totality of her actions. (It was) without thinking. Unplanned." Now he goes into explain of other cases he's had, where parents, devastated by a determination of suicide for their child, want him to reconsider his conclusion. "
Q: Those drugs, alcohol and Vicodin, would not render one incapable of holding gun?
A: It would render you incapable of good reasoning.
It sounds like Plourd just might be wrapping it up! Yippie! I just might get to see Jackson start his cross today. Now Plourd is going over the fact that women do use guns and shoot themselves in the mouth. And, a large percentage of suicides have alcohol in their system. Dr. Spitz gives his opinion that Lana's lips were not clenched tightly around the barrel of the gun. And then Dr. Spitz gives another one of his most unbelievable opinions so far. That the bruise on Lana's eye was not because she was hit in the face. Oh no. Spitz state's the bruise was the result of the gunshot blast via the eustachian tubes (ear canal). "No, no, no!" Spitz says. "It's not a black eye!" And here is where Spitz goes completely bonkers and again says that Lana could have taken several breaths after her spinal cord was severed by the bullet. "Considering the intake of air and after brain death, there is every reason to believe the air came out on more than one occasion. I can not say that it did but it could have as I described." Thank you Dr. Spitz. One of the most renowned forensic pathologist has just told us that a brain dead woman with a severed spinal cord at C1, could still take some breaths and spew the blood on Spector's jacket too many feet away. On what PLANET, Dr. Spitz? Can you show us another case exactly like this one where that happened?
It's 3:40 pm and Chris Plourd passes the witness to the prosecution.
The courtroom wakes up, because anytime Alan Jackson conducts cross, you know you are going to be in for a treat. Right off the bat Jackson asks Spitz how much he's being paid. And they get into a little disagreement about how much he's been paid. "Five thousand a day," Spitz states. Since Spitz has been out here to California three times, Jackson responds, "So that's fifteen thousand?"
Spitz: Oh, you're being mean.
Jackson: No sir, I'm trying to do simple math.
And you can just feel it. AJ is just itching to have a go at this hack. The amount Dr. Spitz is being paid is finally figured out. He recently sent a bill for $45,000. He called AJ "mean" because he said he was earning a smaller amount than he actually billed for! Rachelle leans into Plourd and whispers. Jackson confronts Dr. Spitz with the prior bad act history of Spector, and asks if he considered that when coming to his conclusion of MOD. And Spitz actually says, "He is a passive individual in this case." I think my jaw about fell open when I heard that statement. (Spector passive? So waving a gun in several women's faces and threatening their life is just a passive activity? I'd hate to see what passes for excitement at his house!) It's clear that Spitz has been away from Earth for a long time. Even though it only went on for 20 minutes, it was very exciting to watch. Jackson began an excellent tear down in just 20 minutes what it took Plourd all day to build up.
As we gather our things to leave, I tell Dominick that I won't be here tomorrow; I have to work, and he makes a disappointed face. When we say our goodbyes in the lobby, I tell him that I'll see him on Tuesday. He tells me he'll get in touch with me before then.
Here is my latest (film?) critic, moaning about The Color Orange.
Jenny H has left a new comment on your post "The "Producer" gets in the
picture & Spray-on, day-glow Orange..."
I am surprised that you did not comment on Linda Deutsch's outfit that
day either. She was wearing the same color that Mr. Spector's wife was.
And isn't it amazing how three people the very next day wore the same
color that Mr. Spector's wife wore the very day before? Her outfit must
not have been that bad if three people such as Beth Karas, Sandi
Gibbons, and another female reporter all wore the same color the very
next day. Beth Karas wore a bright orangish/salmon color skirt outfit;
Sandi Gibbons wore a bright orangish/salmon color blazer, and another
blonde haired female reporter that was seated in the back row wore a
bright orange-pleated skirt. It is quite obvious you are not up on
todays fashion and styles.
Rachelle, Rachelle, Rachelle. I'm shaking my head here in exasperation. I guess I'm going to have to spell it out to you in more simple terms so hopefully you can understand why your trend setting outfits are inappropriate for court. The color is irrelevant. Do ya get that? Not a single one of these women wore skin tight knickers with a gold studs all over and a gold lamme top to court. It wasn't a good look. Maybe someone needs to remind you that your husband is on trial for second degree murder. Just because he's on television everyday, doesn't mean that's an opportunity for you to wear clothes that are best suited for a night club.
Over on the Court TV Phil Spector weekend thread, the big topic is Sara Caplan. Supposedly, Ms. Caplan hired a PR firm, has appeared on the KTLA live streaming video covering the case, and is considering writing a book about her involvement in the Spector trial. So much for Ms. Caplan standing up on her ethical platform. houdinisback (dini) wrote out for us what all the chapters of her book would be titled. Here it is.
"I thought I might have seen this little white thingy, but I can't remember where?"
"That mean DA, Alan Jackson, twisted my head around with his compound questions and I didn't realize I had answered the question in a way that would implicate my former client."
"That mean Judge Fidler made me cry on TV."
"I haven't been able to take a vaction! wah wah wah!"
"That mean Marta Waller wants me to do her show. Well it's a start."
"What do you mean, I'm subject to recall? I don't remember hearing that?"
Memo to Self: Fix that darned website and learn how to spell"accessibility."
Thursday, July 26, 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?
Q: The foundation room is a private club?
Q: Lana went to work the next day and went back to work for several nights in a row, correct?
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.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
This is an unedited draft entry.
I catch an 8:05 am bus. This means if I'm lucky I will get on the 9th floor by 9:15 am. I grab a seat in the front. Several people are napping or trying to with their heads leaned back and eyes closed. I know the feeling. I barely had four hours of sleep last night. Up too late because Mr. Sprocket was trying to get a new lap top to work with a specific palm pilot he needs for his job that will run tests on these big expensive Honeywell thermostats. No luck. Mr. Sprock is like a dog with a new bone when it comes to anything electronic. He can't put something away and work on it later, so he's up until the wee hours of the morning figuring out the problem. He will have to take the laptop back and get one that is loaded with Windows XP, instead of Vista. The palm pilot won't work with Vista, and the configuration of the computers that have Vista, won't let you load Window's XP on them. So last night, he was not a happy camper.
It's quite muggy out this morning. When we finally got up, we found a light misting shower was already under way. It's been months since Southern California has seen rain, and I had to get a few items undercover of the patio.
On the bus, I have an Uh-oh moment. Last night, I had wedged my large metal letter opener inside my trial notebook, and I never took it out. This means I'm going to have to abandon it to a trash if I want to clear security at court. Sad, because I've had this one for a long time, back to my banking days. As I exit the bus, it goes in the nearest trash can. I brought an umbrella today, just in case. The bus is totally full now, and a few people are standing. It's usually the ride home where I have trouble getting a seat. When I get down to the Red Line station platform, it's empty. I just missed the 8:29 am train.
Finally on the next train, I peer through the windows as the train switches to the southbound track. I am able to look back for a moment and see some open spaces in the tunnels for the first time. Tucked back into one cubby hole, I spot a mid-sized truck parked like it belonged there all the time.
As soon as I get on the 9th floor, I head straight for the courtroom. I see Spector and his deal-of-the-century wife are already in the courtroom. Rachelle is actually wearing something more court appropriate for the second day in a row. It's a long plaid skirt with a bit of a pleat of some sort at the bottom back area, and a black velvet jacket with a mandarin collar and large silver buttons. Have I mentioned she's getting a "killer" wardrobe out of her deal to be arm candy on the arm of a man who could easily be her grandfather? The only problem is, too many of these outfits are totally inappropriate for a murder trial. Her hair is pulled back into a ponytail (the only look I've seen on her that is actually somewhat acceptable for her hair). It's been heavily rumored that the two bodyguards that come into court every day hate Rachelle with a passion, because she often sends them off to do menial errands for her. (At the time I wrote in my notebook about her wardrobe for this day, I honestly thought that "maybe" she finally "gets it," but my thoughts are short lived. The very next day she comes to court in the worst outfit I've seen yet. I can't even print what Dominick said about it. Stay tuned for my upcoming Tuesday coverage where I will describe this latest piece of work she arrived in.)
John Spano of the LA Times is back. Peter Y. Hong is wedged in between him and Harriet Ryan in the back row. CAA notices that there is a "new and improved" still photographer today. It's 9:27 am and we are wondering if Cutler is going to show like it's been reported in the press. A few minutes later he strolls right on in. Dixon says to Plourd when he enters, "Hey! Nice Haircut!" I see Bruce and Phil greet each other. The bailiff comes over to the row behind us and makes one of three interns spit out his gum. A woman I've seen in the courtroom very early on, (I think she used to work for the court in some capacity) Jeanne, greets Linda Deutsch and they hug. Rod Lindblom, the black haired family attorney turns around to greet CCA and asks how I like the Magic Castle. "I loved it!" I reply. John Taylor, the other family attorney says to me, "I read your posts. I liked it very much." "Thank you," I reply. He then tells CCA he reads his posts too! CCA tells Rod he will get him some free passes to The Magic Castle.
9:35 am and I see the Asian transsexual is back in the courtroom with her female friend from before. They come in and sit in the back row. The odontologist, Josesph Anselmo is back on the stand, and Plourd continues his direct examination. Unbelievably, he's describing how crowns are put on. I can see this is going to be just another "stellar" day of testimony for the defense. How is this relevant? I'm sure everyone was just on the edge of their seats waiting to find out how dentists number teeth. I can't believe that Plourd subjects us (again) to a blow up image on the Elmo of the mouth with that device that pulls the lips back every which way. Ewwwww!
I see that Miriam Hernandez from local ABC channel 7 has snuck in the courtroom and is sitting in the back row by the door. Alan Parachini is here in the corner by the pool photographer. Then suddenly, John Spano takes off, carrying his laptop case. The odontist says the tooth material in vial #10 was "lost," but he's very vague about the fact that he was the one who lost the material. CAA leans in to tel me about another word I've misspelled on one of my blog entries. I'd really like to hire him as my editor, but I'm afraid I can't afford him lol! Fawn leans in to whisper to John Taylor. There are a few more questions then Jackson finally steps up to cross this witness.
Jackson gets the odontist to admit that porcelain is harder than any other substance, material in the body. Harder than human bone. He testifies that it is extremely hard, yet also brittle nad will shatter. 9:50 am Brunon enters the courtroom and sits beside Rachelle in the front row. Jackson asks the witness if in his opinion the muzzle flip of the gun caused the crowns to shatter. That's about all Jackson asks, and Polurd tries to redirect his witness. Anselmo admits that he doesn't know anything about "muzzle flip, and that's it for the teeth guy.
There now is a bit of confusion in the courtroom as to which witness the defense is going to call next. Several court clerks or interns come in and immediately start taking notes. Next up: Stuart James. Linda Kenney Baden directs her witness. As we soon find out, Stuart James is a consulting forensic specialist. This is the second blood stain analysis expert the defense calls as a stand in for Dr. Lee. Unfortunately for the defense, he's not a doctor, he doesn't even have his masters, he just has a bachelor's degree. He's basically a hired gun who gives classes, lectures to other academics who are actually in the field. And, he wrote a book with his business partner. Rosen turns his chair completey around and discusses something intently with Plourd.
I look over at Steven (who writes these great pieces on the trial for the LA Weekly) and he looks soooooo bored. Rachelle is having a hard time keeping her eyes open. I can't imagine she enjoys being here. Brunon has a notepad on his lap and is takin notes. Plourd is flipping through some papers and a thick stack of files. A juror yawns and I yawn reflexively. Beth Karas enters the courtroom and takes her usual seat by the camera operators. She has on this gorgeous sea foam suit and matching knit top. It goes perfect with her blond hair.
As the "expert" (cough) talks on and on about his books and taching, CCA keeps shaking his head. CCA says his educaton was in tiny third and fourth rate schools and he mostly taught others. It's 10:25 am, and Linda Kenney Baden is still going over his CIV! Rashelle is still struggling with staying awake~maybe she was up late last nght~and her arms are crossed over her chest. One juror appears to be a bit jittery wile this expert is going on and on. The juror is shaking the foot of their crossed leg and twiddling their pen. The witness tries to engage the jury, but I don't see, at least from my perspective that they are hanging on every word like they were with Dr. Herold. The jurors don't appear to be taking much in the way of notes.
Two salt and pepper haired gentlement come into court. One sits on the defense site, The other manages to find a seat in the back row on the end. I watch Beth scribbling notes as fast as she can. She has an ear piece connected to her blackberry and is usually on it, but now, she is taking extensive hand written notes. Maybe she is writing down what someone is communicating to her over her blackberry. Another somber faced gentleman with pepperd hair in a blue suit enters the courtroom.
Finally, the morning break is called, and Jackson speaks with Stuart James about blood spatter. I try to make a guess about the men who came in after court started. At first, they didn't look like friends of Spector; I thought they might be more investigators. But later, I change my mind and think that they might be. Jackson compliments Dominick on his "power tie" he's wearing today, and say's he might want to borrow it. From my understanding, Dominick's tie collection is legendary. I agree with Alan, it definitely is a power tie. I overhear a bit of gossip about Spector's former assistant. She had six kids with four different men.
11:05 am and we are back on the record. When the jurors reenter the courtroom, juror #6 goes over to the witness stand and fixes the microphone! I actually miss this bit of juror activity because I'm trying to quickly read something Dominick has asked me to look at and give back to him. I find James' testimony boring. All this testimony about what he teaches...who sporkin' cares? What has he actually done in the field? How long has it been since he's worked an actual case?
It appears that Court TV has actually located the shelf at the university where Henry Lee's original dissertation rests on. Yep. That's it. The shelf location, lol! However, they are so short staffed over at Court TV, they can't send someone over there to go get a copy. We find out that with graphs and diagrams, it's only ninety-nine pages. CCA says that most are at least three hundred pages. Personally, I wouldn't know.
CCA leans into me and says exactly what I've been thinking. How many crime scenes has James processed? When the witness testifies that the proper procedure is to cut out the carpet and take it back to the laboratory, I lean into Dominick and say, "This is all BS!" HE smiles and chuckles. I look around behind me and I see I've missed Sandi Gibbons entering the courtroom. James then says that, ~as if it's of any importance! "My lab preceded ASCLAD." (This is the governing body that sets standards and certifications for crime labs across the US).
AJ looks to me like he's lost weight. I bet the number of hours he putting into this case are astronomical. I see Plourd motion to Rachelle and she leans in to hear what he has to say. Detective Tomlin enters the courtroom and sits in the back row. I'm so bored. I just decide I'm not going to write another note until AJ's cross, but then, Rosen gets up to pass a note to Linda Kenney Baden. So, I decide to watch the jurors. Most in the back row are leaning back in their chairs and a few are rocking. There is a spatter image on the chair and a few jurors are leaning forward now to see better.
A man with wavy white hair enters and sits along the back row. It's a different one that the usual one I've seen who comes in to support Spector. This guy has on a very bright yellow shirt covered with small images of fruit. Now there is something new on the Elmo! It's a photo of all the defense experts examining the jacket at possibly the ME's crime lab. There's Dr. Lee in the photo, and I wonder if this is all that the jury will see of Dr. Lee. CCA writes me a note: The defense experts are all quoting each other. Ten minutes to go. Seven minutes to go.
Steven took off at the last break after asking a question of Chris Plourd. Steven not only covers the high profile celebrity crimes beat, he also does local theatre reviews. Five minutes to go. It so quiet between exhibits, we can hear the clock ticking. Someone from the DA's office comes in and sits beside Sandi Gibbons. The clacking of the keys on the laptops seems louder than usual today. Finally! Judge Fidler calls the lunch hour three minutes early. Before we even exit for lunch, CCA wishes he could cross examine James himself. Dixon and Rosen are at the bench, but it doesn't seem to be something that is on the record, because the court reporter is not recording what they are saying. The fruit shirt guy is talking to the bodyguards. I finally ask Ciaran where I can read his coverage online. He says that local NBC channel 4 usually has his stuff, but it's without a byline. Other local papers will also have his coverage without a byline such as the Whittier News and the Pasadena City News.
Finally back in the courtroom, I hear the last part of a conversation where Rosen is saying to someone in a joking manner, "I don't want to cause any trouble," and Dominick who is just entering the room says, "I do!" Rosen and CCA exchanged quips about the rain we had this morning and how it is pouring in New York right now. Dominick asks me, "Did you know that Michael Bay is John Frankenheimer's son?" And of course, I don't know this, because I don't follow Hollywood or this type of news. Dominick reads the various web blogs I've printed out for him. He tells me that when he went to see an episode of "Jury Duty" being filmed, that they were already taping their 65th episode. I find that amazing. CCA chats with Peter Y. Hong for a bit and the rest of us wait for court to start. CCA confirms for me that the "name for the area of the court where the attorneys are is called "the well" of the court. I had always wondered what the term was.
The regular white haired guy is back and the two guys from this morning are now all sitting together and chatting in the second row of the defense area. Fawn's friend is here for the afternoon session. I've seen her at the Red Line station. CCA gets the family attorneys to sign a copy of their wrongful death filing he got off the net. Looking on over at Spector, I see he is currently animatedly talking to Cutler. His eyes are wide open and his arms are moving about, and then he places his hands on his cheeks. CCA points out to me that AJ has a marked up copy of Stuart James' book at the prosecution table. The courtroom is empty compared to the morning session. " Talk about blood spatter, and you sure can empty a room," CCA says.
We're finally back on the record, and Linda Kenney Baden continues with the direct examination of Stuart James. I give myself a mental note to get more notebooks. Rachelle talks to a man I don't recognize who is sitting in the first row. Maybe it's another defense expert or a defense assistant. The defense is now up to "10" A's for their exhibits. that means it's the 234th document/exhibit that the defense has presented. This group of jurors are usually quite stoic, and are often hard to read. Currently, they don't look like they are hanging on the witnesses words. That could be because they've heard way more about blood spatter than they would ever want to know by now. A juror coughs, and the judge looks over to ensure everything is alright with them.
I see the person by Rachelle is taking notes. So this must be someone who works for the defense team. Several jurors are leaning back and stretched out, getting comfortable in their seats. I didn't need my sweater. It was just right in 106 this morning. Detective Tomlin exits the courtroom. A tall young man comes in right after with what looks like to be a thick wad of appears and he takes a seat by the door against the wall. It's 2:00 pm. Linda Kenney Baden is finally done with the direct of James, and Jackson gets up to cross.
Someone with two young kids, preteens or just barely teen boys, are sitting in the back row by the door. A juror looks out at the gallery and has a smile/laugh when the witness bumps the microphone. Spector is slumped in his chair. Elbows on the arm rests, hands interclasped and resting in front of his face. The two guys who came in this morning and sat on the defense side leave. Jackson uses a new green laser pointer and says, "Birthday present." Judge Fidler gets a smile on his face and shakes his head.
AJ then leans in and tells the family about photos that he's going to put up on the Elmo. Fawn closes her eyes and Mrs. Clarkson looks down. And for some reason, as I see these photos of Lana again, my eyes start to well up with tears and I feel quite sad.
Another trial watcher, a rather large woman who's been here once before enters the courtroom and sits beside Linda Deutsch. Last time I saw this woman in court, she was sitting right behind Fawn and actually leaned into her to ask her a question. I was quite surprised because all the accredited press knows to not approach the family.
Those two kids are still sitting against the back wally and have obviously been "parked" in the courtroom. Since I no longer see the woman who was squatting down beside them for a moment when they first came in, I'm wondering where the boys parent/guardian went, and why in the world she would park them in a 9th floor courtroom, where all the cases are murder cases. Beyond me. 2:40 pm, Detective Tomlin comes back in the courtroom and five minutes later, the afternoon break is called.
CCA finds out from Peter Y. Hong that Henry Lee's dissertation was on E. Coli. At 3:05 pm, the jury reenters the courtroom and we go back on the record. Dominick and I talk a bit about the jurors. There is one juror who we think is a real gentleman. Dominick thinks he has the "air or aristocracy" about him. This is the juror who always hold the little gate door for the rest of the jurors to walk through when they enter or exit the courtroom. Regarding the blood stains on the chair (that James thinks is going on about right now) CCA feels that the padding on the arm of the chair would absorb the blood, and not be the source of the spatter that James testifies could be satellite spatter. The courtroom is even more empty now, and the kids have been picked up. Rachelle is now sitting alone on the defense side and Brunon has been missing since I think the morning break.
I've never seen a witness tap dance around something so obvious as committing to where Lana Clarkson's head was in relation to the chair. Oh Goody. He actually commits to her head being over her body. I have to commend Ciaran, a very serious and competent reporter. He's taking copious notes all through this crap. Dominick and I barely write a thing. A few jurors look out at the gallery. The most important part of the cross is, that Jackson gets James to place the white jacket within two feet of the face of Lana Clarkson. Back on redirect, Ms. Baden asks questions about the arm of the jacket, and if it could be in a strange over the head position, and her witness readily agrees. Jackson recrosses James with one or two questions and then finally at 3:30 pm, this witness is off the stand.
The prosecution now presents their last witness for their case, Detective Tomlin, and Dixon performs the direct examination. Tomlin states that he was in control of the evidence. Rosen takes notes at the defense table. This is all about the lost piece of evidence by Henry Lee. Tomlin is here to get the final nail in the coffin that the prosecution never received this missing evidence. At first, I think this is foundation for Stan White, and they are still going to try to call him. Tomlin states that they didn't receive anything that looked like a small white object with irregular edges. He also states that he didn't receive any tape recordings from Tawni Tyndall either. Dixion has no more questions, and Plourd gets up to cross Tomlin.
First off, Plourd is asking something about the piece of carpet that was collected by the defense team. Are they really goin in the right direction by questioning the fact that the criminalists didn't collect the carpet? This is so sad this cross. Tomlin puts it into persepective by saying that they try their best not to tear up people's homes when they collect evidence. As I look back towards the courtroom door, I see waht I think is a sheriff's face, peeking through the tiny window in the door. Plourd is done with his cross, and Jackson redirects.
Q: You were present when the house was turned over (to the defense)?
Q: Were they wearing booties?
Q: Did you ever get that small white object?
There's no recross, and the prosecution rests, without calling Stan White. The jury is finally excused, and there is a bit of court business that has to be dealt with. Since there already was a dark morning scheduled for Tuesday, all parties agree that this would be a good time for the defense to present their standard eleven eighteen motion to dismiss. This is a standard motion that happens at the end of the prosecutions CIC, and it's all done for any possible appellate issues. It's thought that this will only take an hour, so court is adjourned until 11:00 am tomorrow. I decide that I don't really need to see this, and will just come for the afternoon session. CCA and I take the Red Line home. The time goes by quickly as we discusss the merits of the case and how boring the testimony was today.
Once I get a seat on the Orange Line bus, one of the things I wonder about is, how does the family sit in front of me day in and day out? How did they tolerate those two supposedly "friends" of Lana lie and lie and lie about their loved one? How in the world were they able to sit there, through all that wretched crap the Pie and Jennifer Hayes Riedl spewed? Would I have been able to sit there, if I were ever, somehow in their shoes?
It's like I so wanted them to make a demonstraton of sorts. To stand up in the middle of it all, and turn their backs on the Pie (and/or Jennifer) and walk out. Or release a statement to the press through their attorney. Say something in response to how Lana was slandered on the stand. I don't know that I would be able to remain silent, but then again, I am not living their pain. I know ther are some who feel that it's "not right" that Donna Clarkson and her daughter sit beside their attorney's every day in court. But personally, I find it hard to fault them for that. They've chosen not to speak to the media and that is their right. I see their attorneys as more of an insulation between themselves and the press, and maybe, if I was in their shoes, I would want the same thing. So it's hard for me to put a judgement on that decision.
I almost forgot. I would like to give a shout out to a blogger in London, England, Anthony Samuelson. Anthony blogs about his life and interests. He took a break during some of the trial but lately, he is back to including coverage of the Spector trial. His blog is called, The Life and Times of Anthony Samuelson. Please stop by and take a look.