Thursday, November 13, 2008

Phil Spector Retrial: Day Six of Testimony

November 13th, 2008 (unfinished entry)

Prosecution Witnesses:

#6: Rommie Davis (High school friend who had dinner with Spector the evening of February 2nd, 2003; testimony completed)

#7: Stephanie Jennings (1101(b) witness, Carlyle Hotel incident; testimony completed)

Special Hearing Outside the Presence of the Jury: (Requested by Doron Weinberg)

#1 Detective Richard Tomlin (Los Angeles County Sheriff, testimony completed)
#2 Brian Bennett (Los Angeles County District Attorney Investigator, testimony completed)

It was another grueling day but not as long as yesterday.

I was in the courtroom pretty early. Jon has been kind enough to drop me off in front of the courthouse before he parks his car. For a time, I am the only person in the gallery. At 9:30 am, the Clarkson family arrives.

Rommie Davis is sitting at the very end of the first row. I was wrong; she will be the first witness up today. I resist the temptation to tell Rommie Davis that she and I know someone in common. One of my dearest friends for over 20 years, Sandra Kaplan, went to high school with Ms. Davis and knew her and Phil Spector. I've had many conversations with my friend about Spector. She's had nothing but fond memories of him at that time. She also told me about the high school reunions and how Spector used to sit at a table by himself with quite a few bodyguards. I'll try to see if I can get some more high school reunion stories out of my friend in the coming weeks.

Spector is wearing a black, sort of charcoal suit, white shirt and vibrant blue tie. (Here is a photo of Spector and Rachelle leaving court today. I don't believe he was wearing the big button in court. He must have added that later.) At 9:34 am, one of the PIO staff arrives.

Weinberg wants to raise an issue about Rommie Davis's testimony, and she is asked to step outside. Weinberg addresses the court. I don't have his statement exact but this is close. The last time she testified at trial she offered previous testimony about drinking [on the other nights and that testimony] is irrelevant. [He] doesn't feel she should be allowed to testify about Spector taking medications. Her objective testimony is okay, but the time she left his company.....

AJ defends his position. "She states she told him her concerns and he ignored it."

DW: Her concern is completely inadmissible. It's opinion.

Weinberg goes onto argue that "what happened the day before [is irrelevant]."

Judge: I don't see the prejudicial value...

Even though Fidler has ruled against him, Weinberg presses on. Then AJ restates his position. A minute or two later, Weinberg apologizes for continuing to argue. The Judge says to him, "I don't think you're arguing; you're making a motion and protecting the record. You're doing your job."

I look over at Spector and I see he is writing on a legal pad. A few days before, Jon had shown me a spoof tablet called "OJ's Legal Pad" that one of his friends created. It was hilarious. Ever since, each time I see Spector writing on a legal pad at the defense table, I can't help but wonder if he is doodling.

After the motion, the jury is brought back in and court resumes. Rommie Davis takes the stand. Davis is a small, very slender woman whos' immaculately dressed and every hair in place.

AJ presents the testimony of Rommie Davis. She states that Phil Spector is her friend and that she met him in high school when she was in the 10th grade. Back then, she didn't know him all that well. "My last name and his put us in the same home room," Davis states. She rekindled a friendship at one of the high school reunions. Prior to that, they had no personal contact. As she's testifying, I notice she's smiling remembering those happier times.

On the evening of the reunion (June of 2002) Spector was off at another end of the room with what Davis describes as the "music" people, signing autographs. She states that at the reunions, she never went over to that area. This testimony sort of jives with what my friend has said about Spector being off at a table by himself, and that very few people would approach his table. Davis says that at one point, she and Spector ran into each other in a hallway and they had a conversation. Later in the evening, one of his people, possibly a bodyguard "...came up to me and Phil asked me to come up and have dinner at the Castle," Davis states.

They started having dinner occasionally. It developed into a platonic relationship. It was not a dating relationship. "We were dinner friends," she says. They got together maybe eight or ten times for dinner, since she was traveling on business and not always in town.

AJ then asks her about the date in question. Both parties stipulate that the date of the dinner, February 2nd, 2003 was a Sunday.

AJ: Did you have dinner with Phil Spector?

RD: Yes I did. [...] It was a very unique weekend. I saw him Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

AJ: Was Mr. Sector drinking at all on Friday or Saturday?

RD: [Pause] Yes.

AJ: Do you drink?

RD: No.

In all prior dinners he had never drank [alcohol].

AJ: This weekend was different?

RD: Yes. [...] He was acting silly. Different than anything that I had ever seen before.

She describes it as a "180." She had never seen that before; she had never seen him drink alcohol before. They went to dinner at the grill on the alley. His driver picked her up at her home in Studio City. A map of the Los Angeles area is put up on the screen, and various areas are marked with little boxes describing the location. She identifies where Spector's home is. The driver picked her up around seven, seven-thirty. They got to the grill around eight pm.

They had dinner.

AJ: What did you have?

RD: I think steak....

AJ asks her if she remembers what Spector drank during dinner.

RD: To the best of my recollection, he had two daiquiri's. [...] I recommended to him [not to drink] after the second one.... because he was acting silly.

The receipt for the dinner is up on the screen and it's a very bad copy of the receipt; it's hard to read. Davis identifies the two daiquiri's on the receipt.

AJ: Describe the change in behavior.

RD: The change in behavior was silly. He was kid like. And that was after two nights [of drinking and the same behavior].

Between 9:30 and 10 pm she finished dinner and had to leave. She had a early bedtime because she has to be up early the next day for businesses that open on the east coast. Phillip and the driver dropped her off at her home in Studio City.

AJ: You didn't see Phil Spector any more that evening?

RD: No.

AJ: do you have any personal knowledge as to where Phil Spector went afterwards?

RD: No.

Direct is finished. What's interesting about her testimony in this trial is what she omitted. At the first trial, she testified that she was worried about his drinking because she knew he was on prescription medications and she knew he shouldn't mix those with alcohol. Rommie Davis is still friends with Spector and she quite effectively skirted mentioning that in this trial.

Weinberg steps up to cross examine Ms. Davis.

DW: You had gone to school with Phil Spector?

RD: Yes.

DW: And you saw him at reunions?

RD: Yes.

DW: Had you seen him in any other situation besides reunions?

RD: No.

DW: In 2002 you had some interaction at a reunion?

RD: Yes.

DW: And it was pleasant?

RD: Yes.

DW: You were contacted [by Mr. Spector?]

RD: Yes.

So sometime around June they reconnected. Spector became a dear friend.

DW: Did he ever get angry?

RD: No.

DW: Did he ever get physical?

RD: No.

DW: Did he ever have anything, or say anything about guns?

RD: No.

Ms. Davis then hesitates after the second question, and says there was something about a gun in the trunk.

Objection! Sustained.

Ms. Davis puts her hand to her head.

A sidebar is requested and there is a bench conference.

DW: There was something early in your relationship that Phil Spector said something about guns?

RD: No. [Then she corrects herself.] Yes. He absolutely did say something about a gun in a car.

It was one of the beginning times when I was in the car with him. He told me that he had a gun in the car [trunk] that he had a permit for the gun. He had the gun for personal reasons. At the time, she was impressed that he had told her all this. Davis also testifies that there were a few times when she was at the house for luncheons and there were other people there. Weinberg asks her about the drinking.

RD: It began the first night.

The behavior that was completely different was he was acting silly. (I'm not sure if she says this or if Weinberg asks it.)

DW: Not mean or vicious?

RD: Just silly.

Weinberg then tries to pin her down on what Spector drank and when. She believes he drank the first daiquiri and half of the second one. Weinberg then says, something to the effect of, "So, over the course of four hours, he had one and a half drinks?"

On redirect, AJ gets Davis to clarify that she only saw him drink that weekend. She never was alone with him.

And that's it for Rommie Davis.

Stephanie Jennings is called to the stand.

More to come....


Anonymous said...

Thank you for taking the time to let the world in on the testimony given in this trial. It is appreciated!

Anonymous said...

In the picture of Spector you linked, he looks like a zombie. Is he napping in court like he did in the first trial?

Anonymous said...

Can We watch the trial on TV like the last time?? If so, when and what channel?

Sprocket said...

Anon @8:23 am:

For whatever reason (economic), the main stream media has decided not to cover this retrial. Although Fidler did approve cameras, no organization stepped up to put the type of cameras (small, remotely operated cameras that hung on the wall over the jury box) in the courtroom that Fidler approved.

So, unfortunately, no, there is no camera coverage.

Occasionally, there is an accredited press reporter in the room but it's not consistent. For most of last Thursday, I was the only person in the room covering the trial.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your coverage! There seems to be very little mainstream press coverage of this retrial.