Thursday, November 20th, 2008
#15 Adriano De Souza (Spector’s alternate driver on February 2nd, 2003; under redirect)
Accredited press in the courtroom: Harriet Ryan of the Los Angeles Times
Happy Belated Thanksgiving everyone. I had hoped to have this entry up before yesterday, but what is it about “the best laid plans” that seem to go awry? It’s always something. On Tuesday, we had to scrap all our grocery and fabric shopping plans because the four-day-old Pepboys rebuilt starter we had just installed Saturday developed a cerebral aneurysm. After testing it with his super deluxe meter, Mr. Sprocket determined it was not long for this world. We have to take it back. He then said, “If we cool it off, it will start again.” We accomplished that and called all around the city to find a Toyota dealer that had our model in stock. So much for trying to save some $$$ on a budget, after market starter. We realize we need to spend the bucks on the bigger, genuine Toyota part.
At 5:00 pm we hit the road for Toyota of Torrance. We took water and a roll of paper towels to cool down the starter just in case we had to stop someplace and turn off the engine, like for dinner. After we picked up the new starter, I found a fabric store in the area and Mr. Sprocket stayed in the car. We didn’t get home until almost 9:30 pm. Ever since then I’ve been sewing, sewing, sewing to get some orders ready to ship tomorrow. That’s my excuse. Tomorrow morning I will hit as many Jo-Ann Fabric Stores as I can to clean up on their annual flannel sale. I bet Kim of Darwin will be doing the exact same thing. Then, it will be back to sewing the next round of orders all weekend. Enough about that. Here is what happened in the Spector trial on Thursday before the holiday break.
When Spector walked down the hallway towards 106, there was someone noticeably absent. It was Rachelle. Now, I did not attend every day of the first trial, but I have to say I believe this is the first time I’ve been to court on this case and she has not been here. Later, someone tells me they think they heard Spector talking to his counsel that she wasn’t feeling well.
Truc is wearing a beautiful gray pant suit. The jacket has a fitted waist and a pronounced flair over the hips. I can’t say it enough. She’s got a great wardrobe. Spector is wearing a black and white kerchief in his jacket pocket; black suit, white shirt. At the moment, his hands are not shaking.
Adriano De Souza is wearing a light blue shirt and a green tie. For now, there is no press in the room. Only me, Jon and San Diego Linda. This makes two days in a row that Linda has taken the two hour train ride to court. She really wanted to see as much of De Souza’s testimony as possible, so this is true dedication.
9:37 am: Cross examination of De Souza continues by Weinberg.
Weinberg states he wants to clarify De Souza’s testimony of his interaction with Spector. Unfortunately, I’m not sure from my notes if Weinberg is verifying prior testimony or if he’s asking new questions. [Yes, I saw the door open ... And at that time, you saw the gun?]
DW: You just stood there when you saw the gun?
DW: You didn’t do anything?
ADS: Not at that time.
Weinberg presents the transcript of his interview with Officers Pineda and Kennedy.
9:39 am: Harriet Ryan and one other public person enters 106.
Jon leans forward and tells me, “Weinberg is mumbling.” I’m not positive, but I’m tending to agree. Jon sits a row behind me but he has much better hearing. He’s heard things at the counsel table that I’ve completely missed. One of the DA’s clerks enters.
DW: Why did you take the Mercedes when your car was there [closer to where he ran down the drive]? [...] Why didn’t you take your own car? [...] Instead of going to your car, you ran back to the Mercedes.
ADS: I don’t know, sir.
DW: You called Michelle Blaine then 911. Is that what Mr. Spector wanted you to do?
I see Sherri slip into the back bench row.
AJ: Objection! Calls for speculation! Objection!
Fidler then explains why this is also improper cross. This is the type of questioning we are hearing. Many times asking “why he did something when there might have been a more “reasonable” thing to do, or suggesting with the question he did something irrational.
Weinberg is now crossing De Souza in detail about the first interview with detectives at the scene before he was taken to the police station.
Juror #5 has an interesting shirt on today. It’s not a t-shirt, but a type of scenic shirt that looks almost to be airbrushed. It also looks brand new. There are stars and stripes across the chest and shoulder area and there are “chopper” motorcycles on the lower part of the shirt that hangs down below his hips. The first thing I think of is, I wonder if this is a commemorative type shirt for the movie Easy Rider. From where I’m sitting I can’t tell if there are the actors from the movie sitting on the choppers or not.
Again, Fidler tells Weinberg in open court that he can’t take prior testimony (Grand Jury; first trial) out of context. This is the second time today. Weinberg comes back to Fidler and says “This is correct cross examination!”. Fidler told him that if he’s going to ask about a particular area, he must read the whole are to present context. When Weinberg balked, Fidler said to him, “I have ruled!”
Weinberg asks a new question and AJ objects again! “I think that misstates the evidence. Doug Sortino clearly states that he was paraphrasing,” AJ says. AJ then reads from the Grand Jury testimony.
Weinberg is now going over again that statement De Souza made. “I think so, I’m not sure, it’s my English.” He’s confronting him with what he said at the first trial, when Bradley Brunon asked him the exact same question.
Weinberg has to be told again that this is improper to read the first trial testimony into the record of this trial. There is a proper way to do it and he’s not doing it.
AJ: Objection! Again. This is improper impeachment.
Fidler: If you want to approach I’ll clear this up.
There’s a bench conference.
Weinberg comes back and asks about the “I think so. I’m not sure, it’s my English” statement again. AJ objects again and AJ say something then Weinberg says something, accusing AJ of editorializing.
Fidler: Lets all sit back and relax and we’ll get through it.
Fidler agrees. Weinberg has to read the entire context. Weinberg must have made a face at that time because Fidler says to him, “I don’t need your facial expressions.”
Weinberg is now asking De Souza questions about his own legal situation and being an illegal immigrant.
10:34 am: Detective Tomlin arrives. He’s always carrying a big,expanding brown file folder. Weinberg presents a document that De Souza says he’s never seen. It’s a letter Doug Sortino wrote on De Souza’s behalf to the INS/ICE to defer De Souza’s deportation. De Souza says he doesn’t know about this. He paid a lawyer to deal with these issues.
Weinberg then presents a letter from Sortino to the ICE requesting permission for De Souza to work while waiting to testify in this trial. Next is a letter to grant permission for De Souza’s mother to come to the US on a non immigrant visa because he was a witness in this case. It was denied.
De Souza states that yes, he would like to remain in the US.
DW: do you believe that your help in this case will help you stay in the US?
ADS: No. My lawyer told me it wouldn’t.
Weinberg goes back over what he thinks Spector said again. There are more and more objections, stating the question misstates the evidence. Weinberg is back over the “it’s my English” statement once again.
10:43 am: The Spector supporter with the white hair arrives .
Weinberg goes over De Souza’s testimony at the last trial. Weinberg now is speaking very fast and lowering his voice! He then say something else but he’s turned his back on the witness as he’s asking the question and he’s clearly mumbling.
AJ: Objection! Mr. Weinberg’s mumbling your honor!
Fidler: I’m sorry sir. You appear to be mumbling and dropping your voice and turning your back on the witness.
Fidler then states something to the effect that even the court reporter can’t understand you. And when Fidler says that, she shake’s her head in agreement.
Weinberg defends his cross examination.
Fidler: I’ve stated what I believe you’re doing.
Weinberg then says he has nothing more for the witness.
AJ stands up to redirect and rehab his witness.
10:47 am: Harried Ryan leaves the courtroom and a moment later we take the morning break.
During the break, Weinberg addresses the judge about proper impeachment. His voice is high and you can tell he is quite irritated! He’s complaining about Fidler’s rulings and that his questions were all proper impeachment; what’s within context and what’s out of context. Oh my! Weinberg is totally pissed at Fidler!
DW: It’s unfair! It’s highly prejudicial in front of the jury!
He goes on to complain about Fidler making him read text that is “fifteen pages down the line” and when he says that I know he’s totally exaggerating because I know Fidler did not rule once on making him read stuff that far afield.
Oh my! I can tell. Fidler looks really pissed!
Fidler: First of all, it is out of context and it is my responsibility to make sure the jury is not misled! Mr. Jackson?
AJ: Nothing further!
Spector greets the white haired man and walks out of court with him.
Jon and I are blown away by that exchange! I catch AJ’s eye in the well after the Judge left the bench and I say to him, “That was amazing!” AJ responds something like, “And I didn’t have anything to do with it!”
The woman who handled all the prosecution’s exhibits in the first trial stops by the courtroom ~I think to drop off something~ and says hello to the Clarkson family. Almost as quickly she leaves and waves goodbye to familiar faces. Someone in the gallery said they had “Never seen anything like it,” referring to the mumbling by Weinberg.
I almost forgot. I’m not sure when this happened ~I’m just remembering it~ it could have been during the break or before court started. Fidler informed the court that one of the jurors indicated that they were unable to see the gun demonstration the defense did so Fidler asks AJ to have De Souza re-demonstrate how Spector was holding the gun.
11:10 am: Break is over and we are on redirect.
Under redirect, De Souza states that he still hasn’t seen his mother in over four years. It’s at this time that AJ has De Souza re-demonstrate how he saw Spector holding the gun when he emerged from the rear of the residence.
AJ is looking around for the bailiff because he’s not in his booth. Once the gun was brought out, the bailiff moved to the back corner beside the jurors near the jury room door. AJ sees him finally and says, “You’re hiding back there!” The bailiff responds, “I’m a little person.” The courtroom breaks out in laughter because the bailiff is a larger man.
Weinberg makes a big deal because at one point De Souza drops his arm and Weinberg wants that noted for the record. De Souza clarifies that he just dropped his arm at that moment, holding the weapon. It had nothing to do with how he saw Spector with the gun.
AJ is starting to read from a transcript and Weinberg objects. Fidler tells counsel to approach the bench. As the bench conference is going on, a tall black man enters and sits in the spot Linda Deutsch usually occupies. A woman with short brown hair enters and sits in the bench row behind me. I can tell she’s not a reporter; she’s general public. Out of the corner of my eye I see her take out a little notebook and start to write.
Bench conference over. AJ brings back the point that at the Grand Jury hearing, Dough Sortino asked him directly what he heard Spector say. “I think I killed somebody.” Jon points out to me that Spector is writing on a notepad again and all I can think about is the hysterical OJ Simpson notebook.
AJ brings up the point that 45 minutes after the incident when De Souza was talking to Officer Pineda, De Souza said the exact same words. “I think I killed somebody.” The tape of that interview, which occurred on the street outside the castle gates is played for the jury. You can hear automobile street noise in the background, and parts of the tape are hard to understand because of the sound of the tape and the background noise. Although the jurors have a copy of the transcript, a transcript is not up up on the ELMO for the rest of the courtroom. I can hear some of Officer Pineda’s questions, but not all. Officer Pineda is a woman.
On the tape, the officers are asking De Souza about where Lana was; questions about where Spector was [standing]. I can hear the officers ask him about calling Michelle Blaine. The jurors are reading along with the audio tape. You can clearly hear dogs barking in the background on the tape.
Spector is leaning away from the defense table and I can just barely see the note paper he’s been writing on. He appears to be reading it now. Then his pen hits the paper and it’s almost like he’s editing it. On Spector’s left wrist is see a blue band, that looks like it’s plastic or hard rubber. His hands appear quite small.
Now the tape is hard to understand. It finally ends.
De Souza states that they were outside the front gate when that conversation took place. AJ would now like to play a video tape of De Souza’s interview at the police station. It’s 11:52 am, and AJ want’s to get started on it because the length of the tape will come up right against when court will end for the day. Court is going to end early it appears. I think a juror has an appointment.
The tape starts and at one and a half minutes in, AJ stops the tape to clarify the surroundings on the video and that Detective Tomlin is just out of camera range. You can barely see his hands in the video. De Souza testifies as to who was sitting where that was outside the line of sight of the video camera. AJ states that since Weinberg asked numerous questions about the “it’s my English....” AJ points to Detective Tomlin in the gallery and asks De Souza:
AJ: Is that Detective Tomlin, the handsome one?
The tape is then started again. Ah, here it is in my notes. They want to play as much of the tape as they can now, because it will come right up against at time that a juror has to leave. A large group of journalism students that came in at the break all leave along with several other people in the room.
11:58 am: Spector intently writes notes on a pad or paper. It looks like he is correcting something. His pen is on the page for a few seconds, then it lifts up and pauses. Then it’s back on the page again for a few seconds. Each time the pen hits the page, it looks like its on a different area of the paper.
The lunch recess is called. Jon takes off for a family vacation and I eat my lunch I brought in the courtroom cafeteria with Sherri and San Diego Linda.
Back inside the courtroom after lunch, Rachelle has arrived. She is wearing something very light colored today; not dark and dreary. Maybe she read the blog where someone said to me she looked dowdy and decided to wear bright colors. It’s a nice outfit. At first I think it’s white and navy blue tiny stripes, seersucker like from where I’m sitting but her accessories are black and white so the suit must be black and white. It’s a very form fitting short sleeved jacket and matching slacks. She’s wearing black and white patent leather heels. It looks like there is a white and black thick bracelet on her left wrist. The jacket has a tight waisted matching fabric belt with white piping around the edge. The short sleeves have little, oh I don’t know what you’d call them, a little flip of white fabric on the lateral edge with a button. With the outfit so light colored and the short sleeve, to me, it looks more feminine than the dark colors she’s been wearing.
As we wait for court to start Spector is turned around in his chair and staring at the gallery again. It could be my imagination but I think he’s staring in my direction so I look away from him and concentrate on the prosecution’s table. A new group of students enter and are tightly packed in the fourth and third rows.
The woman with the short brown hair is back and she’s sitting almost directly behind me now. There’s another public gentleman I’ve never seen before who enters and takes a seat.
1:34 pm: The jury comes back in and De Souza is back on the stand. The prosecution is playing the rest of the interview with De Souza at the Alhambra Police Station. More students enter the courtroom and sit in the second row, surrounding me. One of the PIO staff is here.
AJ addresses the court on some housekeeping matters. The jurors have an uncorrected copy of the audio transcript. Sherri comes in and sits in her usual spot: the back row. AJ states there is a word “shot” on the tape. It was mistyped on the page. Once that’s corrected, the prosecution is going to play the entire interview with De Souza.
My notes are not clear here, but I have AJ redirecting De Souza, having him clarify again about the “I think I killed somebody” statement that he heard Spector say.
Spector turns and faces the ELMO now to watch De Souza’s interview. The courtroom is filled with young students.
1:57 pm: Sandi Gibbons comes in and the sheriff in the back row pulls out a chair for her to sit in near the door. Before they started playing the tape, AJ stated that it was about an hour and fifteen minutes long.
2:08 pm: The students leave the courtroom in masse. The tape is hard to hear. I look over and see Rachelle close her eyes. Fidler is intently focused on the large computer monitor at his desk. I believe the tape also appears on his computer screen. The very pretty ADA who assisted in the first trial comes in and sits in Linda Deutsch’s favorite seat. The jurors don’t watch the screen much. They read along with the transcript.
2:20 pm; A tall, slender man wearing a suit comes in and sits beside Rachelle. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen him before. Certainly not at the retrial. During the playing of the tape, I close my eyes several times. My lack of sleep is really taking it’s toll.
Occasionally a juror looks up at the video but most are reading along with the written transcript. As I look at the time on the video now, about 1 hour in it says 10:38:22 AM, 2-03-03, I wonder when Lana’s family was finally notified. How long did it take to find her family and tell them the terrible news?
At this point on the tape, one of the detectives is telling De Souza, “It will be a high profile case. It will be in the news. His attorney will want to contact you.” Towards the end of the tape, when the detective is advising him, De Souza is asking for advice on what to do, I could swear I heard him sniffle, and see him rub his eyes, as if he might have ben crying...or he just could have been tired. By that time he had been up for over 28 hours.
The tape ends almost exactly at 2:45 pm. The jurors are excused until December 1st at 9:30 am. As the jurors exit the courtroom I see Juror #5’s shirt completely. It IS an Easy Rider shirt! It’s a photo of the two bikes on the road and that is Jack Nicholson on the back of one of the choppers, wearing a football helmet.
Spector greets the man who sat down beside Rachelle. In the courthouse hallway, he poses for a photo with Spector; Rachelle snaps the photo.