Friday, August 31, 2007
It will be completed over the next several days.
It was a Court TV poster LegalViewer, who said in an email to me, something that brought me back to one of the reasons that I dedicated four months of my life to this trial.
Remember, you, Dini and the others are their "community support." Keep up your support for the Clarkson's.
As much as I'm enjoying all the participation by the Court TV members in the caption contest, (the entries I've received so far will be posted soon for everyone to enjoy) I myself needed to be brought back to why we are here in the first place. Lana.
On that note, I thought I would remind everyone who Lana was, through the words of her friend that she had for over 20 years, Nili Hudson, and her print ad agent, Nick Terzian. This is not a verbatim, exact transcript of highlights of their testimony, but it's very close.
Nili's friendship with Lana began when they were both in their late teens, and continued until Lana's death.
During the summer of 1981, Lana and her friend Gwendolyn, were young beautiful aspiring actresses, who moved in, I believe at the house next door. And then, immediately Lana and I connected, and that's when our friendship began.
(We were) As close and as intimate and as best of friends as anybody could imagine being. Over twenty-one years we traveled, we lived together as roommates, on three or four occasions in different homes. We celebrated each others birthdays. I used to spend Christmas with her family because I'm Jewish. So, I didn't have much to do on Christmas Day, or we'd go to the movies. And, so through the 20 some odd years that we were friends we spent a significant amount of our time together.
The parallels between our businesses (Nili has been in real estate since she was 21), were far more than anyone would imagine. We had to get out there every day and pound the pavement. I was selling myself as a realtor, and selling homes; she was selling herself as an actress and a performer. And, we both got rejection, and we both lived check to check. And, neither of us got a salary in between those checks. When we hit it big, it was big. We would be each other's cheering section. She's just call and say, "I booked a commercial," and I'd sold a house and we'd scream on the phone. It was just, the parallels were quite remarkable. It was remarkable how similar our lives, as a result of being in those careers were.
She would book something, and I'd be one of the first people she would call. "I got it! I got the commercial!" And I'd be screaming for her, "YEAH!" And I'd call her and say, "I got a great client! We sold a house today, three million dollars," and she would scream for me. Same thing. We'd meet a great guy, we'd call each other and say, "I met the most wonderful guy." I mean, that's what we did. We were each others cheering section. We had this mutual admiration society. For twenty years it was like that. It never really changed.
Was Lana close with my mother? Absolutely. She even lived with my mother, when I no longer lived in the house. She was my family, and I believe I was a part of her family.
In the more recent years, prior to Lana passing away, she started booking some remarkable national commercials. K-Mart. She became the spokesperson for Route 66 jeans. I would guess in '97, '98 (she got that campaign). It was phenomenal. It launched a new era for her. (An image is put up on the Elmo.) That's Lana any myself with Paul Newman at Ontario Raceway, Speedway (for a K-Mart campaign).
Lana landed some other national commercials for Budwiser, Playtex and Mercedes. There was an enormous shift in her career around '97-'98. I watched and experienced this shift with her. Lana understood that what was making her successful in her earlier years, was her beauty....coupled with her talent. She was, an ingenue. She was, the gorgeous arm candy. Those were the kind of roles she was getting. She acknowledged that at some point in her mid thirties, that she wasn't booking as many as those types of parts. She started exploring, and discovered she had a talent for comedy. She started pursuing this, comedic avenue. And this is where the shift came. And it was, brilliant, what she started doing. What I observed, was this remarkable, shift from, "Okay, I'm not going to be the cute, gorgeous blond ingenue, ~in terms of my career and not getting those roles~ where can I take, what level can I take my career now to?" She started exploring comedy, and she started performing at the comedy store.
I saw her perform at The Comedy Store. I was astounded, that she had the....courage....to do this. It takes years to build up that kind of repertoire. She did it day one. She just said, "I'm going to do it." She got on stage, and started performing comedy, and that's when she started booking comedic roles. This K-Mart commercial was a comedic role. The Budwiser commercial was a comedic role. And it was just this unbelievable new avenue for her. The Budwiser commercial was the one where they meet another couple... and there was some animal that talked.
Was she driven with respect to her career? Did she care about it deeply? Remarkably. Astoundingly. (As Nili was with her real estate career.) And we shared that and talked about that. About the same time, there was a big shift in her personal life. Lana was, from the day she came to Los Angeles, a part of this community. She was in love with the idea of, doing what she did, and being a part of the community, and networking, and socializing.....and for many, many years, this is what she did. She was a member of the Hollywood community in that sense. The lifestyle she had, in addition to pursuing her career, was, a social lifestyle. At some point, around this same time, she decided that she really wanted to...take it down a notch. And she kind of wanted to go inward a little bit, and, slow down. She pursued.....she became more spiritual. She started going to church. She was going to Self Realization Center every Sunday. She had decided to just sort of, um, kind of refresh, and regroup. And that's where this shift happened and she stopped drinking for a while. She stopped eating meat. She was just getting super healthy.
During the period of time that you knew Lana, was networking for want of a better term in the Hollywood community important to her? Overwhelmingly. And prior to this shift, that networking included going to parties. Her change in focus and how she networked happened around '97, '98. She wasn't doing the evening, party scene the way she used to. It doesn't mean she never did. She would dip her toes in the water from time to time, but it wasn't something she was doing on a regular basis. And these were things that we talked about all the time.
A photo is put up on the Elmo of Lana and Nili, and Lana is still in those "halos" from breaking her wrists. Nili explains the photo. That's Lana and myself. It's on the canals, the Venice canals, out in front of her house. It would be....I know the halos are still on, so I would say it was in, uh, 2002, the spring of 2002, early 2002. When Nili heard about Lana's accident. I was skiing. I was away on vacation, so I don't know if I heard about it the next day, or a day later. Or if I heard about it shortly there after, and then returned home of course. But I was out of town when it happened.
I heard that she was at a Christmas party, celebrating, and that she was dancing with some kids. A carpet went out from under her, and she fell back. And when she went to support herself, she crushed her wrists. This totally affected her career. For six months, she had a day nurse, and she was relegated to her house. She couldn't drive. It did have a significant affect on her ability to function as a human being, in addition to working. (Nili visited her often.) About the same time, right before this time, Lana worked on a video.
Linda & Bruce's Mexican Hat Dance
Jennifer & The Pie Dance Around the Truth
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Before I get into my story, I need to make some acknowledgements. Harriet Ryan, the Court TV blogger inside the courtroom got engaged over this past weekend. I would like to extend "Best Wishes" to Harriet and her fiance. Next, a belated shout out to Anthony Samuelson for concentrating his entire Saturday, August 25th entry on me. Thank You, Anthony. And, another very belated Thank You to Mick Brown of the UK Daily Telegraph, for mentioning me in his August 21st piece. I've tried and tried to get a direct link to the article to work, but Blogger is frustrating me at every turn. I'm using the same link that Kim, of The Darwin Exception used for her piece, and I just can't get it to work for me. However, you can go to Kim's entry I've linked above, and get to the article from there.
Second, a big thank you to all the Court TV posters who have been emailing me and sending me private messages (PM's) about my decision to walk away from the trial. Your support has been heartfelt and wonderful to hear, and I apologize that I am now a week behind in answering all my messages you have sent. Please know that I'm not ignoring you, and as soon as I can, I will write back.
Third, a shout out to a great Court TV poster, Dig, who shared with us this oh-my-gawd image of Linda Kenney Baden and Spector at the trial. Kudos to the pool photographer who captured this image. I challenge my readers to come up with the best caption for this photo. There will be a prize: Acknowledgement on the blog as "Best Caption Writer" for the week.
I've been gathering my thoughts for over a week now, to write about what has happened to other public individuals like me, who have attended high profile trials and written about them, either on blogs or the Court TV message board. I found some common themes, and I thought it would be interesting to point them out. I have to say that, unfortunately, not one individual wanted to have their Court TV member name used in this story, much less their real names. I agreed to protect all identities as best I could, just to get this story out there. Please understand that if you decide to leave a comment on the blog about this entry, and you identify a Court TV member hat name or real life name involved, your comment will not be published.
The Scott Peterson Trial
Scott Peterson wasn't any one famous, but the sudden disappearance of his very pregnant wife, Laci Peterson, created a media frenzy that continued long after he was convicted of first degree murder. During the Peterson trial, the Internet crime forums swelled with new members wanting to learn more about this case and talk about it with other interested people. Because the trial was not televised and under a gag order, the pubic could only rely on the media, and other public individuals who vied for one of the coveted seats, and took the extra step to write about what they observed. Many people waited anxiously for any report on the proceedings inside the courtroom, specifically wanting information on how the jurors were responding to testimony as well as what went on in the gallery. The interest that the general public had was so intense, that many people across various crime forums pooled their financial resources to purchase a daily transcript of the trial. It was offered to anyone willing to pay the $10.00 a month subscription. Users were given their own password to read the transcripts on a web site as they became available. The publics' demand for information inside the courtroom, ignited this new and unprecedented form of information gathering and sharing.
At the time, I was not a regular poster on the Court TV forums. There were however, several Court TV posters and a blogger or two, who made the trip to Redwood City several times to try to get a public seat at the trial. From what I've been told, there was a lottery everyday for the public, and there were always more people wanting to get in to see the trial than there were available seats. Interestingly, it was at the Redwood City Courthouse that a regular trial attendee named Valerie Harris, initially met Daniel Horowitz, who first came to prominence as a frequent Court TV legal analyst covering the trial. Harris, who had no legal training whatsoever, later volunteered her services to Horowitz when he was Susan Polk's defense attorney. When Horowitz's wife Pamela Vitale was brutally murdered, Harris stayed on to assist Susan Polk after a mistrial was called in the first proceeding.
There were two beloved Court TV women posters, who went to Redwood City several times to attend this trial and write about it on the Court TV message boards. Whenever they got a seat at the trial, they wrote about what they observed on their laptops from inside the courtroom. They had lots of fans, which in turn brought out many detractors. Both women got sucked into the vortex of that trial, although it was never their intention to be dragged into it. Here's what happened.
In August of 2004, on one trip to Redwood City, neither one of the women got a seat in the public lottery. Instead of a wasted trip, they decided to drive around to the various points of interest in the trial, such as the San Francisco Bay, Scott Peterson's warehouse, and the Peterson home in Modesto. From the comfort of their car, one of the women took many photographs of these points of interest, including several of the house and the driveway. When they got back home from their trip, the 50 plus images were put up on the Internet using a photobucket account, and a link posted on the Court TV forums for everyone to see the photos. In a few of the last images taken, one could clearly see in the driveway, a half used bag of cement. For those of you who think the DA's office or the local Sheriff's don't have the time or the staff to read the message boards, think again. The local Sheriff's office saw the photos and realized that these images were potential evidence that could be used to refute the defense's expert who testified on the cement. This information was passed onto the DA's office. The woman who actually took the photos was subpoenaed for the State's rebuttal case to authenticate the photographs. Gloria Alred, who was covering the trial as a legal analyst, offered to assist her and her friend as their legal counsel pro bono. Alred has made a name for herself by only performing pro bono work.
The women traveled together back to Redwood City for the photo taker's day in court. At the last minute, Mark Geragos, Peterson's lead defense attorney stipulated that the photographs were authentic and taken on the specific date the women said they were taken, thus alleviating the photographer from having to take the stand. Both women were, at times, harassed and threatened by other trial attendees throughout the trial. There were many unfounded accusations that were publicly made about them too, all of which I will not dignify by repeating them. They were completely outrageous. It should also be noted that ever since they were thrust into the limelight of this trial, they were also harassed on the Court TV message boards, and eventually stopped participating there altogether.
The Susan Polk Trial
In the Susan Polk trial, there were several Court TV forum members (collectively known as the "gavel groupies") who attended that trial on a regular basis and posted about it on the Court TV Susan Polk Forum. Once Polk decided to defend herself, Valerie Harris actually sat at the defense table with her. As part of the Polk defense, Harris was continually reading the Court TV message boards and bringing Court TV members post's to Susan. These posts were quoted throughout the trial as part of the defense strategy or, to make accusations towards some of the trial attendees in open court, clearly trying to intimidate them. Harris also participated on the Court TV message boards, posing as an impartial trial watcher trying to sway public opinion.
At one point in the trial, Polk pointed out one of the gavel groupies who had written something in jest about her. Judge Brady permanently ejected the Court TV poster from the courtroom. Brady then informed Polk and Harris that she could not control what the media, the newspapers or what someone writes on a message board. Still, that Court TV poster was just as embarrassed as I was when I was singled out in the Spector trial and falsely accused. Even more outrageous, Harris threatened the Court TV poster personally. Harris also gave a tour of the Polk house to some individuals who attended the trial, some of whom were posters on the Court TV message boards.
The Scott Dyleski Trial
At this time I have only received evidence that a few Court TV posters attended the Dyleski trial, but there may be more. Scott Dyleski was convicted of murdering Pamela Vitale, the wife of Daniel Horowitz. It should also be noted that Daniel Horowitz's current wife, who was almost a juror on the Polk trial, attended at least one of the Dyleski pretrial hearings with Harris. It's been verified by Esther Fielding that there was a public attendee at her son's trial who caused so much of an uproar in the gallery that they were actually called into the Judge's chambers. The consensus is, the individual was admonished for their behavior in chambers, verses publicly in the courtroom.
The Phil Spector Trial
Just in case anyone skipped over the fact, Roger Rosen made the following statement in open court, in a further attempt to try to get the Judge to eject me from the courtroom or, as many believe, intimidate me. This occurred right at the morning break, on Thursday, August 16, after I had already been publicly admonished by the Judge as the first order of business of the day. Special thanks to Court TV poster, kellabeck for the transcription.
RR: 15 seconds, your honor. It's been brought to my attention that some of the individuals who are covering the trial uh have directed some derogatory comments toward Mrs. Spector. And the family has asked me to bring this to the court's attention. The court can handle it any way it seems fit but it just seems to me-- you used a phrase a moment ago, we've got to get beyond this and I think there's just no room for that in this situation.
JF: I think I handled it. I wasn't told what the nature of the comments was. I was simply told that some people were expressing their opinions and that the jurors could overhear it and that's why I made the admonition I did so I think I have dealt with it.
RR: Thank you very much.
JF: If there's anything else, you let me know. We're in recess.
I'm sure you can easily see the common thread running through most of these trials that was similar to the situation I experienced. Just like me, Court TV posters attended these high profile trials, wrote about them on the Court TV message boards and were somehow sucked into the vortex of the trial they attended through various means. There is another common thread that connects all of these trials that is not readily apparent to most people. And that is, W attended every single one of these trials. Yep. That's correct. While I was at the Spector trial, it was verified to me by two Court TV employees that W was at both the Peterson and Polk trials. I also received confirmation vial email, that W also attended parts of the Dyleski trial.
It has also been confirmed to me by various Court TV members, that W was a big presence on the Court TV forums that covered each trial, using several different member names on each board. In private messages to dini, W professed to be a personal friend of Valerie Harris. Who knows if that is true, or just W's perception of the relationship, or if this is a total invention to inflate W's self importance in the eyes of others. There are varying opinions as to how this individual was perceived on each one of the Court TV forums that discussed a case. It's also been confirmed to me that W's behavior at these other trials, mirrored precisely the behavior that I observed at the Spector trial. W consistently approached major players in each case, as well as those reporting on the trial. I think I need to point out that I found obvious evidence that under various member names on the Court TV message board, W often adopted the majority's position as to guilt or innocence of a particular defendant. Yet behind the scenes, unbeknownst to some members, there appears to be some evidence that W's allegiance was just the opposite. One has to wonder about the ultimate intent of this type of subterfuge.
You need to look no further than TV, the film industry and the best seller lists to understand that the general public will continue to have a fascination with murder, and murder trials. Like anything else that is reported on by the media, there will be the slightly bizarre characters who will also be drawn to these trials, desperately seeking their own 15 minutes, or gathering material, hoping to write a book and increase their tax bracket. My question would be, how can the courts balance the general publics' right to attend these trials, and at the same time, prevent the fringe element from using a murder trial to possibly disrupt the proceedings for their own self serving agenda.
Special thanks to my dear friend houdini, who helped extensively with the research and writing of this entry.
Update: Friday, August 31, 2:30pm
I was contacted via pm today by a Court TV poster who attended the Dyleski trial, who disagrees with Ms. Fielding about what happened in the courtroom during Scott Dyleski's trial. Thank you very much for contacting me. I received permission to quote the poster:
I attended all three weeks of the Scott Dyleski trial in Martinez. The judge did publicly chastise a court attendee (a retired schoolteacher) for talking too loudly. However, I know of no incident that "caused so much of an uproar in the gallery that they were actually called into the judge's chambers." You should not take anything that Esther Fielding says as the truth. She is the mother of the convicted murderer Scott Dyleski. More than that, she outright lied in court during her testimony. She also destroyed evidence by burning Scott's possessions, instead of turning them to the police.
The retired schoolteacher who was publicly admonished by Judge Barbara Zuniga (a magnificent judge; you would have liked her) did not post on CTV, as far as I know. Also, she was admonished NOT for speaking too loudly in court, but for talking loudly about the trial during lunch in a small restaurant near the courthouse WITHIN EARSHOT OF 2 JURY MEMBERS, both women, who then reported the incident to the sheriff deputy posted to the courtroom.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
From the way the Court TV personalities were talking about it this morning, they could barely contain themselves. I've always been quite impressed with Beth Karas's professionalism. If it was me, I'd be, like I am now, rolling on the floor laughing my arse off!
Court TV's Harriet Ryan's reporting on the emails.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
The "AHA" Moment came from the Sabow Case
Dr. Baden has made a living in filling in the blanks needed by a defense team in order to convince a jury that the science supports who ever hired the Dr. Actually, it is my view that Baden and the defense team actually replicated a case including a marine called Sabow. Sabow's death was claimed to be a suicide based on an intraoral gun shot, while Sabow's brother, a doctor, argued vigoursly that Sabow was killed by another person. That defense was borrowed from a case in Alabama were a defendant was found guilty of murder after claiming the victim killed themselves with a gun shot. IN the Alabama case, the defense claimed not enough blood spatter, no GSM on the hands and clothes, the body had too much blood in the lungs, etc.
In the Sabow case, there was a slumped body with heavily filled lungs, a competely cut spinal cord, blood spatter where was not expected to be, no real GMS on the defendant's hands, etc. Dr. Sabow eventually filled a report to the US Government claiming "cover up". I believe some member of the defense team found that case, and "scripted" the "aha" moment. It matches almost word for word what was included in Dr. Sabow's report about his brother's death.
Strange thing, an expert, Dr. Norby was the defense expert in both cases.
here are two murder cases that involve intra oral gunshot:
The first one I found to be quite interesting considering the boyfriend pulled the gun and put it to the girl's mouth two weeks previous.
A few pages later, dini quoted hockeymomof5's post, urging everyone to read the links. Here is her post.
WHOA HOH!!! man, everyone needs to go and read the second link. VDM is mentioned.
HOWEVER, the entire report is textbook for this case. it involves an intraoral 12 gauge shotgun "suicide" that will freak you out!!
i swear whole passages have been lifted from this report and superimposed onto this case.
the guy who is refuting the bogus conclusions is a doctor and the brother of the guy who supposedly killed himself.
it is a long read, but very, very worthwhile.
"the shotgun blast destroyed the brain stem. it was severed. All functions below the level of destruction from the spinal cord were immediately lost. every nerve to every muscle fiber that could expand the lungs were immediately paralyzed."
"not a gasp could occur. heart function, breathing and blood pressure control were immediately lost."
I then started to think about the timing of the post by hockeymomof5 to the actual trial. Were there any links? The post was made on July 30th and dini quoted it a few hours later. The very next day, Monday July 31st, during the afternoon session, the defense announces it will be resting it's CIC, without calling Dr. Baden! We are all stunned that the defense may be wrapping up their case sooner than expected. Dr. Baden was in Los Angeles over the weekend, why are they not calling him? Although the defense is going to bring on a few more witnesses, they don't have any more for the day. This move forces the prosecution to start their rebuttal case earlier than expected, and without the defense resting their CIC. At the end of the week, Thursday, August 2nd, Linda Kenney Baden is not in court at the defense table. Spector stands up in court to address the Judge and ask the Judge to delay the trial because his "point person" Linda Kenney Baden is ill. Spector goes on to say that "she explains everything that goes on strategically, and that she handles all the defense. Her position is unique among the defense," and that he needs her. The Judge denies Spector's request saying, "Sorry. We will go forward." Also on that day, it appeared to me that the defense was trying everything it could to delay or even abort all together the prosecution's rebuttal witness, Nili Hudson, who was flying out of Los Angeles that evening, to start her vacation in Fiji.
Fast forward two weeks later, and Dr. Baden is back in California, to testify as part of the defense's CIC. Like a child who is holding back on some mischievous revelation to be brought forth, Chris Plourd gets Dr. Baden's AHA moment, revealed to everyone in the courtroom while he is on the stand. For the first time ever, the Judge and the prosecution hears his new theory on how Lana could have been breathing after the spinal transection, explaining to the court that he "just had this epiphany" a few days ago. No one really believes him, and no one, not even the Judge buys the excuses the defense gives for this blatant discovery violation. Later, the rest of the defense team appears to throw Chris Plourd under the proverbial bus, by trying to distance themselves from any involvement in this latest violation.
My question is this. What caused the defense to change their minds and bring Dr. Baden back to California? What? Could it be, that someone who was getting lots and lots of rest in their hotel room, have been up reading the Internet for any details they could find on intra-oral gunshot wound cases? Hum? Don't kid yourself. Defense and prosecutors (or at least their clerks and representatives) read the Court TV message boards when their case is ongoing. I may just be chasing wabbits here seeing connections where there are none, but I found the coincidence of the sequence of events striking, taking into consideration the fact that LegalViewer feels that Dr. Baden's AHA moment came directly from the Sabow case. It certainly is something to think about.
Friday, August 24, 2007
First off, I want to say that there are a few more entries yet to come covering the trial. I still have to finish my entry on the jury's visit to the Castle, as well as my trial coverage for August 13th through the 15h. Hopefully, I plan to get up at some time, a detailed comparison of Ms. Caplan's testimony the first time she was on the stand at the evidentiary hearing, to when she finally testified in front of the jury. I think having those two events typed out in written form for comparison would be interesting. Last, there are some days back in July that I totally missed getting an entry up. That will happen now that I am, as Kim of The Darwin Exception would say, "...a lady of leisure..." again. So please watch for these entries over the next coming weeks. Additionally, CCA is still attending the trial and if he gets in, I will ask him to do a guest entry on the days events if he's feeling up to it.
Although I've received a ton of emails at my blog and posts of support on the Court TV message board for my decision to leave the courtroom, ~and I'm still trying to respond to it all~ the professional reporters who sort of adopted me and treated me like a colleague are quite dismayed with my decision to stop attending the trial. Seeing as how even my husband had difficulty understanding my decision ~no husband is perfect, lol, as much as their wives would like them to be~ I thought that I would try to shed a little bit more light on my decision making process, and the goals and values I had and still do, regarding attending this trial.
From the very onset, my goal was to attend as much of the trial as my work schedule would permit. As attending the trial became more interesting, and the various players in the well and behind the scenes in the gallery more fascinating, I altered my work schedule even more so that I wouldn't miss seeing Alan Jackson perform a brilliant cross examination. From the very beginning, I never had any expectation that I would get to observe closing arguments or even the verdict. At the Blake trial, it was the luck of the public lottery that I got in for both events, and I fully expected it to be the same for this case. I wanted to write about attending this trial because I'm part of an increasing community of crime forum users (and now bloggers), that discuss true crime, current trials and past unsolved crimes on the Internet. I wanted to share my experience with my fellow true crime followers, because this is a normal part of my day and life long interests. I never thought in a million years that writing about my experiences at this trial would get any notice outside of this select community.
Much to my surprise, it did. I never asked Steven Mikulan to include me in any of his articles. Certainly I was flattered when he told me he wanted to include a little blurb about me, and I told my immediate family when it came out online. Understand, that was his decision alone to include my blogging about the trial in one of his weekly pieces. Additionally, I never asked Mr. Dunne to mention me in Vanity Fair. He called me, wanting to get the details correct about when Louis Spector came to court, and how I "knew" him. I also helped him to remember what exactly happened right after I introduced him to Louis at the morning break. When he talked to me, I thought my name might be mentioned, but he never told me it would. When Mick Brown came to court on August 13th, he introduced himself to me, told me he read my blog, and asked for my email address. I believed I blushed a bit, and it was all I could do to shake his hand and say, "It's an honor to meet you." The man is So Dreamy. He was thinking of writing an article on the bloggers covering the trial. Unlike W, I did not go up to him the minute he arrived on the 9th floor, and attempt to glue myself to him for the rest of the morning. Truth is, I didn't know what he looked like. For the longest time I had him confused with Carlton Smith, another Spector book author who has often been in court. It was Mr. Dunne who had to correct my ignorance, informing me that Mick was a personal friend of his. Although I don't know for sure, I bet Dominick passed on more than a few words about W to Mick when they had lunch together that day.
I have had several critics on the Court TV Phil Spector Forum boards. You can read this thread, (hopefully it will still be there, by the time this entry gets up) to get a flavor of some of my critics, and what they complain about. From the very start, I tried my best to ignore them at court and on the message boards, and rarely if ever, engaged in any posting exchange with them. I would put their member names on "ignore," which meant that when I would read the boards, their posts would not appear for me. I had no interest in reading their negativity towards me. It became obvious to me that jealousy was fueling these attacks, because they coveted the relationship that Mr. Dunne had developed with me, and were envious of the attention I was getting on the Court TV Phil Spector message board, and in the press.
Every since I had the experience of attending the Blake trial, I have always been cognizant of where I sat, in relation to the jury. It was during Blake that I learned how important being silent around them was, because a People Magazine reporter almost caused a mistrial. That's one of the things I vividly remember, was the Judge having this woman dragged into the courtroom and admonished. In the beginning of this trial, I actually was sitting closer to the jury than I did months later. If I wanted to ask a question, I passed a written note, or once in a great while, turned my head to whisper directly into the ear of the person sitting next to me. Even out in the hallway when the jury would come back from their lunch time smoke break, as soon as they appeared in the hallway, I would go silent. One of the last things I ever wanted was to be dragged into the legal proceedings of this trial, in any way, shape or form. But one of my detractors purposefully tried to get me ejected from observing the trial, jealous of where I was sitting. I took umbrage at the sheer audacity, that someone would take their personal agenda, and try to hijack something as serious as a murder trial.
The humiliation and embarrassment of that event was too much for me, and I left the courtroom for the rest of the day. I am a sensitive person. I freely admit I don't have the required "thick skin," which one of the accredited reporters reminded me, is a necessary component of being an objective journalist. Early on in the trial, I lost all sense of an accredited writer's journalistic objectivity, and began to identify with Mrs. Clarkson and Lana's sister, Fawn. Seeing those horrible images of Lana in the chair, dead in Spector's foyer, there were times when I found it difficult to control my emotions, and I'd start to cry. Dominick told me that a similar situation happened to him when he was covering the O.J. Simpson trial, although he never said that he got emotional in the way that I did. What's more likely, is that he got angry, because he has been in Fred Goldman's, the Brown family, and Mrs. Clarkson's shoes. I remind everyone, he is the father of a murdered child.
After the false accusation by the Judge, outside the courthouse and walking down the ramp to the parking lot, Mrs. Clarkson said to me (and I'm paraphrasing here because I can't remember her words exactly), "You must come back to court. We need you. We have endured much worse in that courtroom from this defendant and his defense team. If we can sit there and endure it, so can you." Her plea to me welled my eyes up with tears again, and gave me the courage to return to 106 the following week.
And that brings me now to why I left the courtroom completely, and have ignored the urgings of my husband and friends in the courtroom to go back. It no longer was a positive experience for me. I did not enjoy being there anymore. The atmosphere was too toxic for me, and I needed to separate myself from that. Whether it was intentional or not, I sat in that back row right beside AlanParachini, and I felt humiliated, again. No one told W when they entered the courtroom that they had to sit in the third or fourth rows, so it didn't appear that this assignment to the back row applied to all general public. I was in direct line of sight of Judge Fidler . I could not see the witnesses. I could barely see a third of the jurors. I could only see the back of the attorneys during direct and cross. It seemed to me, like I was being singled out and forced to sit in the worst reporting area of the courtroom. Like a child who is being punished and is no longer able to sit with their seat mates. Whether my perception was right or wrong, that's what I felt. I felt miserable. I was starting to cry again. And that's what did it for me. I did not want to be in that courtroom, crying again. For me, I felt the best decision was to walk away from the toxic atmosphere in the room, with my dignity and sense of self intact. I am so grateful for the experience of getting to see the majority of a high profile case up close and personal. For virtually all of it, I did get to have a great seat in the room, and I will never forget all the amazing reporters and other players I got to meet and talk to.
And that's why this is an apology to Mrs. Clarkson and Fawn. I'm sorry that I did not stay like you asked me to do, and that I will no longer be one of the windows to the world on all the behind the scenes manipulating drama, that has taken place outside the view of the general public in this trial. Please know, that there thousands of people out there that are keeping both of you in their hearts, while that cesspool of a defense team tries with every underhanded trick they can, to drag Lana's memory through the mud. Your strength, to be able to sit there and listen to the lies and smear campaign is amazing to me. Unfortunately, you can't leave that murky atmosphere. You have to stay to the bitter end, to show these jurors that Lana had a family who loved her, and that you have been waiting over four-and-a-half years, for her justice to finally be served. It's time.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
At the end of the day today, I was delayed inside the courtroom a few minutes, so by the time I did get down to the first floor I was rushing to catch the Red Line. Only then did I realize a tall white-haired man carrying a back-pack I have seen in the courtroom hugging Phil Spector, had been watching me much of the afternoon. He came down to the subway platform at Civic Center and appeared to be checking out the other people, as if looking for someone in particular. I think it's possible he did not see me behind two men also wearing suits.
I got on my subway car near the back end, so I could see the others getting on my car. The whited haired man was not there.
When I got off my car at Hollywood and Highland, as I walked back a few feet to get on the up escalator, I noticed the man rushing toward me. He pushed past several folks behind me, until he was touching me. It was just noisy enough on the lower escalator that I was not sure what he said. Since I am recovering from a recent surgery, I walked as fast as I could toward the next up escalator, and this man followed. Now it was quiet enough I could hear him asking me why I attend the trial.
Not knowing for sure who he is or what his interest is in the outcome, I only told him I follow the science and provide my impressions to people who want it. Up on the Hollywood Boulevard sidewalk, as I waited for the westbound 312/212 bus, he told me his name and asked mine.
The funny thing is this afternoon another trial watcher seemed to follow me to the Red Line, too. This person did get on the same subway car, but continued past Hollywood and Highland. While we were waiting for the correct train they keep looking at me, but said very little. Maybe they actually do routinely take the North Hollywood Red Line, and had, up to now, just been on a different one than me.
What a frightening situation CCA! Sounds like the Zodiac Singer to me.
P.S. And Kim of The Darwin Exception has a new entry up. It's rip-roaring hysterical!
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
At approximately 11:55 am today, I walked out of 106 for the last time. No one asked me to leave. I left of my own volition. I gave this trial, just a few days shy of four long months of my life. I came to a realization that it was time to pull the plug. Unfortunately for him, Spector will continue to have to show up in Judge Larry Paul Fidler's courtroom every day, supported by his bodyguards and other plastic Barbie® sized props. The verdict people, isn't very far away. But let me back up a little bit to yesterday, and tell you about a few details that I left out.
I told you in my last entry that I specifically was asked to return to court. Although I choose not to name who that was, I can tell you that it was several individuals who asked me to come back. When I was let into the courtroom ahead of the general public, I went over and took my seat by Dominick. Meredith from the court's public liaison's office immediately came over to me and said, "You've been at the trial every day, and we acknowledge that." She then handed me an official court press badge and said, "Now, you can't blog about this." I told her I understood, and wouldn't say anything. And, if you read my prior entry, I didn't mention anything about it. I wrote my entry in such a way, that I made it appear that I was still being treated as part of the public. I was ecstatic. I no longer had to worry about whether or not I would get a seat into court during the final days, or whether or not I would get to observe closing arguments. I had Mr. Willy Wonka's golden ticket. (LOL! I know. It's actually a laminated piece of yellow paper, but I wasn't quibbling at that point.) Once K saw what had happened, she corralled Meredith and tried to get onto the media list. I recommend reading my entry Vindicated! to get the full flavor of what K did the rest of the day.
This morning, I could not get onto my blog for over an hour. I was panicking, because I could get to other blogger web pages but not mine. I immediately thought that someone had shut my blog down. This was not an unreasonable assumption, since K had tried her best to get me ejected from the courtroom and Kim, of The Darwin Exception sent me this email on Sunday:
I know the defense reads mine because I've gotten emails from some lady named "Karen" (something - I forget her last name) purporting to be from Brunon's firm several times telling me that I have "misconstrued" something or "reported something inaccurately." I hadn't been writing on the trial a week when I got a "cease and desist" letter from them telling me that I needed to stop reporting "false and libelous information". It was very official looking and, of course, wasn't worth the bandwidth it was sent on, but it certainly could have intimidated a novice blogger. I sent them back a note referencing my ABA number, and I haven't heard from them since regarding "cease and desist".
Fortunately, my blog came back on line after about an hour, but it did cause me to be late for court. I arrived in 106 a little after 10:00 am. As I entered the courtroom, Alan Parachini, who is the head of the court's public relation's office, stood up and touched my arm. He directed me to sit beside him in the back row. I looked around the room and saw that K was not there, nor was W. At the first break, I got up to go over and sit beside Dominick, but Alan stopped me. He told me I would be sitting in the back row from now on. No explanation was given, and I didn't ask why. And, for the rest of the morning, that's where I sat. Right beside Alan Parachini.
After he told me that at the break, I went over to tell Dominick about this latest turn of events. The look he gave me said it all. Harriet Ryan was kind enough to point out to me, that I still had attached to my new jeans, the manufacturer's size sticker on the side of my leg. Oh boy. What total embarrassment that was lol, and I reached down to remove the sticker. I stepped outside the courtroom to go to the 13th floor to get a snack, and ran into Steven, who had just recently arrived. I told him about being relegated to the back row for the remainder of the trial. He couldn't believe it, and kept trying to figure out why. What happened, he kept wondering, offering up a possible innocent explanation that didn't make sense to me, seeing as how I had just been handed a press pass the day before. Back inside the courtroom Linda Deutsch turned around and said, "You changed seats." I replied, "I was told where to sit." Sometime in between the morning break and the noon hour, W entered the courtroom. No one told W where to sit, and they moved in to sit beside Linda in the second row. The smile on W's face was evident as to how gleeful they were about seeing me in the back row.
But I want to get back to that question: Why. In my spiritual belief system, the ultimate goal is to let go of needing to know why something happens in one's life journey. Ever since I first heard Caroline Myss talk about the David Chetlahay Paladin story, I've come to accept the fact that everything that happens in our lives happens for us, instead of to us. That every single person we meet in life and crosses our path, is there to teach us a lesson. That there is good and bad in every one's life, but how one chooses to let those events define their life is of the most importance. So, having obtained the golden ticket, I came to the realization sitting in that back row, that the cost of it was not worth the price, and I could easily walk away from it at any time. I had given enough of my time to this trial, and I made the decision to leave. I could watch Spector get convicted of second degree murder from the comfort of my living room. I could be in my jammies, getting caught up on sewing.
Unlike many other trial watchers who showed up on a daily basis to experience the proceedings, I have always maintained that I've never sought any fame or publicity off the tragic death of Lana Clarkson; it just happened to find me. I never went up to individuals at this trial, and passed out my business card to let them know who I was. Nor did I force myself on anyone I could latch onto, or offer to drive them around town to "see the Castle," or use my trial notes to eventually write a book. I have consistently made it clear, that once this trial was over, I would be immersing myself back into sewing, and my regular, comfortable life. I decided to let that start, a little sooner rather than later.
Once I got home, I packaged up the press badge, and sent it FedEx to Alan Parachini's office. I included a typewritten note with the single line, "Thank you very much." As I drove away from the FedEx office, a huge weight lifted from my shoulders. It felt great.
Up until this point, I've been silent as to the identity of K and W. Although the business card I have for K says "Investor, Actress, Motivational Speaker, Singer" the only information I've ever found on the web about K, is a PDF format court of appeals ruling where a contestant was ordered to reimburse court costs. And W? Well readers, I can't be absolutely positive, but it sure seems like one of the ladies on this web site completely resembles W. I could easily be wrong, of course.
I still have quite a few trial notes I haven't published that I will attempt to put up over the next several days, and dini I'm sure will continue to blog here until the end of the trial.
Update: 7:15 pm
The web link should be working now.
Update: 11:10 pm
I took a peecture before I mailed The Golden Ticket back. Just for the whole momento effect.
Update: Thursday, August 23rd, 10:40 am
There will be a guest entry up late tonight or early tomorrow by CCA. I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of support for me. Thank you one and all, very much. I will try to answer everyone's private messages at CTV as well as the mail and comments I've been getting on my blog, as soon as I am able.
Update: Thursday, August 23rd 4:17 pm
The David Chetlahay Paladin link is fixed.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
I had not slept well all weekend. Even though I was specifically asked to come to court on Tuesday, I still felt a little queasy in the stomach returning to 106. I was going to take the bus and train, but splurged today on driving. Wouldn't you know it, traffic was terrible, and I was worried I wouldn't get into downtown LA in time. But at the last two miles, traffic did ease up, and I was able to get on the 9th floor near my usual arrival time.
All during my drive into downtown, my stomach was in knots and my nerves were on edge, and I kept concentrating on my personal belief system, for it has never steered me wrong. I'm a strong believer in the teachings of medical intuitive Caroline Myss, Ph.D, and her philosophy on Energy Anatomy. And one of the lessons I know that I work through on a daily basis is forgiveness, and what it really means, to forgive. Caroline teaches that, one of the best things we can do for ourselves, one of the most selfish things, is, to forgive. Once we forgive, our whole life can change in an instant, because we're no longer draining, or losing our vital life force engergy, into that sad past/event.
Taking deep breaths, I focused all my thoughts on sending K and W energy prayers. Any my prayer was, for the universe to give them the energy they need, to continue on their journey's, on their paths. For them to go forward, toward learning the life lessons they were put here on this planet to learn. And my energy prayer for myself was, I hand it all over to the universe. Whatever happens, happens, and I will be fine with that. I will have no expectations. I have to tell you that, I kept saying these prayers the entire trip, but it didn't lessen the anxiety I still felt in my body or mind lol! Rome wasn't built in a day.
I get through the first floor security checkpoint and head on over to the elevators. Finally getting into an elevator, I'm dismayed that K gets on in the elevator right in front of me. When you tell the universe you're ready to forgive, well, the universe just plops more things down in front of you to forgive. Up on the 9th floor hallway, I see the cast of MEAN GIRLS all grouped together near the door. K & W have two other friends standing with them. One of them I recognize from the Blake trial, the other I recognize from being at court months earlier with W.
I walk over and stand next to Dominick, and to my delightful surprise, Richard and Ron are back again. I find out that the court's liaison officers are handing out public tickets. We will be on the lottery system today, and supposedly for the rest of the trial. Richard and Ron both tell me, that if either of their numbers are called first, they will just hand their ticket to me. What great guys, and I thank them for their generosity. The accredited press is finally called into the courtroom. After the last person enters, Meredith pokes her head around the corner of the door and says, "Any other media?" After she sees where I'm sitting, she motions with her finger for me to enter the courtroom.
Last Thursday, before court started, I had gone up to the head of the department, Alan, and asked if there was any way that I could be let in after the accredited press. I was told at that time that I had already been put on the waiting list. This is better than not being on, and just part of the regular public, so I thanked Alan. What it means is, if there are accredited press that don't show up, then I'm on the "waiting list" to possibly get one of those seats. It's still a toss up whether or not I'll get in or not, because that waiting list is long. Once inside the courtroom I took my regular seat. Soon afterward, all the rest of the public was let in and CCA was able to get his regular seat beside me. Most of the public was moved to the third row and the fourth row of individual seats against the back wall near the door, but no one made CCA move back. There were at least three or four spaces left in the second row, and K and a friend moved up on their own from the third row bench to the second row bench. The bailiff (thank goodness Judge Fidler's regular bailiff is back), told them they would have to move back to the third row, and I believe I overheard K tell the bailiff they were part of the media. That claim didn't last long, because they still had to move back to the third row. I'm almost certain I overheard K talking to Meredith, asking to be put on the media waiting list.
I try to concentrate on taking some notes, and to see who is in the room. I note Rachelle has her hair in a French braid. It's one of the few times that it actually looks nice, and it does go well with the smoke gray sweater dress she has on. I wonder if she paid someone to come to the house to fix it, or if Mommy, who is here again today did it for her. For some time now, gone are the outfits that are more appropriate to a music venue or rave.
The attorneys are in chambers with the Judge, and I think I'm actually starting to stop shaking. Linda Kenny Baden is back, and she looks great. The best I've seen her look in a long time. I've never thought that she wasn't sick. I can't imagine what it must have been like for her, to have been as ill as she supposedly was, and having to be in a hotel room instead of at home. All that time she was without all her comfortable things around her, and access to her personal physician. I am glad that she's better now.
Rachelle and Mommy are already under their fleece blankie. Cutler, who is also back, waves to Rachelle and Mom. When I had entered the courtroom, Fawn and Mrs. Clarkson both gave me smiles, happy to see me back. The attorneys are now out of the in camera meeting, and the defense team is in huddle, standing in back of the defense table. LKB is shaking her head while the group is in an intense discussion. Even their exhibits operator is in on the discussion, while Cutler sits at the defense table, his back to the group. It's 9:50 am, and this big discusion is still going on. Along the back row from left to right is the short lead press: John Spano, Peter Hong, Michael Christensen, Harriet Ryan and Matthew K, all on their laptops. I try to take notes, but I'm not really concentrating on the motions all that well.
Jackson loses on the records coming in. Mona, the sketch artist who covered the Blake trial, enters the courtroom with a friend and sits by Linda Deutsch. She sees me, and gives me a smile. More back and forth by the prosecution and defense, and the defense finally stands up and says that they rest, "provisionally." This means that the Judge now adresses Spector, to make sure he understands that he is giving up his right to testify. "That right is soley yours," Fidler says. And Spector, afirming that he is giving up that right, understand it and answers, "Yes." Right after that, an amazing thing happens. The Judge apologizes to me for accusing me of being the one who was overheard by the jury. A special thanks to Court TV member kellabeck, who transcribed the Judge's statement.
JF's APOLOGY TO SPROCKET
Right after Fidler accepted Spector's statement that he would not be taking the stand, he took up a more pressing matter:
FIDLER: Last week it had been reported to me and an individual was named that they were talking loud enough, that they were expressing opinions. Some of the jurors had indicated that they heard this person and this person was identified to me as the young lady in the white blouse (gesturing towards the gallery) is that correct? She's not the person. So you are not the person I should have been addressing my remarks to. I apologize. You were misidentified to me. You're not the person who was doing it. There was somebody else who has been tentatively ID'd to me and rather than single that person out I will simply reiterate at this point: Whoever's in the audience, keep your opinions to yourself cause if you don't you're gone, it's that simple. Your opinions, you're free to have them but I don't want the jurors to hear them, it's that's simple.
It's 10:15 am, and the jury finally enters the courtroom. At the first break, I really need to get something to drink, but delay on leaving the room to go to another floor. But I decide to get up and stretch my legs anyway. As I pass Rachelle and her Mommy, I overhear Mommy say, "I think something smells." Yep. This child and her Mommy are a wanna be clas act. I walk out towards the elevators, but decide to come back in and retake my seat. I see that K is sitting over on the defense side, chatting it up big time with Rachelle and Mommy. One of my seat mates comments, "I think she belongs over there."
I believe it was Michael Corleone who said (in I can't remember which one of the Godfather movies), "Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer." I make sure to keep my eye on K for the rest of the day, because I just have this gut feeling that K is not done here in room 106. At every break, K makes a bee line towards Rachelle and her Mommy to sit with them, and chat it up. At the last break of the day, I observe Rosen going over to speak to K, and from the back row, I see W staring at me. At the end of the day, overhear K speaking to Judge Fidler's Bailiff. K was asking about wanting something. I didn't hear exactly what was said, and I didn't hear all of the Bailiff's reply. I did hear something to the effect of, "You can wait after court to speak to him." I'm not positive if that is what was said, but I know it was something like that. I don't believe this whole event is completely over. I'll just keep sending K some energy prayers, that she continues on her life's journey.
When I was driving home I got on the phone with dini. She told me there were lots of Court TV posters who had posted their support, and that there was a big long thread with many posts on it. When I got home, I read the entire daily thread and evening threads. I want to thank everyone who sent me messages of support, either through emails, private messages, blog posts or posts on the fourm. Please forgive me, if I missed your name. I did try to write down every one who said something positive.
I'd like to thank all my friends at Butterfly. The butterflies are the ones I can always lean on when things get rough. Hey Beaner! That includes you! Thank you, one and all!
I'd also like to thank all the Court TV posters who gave me their words of support today. I read every post. CCA, Lynn Gweeny, CAT TOY, poplife, KatyDid, Dave, barskin&co., pile2000, Shell0724, kennedy06, kindekat, Sherbie, kel, ann10, Wierdsly, Orchid Corsage, gaia, Intrepid, Sedonia Sunset, Howlz, bchand, hockeymomof5, september, Winks, mizpah1, Fallen Angel, Dig, Xspectorant, kipswife, ch.hillmom, spydernweb2006, IObject!, LadyBlue, JustRetired, kellabeck, Kara, angeltab, Daisy, SKelly63, mmt, ritanita, lovelaw, Firefox1, Sea, Becky10, FrankieBones1, cneal, tashi, warhorse46, sylviap, MyrnaTurner, Think About It, windswept, MsTery, witchywoman, Luauna Schmi, lunr99, CarolynNVa, gentleeyes, CakeGirl, Cornblossom, Hollywon't, Fluffnstuff, jscoe, wandering, FloA, 3rdDegre, Kathlb, Jayne, kellabeck, Zeekers, Regina.Lampert, Karrie0317, llylabrat, NEsleuth, TwinMom, carolinablue, sissy, angeltab, CCMSW, jojoTN, Velouria, winteryns, duncan, Tracian, Sagi, NatalieB, Sir RealDeal, roytoy, SusiePMcD, lost indie, DevilWoman, bballgrl, islandgirl, LibbyQ, cish, sissy, MissRunAmuk, tulpje, bluwater, craigtamy, Mort Snerd, oldbluesmith, marabeth, Hecate, Chass, charm7, LinZbee, archangel, joypath, Dunlurken, TellitTrue, Thisbe, chambord1, w_wheeler, True2Blues, CourtsideVue, dmh, cocoloco, Curious Kate, Dennn, Doberman, ritanita, Browneyes, DixieChick, LNL, Kathlb, ScienceFiend, Pinetree, CrimeBuff, SeniorMoments, Zhia.
Again, please forgive me if I missed mentioning anyone. It has been a long day for me.
I catch a bus but I'm real late. I'm hoping I get into court before 9:30 am. Well, I'm not that late but if the lines are long it may delay me a bit. I'm very tired, mostly from arguing with Mr. Sprocket last night. He wanted to try to install an new printer we got with my new macBook, but it was almost 11 pm, and I had already told him over an hour before that we needed to get to bed early. I'm also irritated because I didn't have time to eat this morning. I'll have to grab a banana in the cafeteria of there's time.
Success! I make the 8:29 am train. However, the car is unbearably hot, more so than usual for the subway cars. I at least manage to get a seat facing the direction we will be traveling. There's a young man already semiconscious next to me with torn jeans and his iPod blaring in his ears.
This trial has been an unbelievable experience for me, but when it ends, it ends. After yesterday's experience at the press meeting, unless Mr. Dunne really would like me to go with him like we panned, then I"m passing on the Castle trip tomorrow. I close my eyes to clear my mind to think. At the Hollywood Highland stop the man next to me asks, "Hollywood and Highland?" "Yes," I reply. "Are you getting off somewhere in Hollywood?" "Wilshire Vermont (station)" he says. "Well then, you have a little ways to go," I tell him.
Up on the 9th floor inside 106, I notice there's a new guy in the room. I have in my notes, "Doesn't that guy have the look of an expert witness?" But I don't have who said it to me. Sitting behind me is another trial watcher named Jon Scott, who owns an Internet music station called All Memphis Music. He's been coming to court for a little while now with a friend of his from Miami, FL. Jon tells me and Dominick about an interview Rolling Stone Magazine did with Michael Bay in 2001. Dominick and I listen while Jon and his friend talk about the highlights of the interview. Dominick mentions that he went to college with John Frakenheimer, who is Michael Bay's biological father. Someone mentions that Bay is 42 years old. Jon is sorry that he didn't bring the article with him today, but tells us how to get to it online at Rolling Stone's web site.
She changed her hair again today. I overhear someone near me whisper, "She's a first rate, third rate person." It's the first time I've seen her wear a conservative, regular suit with hosiery and heels. Juror #6 comes out of the jury room and sits in his seat. Jon asks, "Do you think they can nail them for sleeping?" I don't think so. I've heard of other trials where jurors slept, and nothing happened because of it. Now we hear why Juror #6 is in the courtroom by himself. Bay has a connection to this juror. Two of his films, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Texas Chainsaw Revisited were released by New Line, where the juror works. The juror is asked if this fact will in any way affect his ability to be impartial, and he replies, "No." And that's it.
K returns to the courtroom. This blond woman CCA met outside the courtroom this morning is in hushed conversation, whispering to CCA. Rosen's girlfriend enters, and sits with Rachelle in the second row. The attorneys are at the bench. Rosen and Dixon are off to the side, talking. Judge calls for Alan Parachini, the court's liaison officer. This morning, in the hallway before court started, when Jackson came by with the cart that has all their files, someone said, "You need one of those little bicycle bells." Jackson ran out of the courtroom real quick just a minute ago, and now he comes back in. It is confirmed that Peter Hong will be the other reporter for the Castle visit. One of the camera operators is taping down the microphone cords at the podium.
9:50 am, the jury is finally called. Linda Deutsch strolls into the courtroom. In the front row behind the defense is their expert witness, the clerk who I saw had the print out of my blog, and another young male clerk. We are now back to the Defense's CIC. The next witness is Dr. Jan Edward Leetsma, the 29th defense witness, and the 68th for the entire trial. Plourd conducts the direct examination.
Dr. Leestma is a nuropathologist. This is a sub specialty within the field of pathology. He completed his training in 1968, and has been practicing in that field ever since. Nuropathology is a focus with respect to the nervous system.
We can always tell when the pretty young prosecutor's ADA enters with papers and information because her high heels clack on the tile floor. Looking on over at Rachelle, Dominick leans in to whisper in my ear, "Look at those shoes!" They look like they are white and black patent leather five inch heels. It's a white shoe with black toe tips and black heels. I don't believe they are Christian Louboutin, but I can't see the soles from here to be sure. It's 10:00 am, and the contents of Linda Deutsch's purse drop on the floor. Her cell phone, and a few other items go flying. CCA is talking intently with a woman he met early this morning, and who is sitting in between me and him. I have no idea who she is. She appears to be just someone who showed up at court, and is not a poster on the message boards.
Leestma goes over his work experience, as well as the time he spent learning the electron microscope. Now he talks about having published over 100 articles. CCA writes me a note: He testified in the Michael Peterson case. He also has testified in the Louise Woodward "baby shaking" case. I write these notes in my book and show them to Dominick. A juror picks at their nails. Another juror has their arms crossed. Leestma is a part-time consultant to the Cook County Medical Examiner, which includes the Chicago area. One juror is supporting their head on their hand. Now two jurors have their arms crossed. I'm wondering how could he have performed a comprehensive review of all the medical examiner's medical evidence since we know he was contacted at the last moment. Ah, he focused on the damage to Lana's spinal cord.
Leestma testifies, "After the shot, there is an immediate loss of control by the upper brain. There could have been some reflex movements." Now the pathologist mentions a term that's hard for me to get correctly. Decerebrate posturing. And, he talks about "pithing" which is putting a needle in the back of the head of a frog, and the frog moves after death. "...the legs straighten out; the head is thrown back; the posturing ceases..." This reflex, is a reflex that is called decerebrate posturing which occurs when the lower spinal centers are released from control. It's enabled by the spinal cord being severed. So, the lower spinal cord itself is intact and can respond. The posturing, it could have happened at the moment of the gunshot or a second after.
Q: The heart still beats even though it's lost a connection to the brain?
A: That's correct. The heart has it's own internal pacemaker.
The heart has it's own internal pacemaker. Now Leestma goes onto say, there could be reflex movements that occur in the head so that doesn't tell you what position the head was in at the time of the incident. The woman who is sitting beside me is so cold, she had asked for the pool cameraman's sweater. Just boldly motioned for him to pass it over. Leetstma talks about the videos of people who kill themselves and the body does move afterwards, and these films are shown at conferences.
10:25 am, two distinguished looking gentlemen come in and sit beside Linda Deutsch in the second row. Jackson tries to get in objections to generalized comments. One objection is sustained, another is overruled. I wouldn't be surprised if Spector told the defense attorneys that this happened, that she twitched around. But I doubt he kept his stories straight from expert to expert. Leetstma testifies that the mechanisms our body has for breathing is in the pons and upper cervical cord. There are signals that take care of breathing. The chief one is the diaphragm, the muscle that produces inspiration. Exhalation, to a large degree is passive. Now Leestma mentions the phrenic nerve. Checking my Gray's Anatomy, this is what it says about the phrenic nerve.
The Phrenic Nerve (internal respiratory of Bell) arises chiefly from the fourth cervical nerve, with a few filaments from the third and a commnicating branch from the fifth. It descends to the root of the neck, running obliquely across the front of the Scalenus anticus, and beneath the Sterno-mastoid, the posterior belly of the Omo-hyloid, and the Transversalis colli and the suprascapular vessels. (Believe it or not, I actually understand this.) It next passes over the first part of the subclavian artery, between it and the subclavian vein, and, as it enters the chest, crosses the internal mammary artery near its origin. Within the chest it descends nearly vertically in front of the root of the lung and by the side of the pericardium, between it and the mediastinal portion of the pleura, to the Diaphragm, where it divides into branches, which separately pierce that muscle and are distributed to its under surface. There's more~the nerve that arises on the right is deeper in the body than the left~ but I guess that's enough detailed anatomy for now, lol!
Dr. Leestma states that normal breathing would cease, but it can go on. That would be possible because there are other muscles involved: the external intercostals lift and elevate the ribcage, and the internal intercostals that can contract and squeeze the chest. The abdominal muscles can contract, too. The rest of the spinal column nerves are intact and these could have kept the intercostal muscles going. The force to breathe out is much greater than the one to breathe in. At the time Leestma's testifying about this, I'm trying to keep from rolling my eyes and figure out how in the world the "intact" spinal column is supposed to do this for any reasonable length of time. This appears to me, to be another ridiculous, one in a billion DNA number possibility to try to explain the high velocity spatter on Spector's white ladies dinner jacket.
Leestma goes onto say that there was blood in the main breathway and the air sacks. He's adamant that it can't get there unless through breath, and adds, "It's hard to do without inspiratory action." An alternate crosses their arms, and another juror yawns. Another juror in the back row picks at their nails. Rachelle appears to be quite focused on this witness.
It's 10:35 am and most jurors are not taking notes. A juror in the back row crosses their arms too, and a different juror yawns, too. 10:40 am, Brunon arrives and sits in the front row. Another juror yawns. It's becoming contagious. Another juror sits back in their chair with, what appears to me to be an "I can't believe what I'm hearing," expression on their face. Another juror is stretching their left arm over their head and back behind their neck and resting on it. Another juror has a squinted expression on their face and almost looks like they've compressed their facial muscles. I get really bored with this testimony and put my notebook away for a moment. I then take it out again to note that the well known Jamie Floyd from Court TV is in the back row. Finally, the morning break is called and I escape the boredom to stretch my legs.
Back inside the courtroom, I see that the salt and pepper, barrel chested man is here in court again sitting with the defense. Out in the hallway I chat with Louis Spector and his long time companion. I observe Spector get introduced to Dr. Leestma. Pat Jackson, one of the court's public liaison officers, and I chat about the two temperatures in courtroom 106: uncomfortable and unbelievably uncomfortable. A man with an British sounding voice enters and sits in the back row. We are waiting for the jurors to take their seats and one juror is late and the rest of the jurors smile and have a bit of laughter at their compatriot.
Jackson gets up to conduct the cross of Dr. Leestma.
Dr. Leestma was contacted by the defense about ten days to two weeks ago. He's not sure of the exact date. One defense expert Dr. Michael Baden contact him, and later, he had a conversation with Dr. Werner Spitz. Afterwards, he was contacted by one of the defense attorneys, Linda Kenny Baden. He also had another consultation with Chris Plourd. There were a bunch of emails, telephone calls and more emails. Leestma believes the emails were specific to travel arrangements, and not surprisingly, he didn't take any notes at all during his interviews. We find out that it wasn't until yesterday, around 3:00 pm that Jackson is given the opportunity to talk to Dr. Leetstma on the phone, and Chris Plourd was in the room when that conversation took place.
Regarding the videos that Dr. Leestma mentioned, Jackson gets the witness to admit that not one of those videos shown at conferences duplicate this case, where the victim had a complete transection of the spine. Leestma states that the "body twitchings" are all broken down into fractions of a second. The action would be withing a fraction of a second. The guy with the white hair arrives and sits on the defense side. In his cross, Jacksn focuses on Lana's thighs and even though her legs might be under her, he gets Leestma to agree that her thighs are in basically the same position. Here thighs would be exposed, regardless. More trial watchers enter the room. The nuropathologist now backtracks his testimony, and denies that the decerebrate posturing is instantaneous.
Q: Are there any more mistakes in your testimony?
A: I don't know. Maybe you'll point them out.
Now the doctor hedges his bets and says that it could be three, four, or even five seconds when the decerebrate posturing could occur. The image of Lana in the chair is still up on the Elmo. No one has taken it down. Donna and Fawn are turned away from the screen, and Donna holds a tissue in her hand. Now the witness must have had a blackout on the stand earlier, because he testifies that he doesn't remember saying that it was instantaneously. He doesn't remember saying that on the phone when Jackson spoke to him yesterday, and adds, "You're talking about memories I don't have." Geez doc, I'm so surprised you went into the specialty of NUROpathology!
Q: Would you agree that the best evidence of where that expiration exparate matter went is where it was found?
A: Well, yes.
(Duh!) When Jackson asks where are there accounts of decerabrate rigidity in the medical literature, the witness states that they date back to the French Revolution, where bodies were observed moving "hours later" after death. Wow. I didn't realize that while the French were kicking out their kings and beheading their queens, they were also doing modern scientific experiments on decerebrate posturing and rigidity. Now AJ is trying to describe his demonstration of very shallow breaths, and he's telling the Judge he's having difficulty. The Judge says, "I would say an exhausted chiwowa." And the entire courtroom erupts in laughter at the Judge's description of a short, panting like breath. It was really funny. Leestma won't even go near commenting on gravity being the logical explanation for Dr. Pena finding blood in the alveola. Jackson is finished, and Plourd gets up to redirect by starting with the cough.
Judge Fidler calls the lunch break. In the cafeteria, Dominick gets accosted by K to meet for lunch. He said he promised her so he can't get out of it. I sit with Louis and his companion not far away and we amusedly make commentary on what we observe. Louis brought his portfolio of paintings with him, and I'm in awe of the talent he has as a painter. He needs to be in a gallery. He's that good. There is a very apparent common theme of loneliness that speaks out to you with each image. I'm very thankful that he brought his work to court so that Dominick and I can experience his talent as an artist.
Back on the 9th floor in the courtroom, Steven makes it to the afternoon session. Outside the presence of the jury, the prosecution and defense present arguments as to whether or not Devra Robitalle can testify as part of the prosecution's rebuttal case, and the Judge rules that the prosecution can call this witness. In the gallery, Dominick and I are pleased about this ruling.
At 1:50 pm the jury is finally called in and testimony resumes. We are back now on the prosecutions rebuttal case. This is rebuttal witness #5, and the 69th witness overall in the trial. It's Pauline Rosenfield, and she is a the Hospital Care Coordinator, of the Mobile Intensive Care Nurse Unit at Cedars Sinai Hospital. She has been a registered nurse for over 30 years. This unit is responsible for coordinating care between paramedics and emergency room personnel. Nurses learn how to coordinate care with paramedics in the field. This is a specialty within nursing, and is not a job that is performed by just any nurse who happens to be available. These nurses are especially certified, and they have a special assigned number that designates that certification. The form that they use in the hospital to document the call from the paramedics in the field, will reference via a case number the 902M form the paramedics use that contains the patient name.
The form is a County form that all "Base Hospitals" use. The call that came in was a radio transmission, and Rosenfeld explains that "BR" on the form means "blunt fracture." 2:10 pm, the little wife suddenly leaves the courtroom. I write this note to Dominick: Morning sickness? Resenfeld explains that she scored high on the level of alertness/consciousness scale, a 4-6-5 = 15. The patient was "completely awake, alert and oriented." The white haired guy leaves the courtroom. One o the jurors sneaks a snack (or a candy) into their mouth. The prosecution plays a tape for her to answer a question. And on the recording, we can hear Lana's voice in the background again, "Oooowwwwweeee!" Mrs. Spector reenters the courtroom at 2:20 pm.
Rosen steps up to cross this witness. Rosen makes an attempt at a joke. He say that the witness and he have the same last name, she just has a few more letters in her name than he does. No one in the courtroom laughs. Steven gives me looks again on Rosen's cross and I cover my face with my notebook not to laugh.
Q: You're not a paramedic are you?
Q: You're not a doctor?
Q: Do you know Bruce LIverpool?
Q: Do you know Mr Stark?
Rosen is now crossing the witness on the qualifications of Nurse Lovitt and her employment at Cedars. Then Rosen switches to Rosenfled's qualifications and her formal training, and was she in the same position now back in 2001. In 2001 she states she wasn't the pre hospital care coordinator. She started in that job in 2002. Nurse Lovitt wasn't working under her back in 2001. This is a total WASTE OF TIME. Why couldn't the defense stipulate to all of this? Rosenfeld testifies that an emloyee of the Fire Dept. contacted her back in 2001 to get a copy of the tape recording of the emergency call. Again, I think this is a total waste of time.
To me, the jury looks disgusted with all these stupid questions with the witness, about when she talked to Pat Dixon and who was in the room and that it was in his office. There's a snide comment about the messiness of the DA's office. The jury, what can I say. They appear to be bored to tears. They fidget. They yawn. Rod Lindblom turns to give Ciaran a look. He can't believe it either. Rachelle covers her mouth with a huge yawn. Rosen is going on now that "It's not a 100% foolproof system. You've found forms with mistakes, correct?" Rosenfeld answers, "Yes."
Q: The hospital form doesn't have the paramedics name on it? Nurse Levitt only recorded what she was told?
The witness tries to explain that paramedics are their (the ER) eyes and ears in the field, but Rosen comes back with, "Oh, but they make mistakes!" Lets talk about the huge blunders this blind leading the blind defense team has made, huh, Roger? Rosen wants to play a section of tape again. Rosen acts like he's uncovering a big conspiracy. We hear the tape again. "She denies any alcohol consumption at this time. She is, uh, does not appear to be under any influence."
Uh...PUHLEEZE! We all exchange eye rolls and tiny head shakes about this riveting line of questioning. The break is finally called. What a relief. At the break, Sandi Gibbons lets me know that the prosecution's exhibit clerk is called "Sudi," so I finally have her name correct on the blog. She also tells me who the tall slender man is whom I've seen in court almost every day. It's Richard Doyle, Director of Special Operations: Major Crimes. Sandi tells me that they recently renamed his department, but she just can't think of the new title at the moment, but that is the prior name of the unit.
All the reporters are up in arms about this visit fiasco, and that's the topic that is whispered about. Break is over, and Rosen continues his cross. The press is handed copies of Pie's letter and the photographs that came with it, and Dominick starts reading his. Mrs. Clarkson sees what is handed out, and appears upset about something in the printout the press was handed. (I later find out it's because the Pie included something from the memorial, that she did not write and didn't have permission to include in her Christmas Cards.) There is a sidebar as Rosen tries to bring in a document. The jurors whisper among themselves. Jurors snicker and laugh, and look on out at the gallery. They periodically change their focus to the Judge and attorneys at the bench. The gallery is actually pretty quiet now. Scratch that. It livens up a bit again. Maybe they are arguing over her actual medical records? Yep. They brought in actual records.
Rosen finally gets in his bombshell. "Significant for migraine headache and some depression. From the victim herself, when giving the ER doctor some medical history/information. And that's it Rosen is done, looking like he just uncovered the biggest conspiracy since Spitz worked on the JFK assassination. Dixon gets up to redirect his witness.
Q: You have no idea how Ms. Clarkson defined social drinking?
A: No, I don't.
Finally the witness is excused and we are done for the day. I rush out to catch the train and totally miss a little confrontation in the hallway between Roger Rosen and John Spano. However, CCA was there to report on the exchange
Monday, August 20, 2007
Not everyone is aware that Mrs. Spector has been married to the accused for less than a year, and was not present on the night Lana was killed. However, many of us would love to see how Rachelle would do as a witness, and thanks to Court TV member kellabeck, we have a window into what that direct testimony would be like. This is just a parody readers. Mrs. Spector has not been called to the stand.
ROSEN: How do you wish to be addressed?
ROSEN: I can't call you Schmoopie. I'll call you Ms. Spector.
CHELLE: Mrs. Spector.
ROSEN: Mrs. Spector. Just pull the mic toward you like a telephone. And this is not like a normal conversation, Ms. Spector. You have to wait until I finish my questions before you can answer otherwise Diana cannot do her job, okay?
ROSEN: Now, Ms. Spector. You've been married to the defendant for almost a year now?
CHELLE: Since September.
ROSEN: And in all that time, has he pulled a gun on you?
CHELLE: Well, I haven't tried to leave.
ROSEN: And he hasn't killed you, has he?
ROSEN: Pass the witness.
Thank you kellabeck! Priceless!
Saturday, August 18, 2007
I finally had the chance to fully read Steven Mikulan's latest piece at the LA Weekly. All I can say is, again, Oh mother of God, what goes on in the head of Mrs. Spector? At 26 years of age, this chicky wife must still think she is competing for the junior high prom crown.
I was in the hallway when everyone heard Rachelle invite K to a party, and made it clear by saying in a loud voice that she wasn't going to invite "some people." Mr. Dunne standing right behind K, thought the comment was directed at him and openly said so in the hallway. Back in the courtroom, another reporter told me that they had also been invited to the big event. I asked, "Will you go?" The reporter replied, with a bemused expression on their face, "I can't even accept a cup of coffee from someone I'm interviewing."
It wasn't until I read Steven's piece that I found out Rachelle had sent her husband's bodyguards on this teen aged errand of bogus party invites to selected reporters and trial watchers. Months ago, I had heard from another reporter that the bodyguards hate Rachelle because she sends them on menial errands. I would also add the word "embarrassing" to describe those menial errands. This could all be just some whisperings because I have no idea if the bodyguards like Spector's wife or not. However, I wouldn't be surprised if they really do hate her.
Where in the world does this child think she is every day? I thought some of her outfits were in bad taste and that her hair needed serious attention, but this is just shake your head in disbelief, what in the world behavior. Is there no one on that defense team, or even those that might be directing things behind the scenes, that can get it through Spector's head that his wife's outfits and antics outside the courtroom are not helping his public image? This new wife is looking more like a liability verses an asset. In some ways, I'm not surprised because this defense team has never appeared to work as a cohesive unit, clearly lost without a strong leader or direction. That was never more apparent than when the Judge ruled the defense had intentionally violated California discovery law, again, when Dr. Baden, at the 11th hour, tried to make a hit to first base for the team with his "ah-ha" moment on the stand that it was quite possible Lana Clarkson's spine wasn't completely severed by the fatal shot. Afterwards, in arguments to the Judge, it appeared to me that other members of the team were throwing Chris Plourd under the proverbial bus, trying to disassociate themselves as quickly as possible from this latest, blatant violation. I can't imagine Spector is too happy with Plourd either.
I am eagerly waiting for next Tuesday morning to come, because this defense team never disappoints. With their clown act pratfalls of continually opening the door for the prosecution to present even more damaging evidence against their client, I plan to be there to report on the next "I can't believe they did that" moment.
Update: Saturday, August 18th, 3:20 pm
Steven Mikulen in his latest piece described Dr. Baden on the stand as looking like Captian Kangaroo. One of the Court TV members, Sedonia Sunset, did a side by side comparison. Steven was right on the money with his description!