Friday, March 28, 2008

Phil Spector Pre-trial Hearing, March 28, 2008

I'm here at the downtown courthouse having a bit of breakfast before the hearing. I got out the door pretty early, a few minutes past 7:00 am and made it into the parking lot behind the courthouse by 7:35. Excellent time. I'm early for two reasons. I wanted to make sure I got into the lot behind the criminal court building because after this hearing, I wanted to listen to testimony in the Anthony Pellicano case. However, I can't take my laptop into that courtroom and the easiest solution would be to park as close to this building as possible. That way, I could drop off my iBook after the hearing, and then walk the two-and-a-half blocks down Temple Street to the Roybal building.

I'm not sure what motions will be brought up at this hearing and I've heard two different start times: 9:00 am and 10:00 am. I'll head upstairs to the 9th floor in about fifteen minutes and see if the courtroom is open and if I see any familiar faces. I know that Ciaran McEvoy and Steve Mikulan have both been covering the Pellicano trial but I have no idea if they have plans to leave that trial to cover this hearing.

Keep refreshing the page for updates today. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, I will be blogging about the hearing in real time from inside the courtroom.

9:15 am Bad news. I tried getting an Internet connection inside the courtroom, but for some reason my modem (I'm tethered to my cell phone) is not responding, no matter what I do. I'm back outside in the hallway now and my connection keeps getting dropped and is quite slow. It looks like I will have to write up my entry after the hearing.

9:30 am. I'm back inside the courtroom and I've got a connection! I don't know how long it will last. My connection the entire time I've been downtown has kept dropping. So, at any time, it may fall out and I might not get back up. I'll just have to see how it goes.

9:36 am. A little mini emergency. I drank too much water at breakfast and I had to go pee! I just set the laptop down and went to the restroom real quick. I'm back and I've still got a conection.

9:38 am. There is a hearing that just happened in another case. It took all of 20 seconds.

I believe there are a few more hearings right after the one that just happened.

Rod Lindblum just entered the courtroom and said hello to one of the ladies from the Public Liaison's office, Liz, who entered just before the last hearing.

A familiar deputy sheriff, a woman with short blond hair enters. I remember her face from the first trial, but I don't know her name. I saw Paul Huebl in the hallway earlier, but he's not in the courtroom now. A few people enter for the next hearing, and two defendants in orange jumpsuits are sitting at the defense table. Interesting. The prior defendant was wearing jail dark blues. I wonder if there is a distinction.

I believe most of these pretrial hearing are about scheduling. Judge Fidler takes the bench again in the next mater. They are asking to be held over to May 9th (?). Judge Fidler asks if that's agreeable to the two defendants, and they say yes.

And that's it. The last pretrial hearing is over.

Spector enters with the Trial Bride, Rachelle. Her hair is shorter and she's wearing a black, looks like a leather suit and skirt. There's one huge bodyguard with them, and Huebl sits in the row behind them. Huebl leans into speak to Spector. If there's any question that Huebl "isn't" one of Spector's mouth pieces, this confirms it for me.

The famous AP reporter, Linda Deutsch enters and greets a prosecutor. They hug and chat. Paul Huebl stands up to talk to her.

9:55 am Doron Weinberg enters the courtroom and greets Spector. Linda and Huebl chat. There are prosecutors at the table that I don't recognize. Weinberg and Linda Deutsch greet each other and Paul Huebl talks to Weinberg.

Russ, from one of the wire services enters. I met him at the Blake trial. A still photographer comes in and I think is going to set up in the jury box. I've seen this photographer several times before.

Weinberg goes back over to Spector and sits behind him while another hearing is before Judge Fidler. And that's it. Another 20 second hearing is over.

Our man of the hour, Alan Jackson enters with the Asian ADA who's name escapes me right now. I see him, catch his eye and he gives me a smile and a little wave. Robin and Sherri are here sitting beside me in the back row. It's nice to have someone to chat with while we wait for this hearing to get off the ground.

The Judge takes the bench.

Fidler: We are just going to set some dates. Check in with discovery issues, and setting dates for May 22.

Weinberg: We are filing a writ today. Jackson and I have been in correspondence, and there is no new discovery yet.

Jackson: Mr. Weinberg has anything that we have now. I've received nothing and he's got nothing to provide us.

Weinberg: With regard to our situation, I expect to have some discovery, I've just finished my first run through of the trial transcrpt and discovery.

Fidler: Looks like we should even wait until May to look at dates.

Jackson: Zero 60 on May 22 when we come back?

Fidler: Mr. Spector is that agreeable to you?

Phil squeaks out a raspy "Yes your honor."

And that's it. People get up to leave.

Before he left the courtroom, Alan Jackson came over to me and touched my arm to get my attention and said, "Nice to see you."

In the elevator down, we talk about the Pellicano trial and Robin mentions that she interviewed for a job there, years ago. I ask her if she would let me interview her on that.

Robin thinks it was in the early to mid-eighties when this happened. It had to be for either a secretarial, or clerking position but she's not sure. She remembers that the office was located on Sunset nearDoheney Ave. She interviewed with an office manager or someone like that, but she's certain she never met Pellicano himself. What was so odd to her at that time, was the office looked more like a fake set on Candid Camera verses a real office. From what she remembers, it was a single room, very nondescript . Nothing stood out. She never saw any other people and she kept asking, "What kind of business or job is this?" It was "all very mysterious."

I'm off to go report on the Pellicano trial now.


Bettychand said...

Thanks Sprocket !! Yippeee, I know it will be short and sweet but it's good to remember that there will be justice for Lana, no matter how long it takes.

Anonymous said...

Re the different color jail jumpsuits: most jail facilities in courthouses have a color coded clothing system so the guards can see at a glance who is a violent convicted felon visiting from state prison, an accused but not convicted violent offender, nonviolent offenders, trustees, etc. It affects the level of security required.

For example, the last time I was at felony DUI arraignments in Oakland, CA, the guards put 6-10 nonviolent DUI suspects in the jury box with a single deputy guarding them. On another occasion in the same courthouse, when I was doing a violent felony sentencing for a gang murder attempt, the convicted defendants were brought out one at a time in shackles with a deputy holding each arm.

I could not find further information online about what the color code is precisely. I suspect it is deliberately not publicized, so that defendants can't plan escapes by using wrong colored jumpsuits to trick jail security, similar to how jails have no emergency exit signs in the cellblock areas.

Anonymous said...

Who is that Heubl, a lawyer? How's he related to the case? I've heard his name somewhere before.

Sprocket said...

Huebl is no lawyer. He promotes himself as a detective.

This is also some of his work:

Anonymous said...

Wow! That was funny stuff! He's got a TV show in the works? So what's his connection to Spector?

Police detective or what?

Anonymous said...

I found another heubl video here! This guy is a real scream!
They need him on Saturday Night Live!