Sunday, December 7, 2008

Phil Spector Retrial: Day Fourteen of Testimony

December 4th, 2008

Prosecution Witnesses:

#20 Jaime Lintemoot (LA County Coroner's Office, Senior Criminalist; collected evidence from Clarkson's body at the scene; testimony completed, then recalled to the stand for a second time; testimony completed for the second call)

#21 Robert Keil (Criminalist with the LA County Sheriff's Office; collected evidence in the foyer, downstairs bathroom and the second floor dressing room; testimony completed)

After Robert Keil testified Jaime Lintemoot was recalled to the stand.

#22 Sean Heckers (Alhambra Police Dept. Officer; transported Spector to Alhambra Police Station; performed GSR test on Spector's hands; testimony completed)

Accredited Press in the courtroom: One possible individual in the afternoon session.

The fur was flying in the late afternoon today between the prosecution and the defense, but it all happened outside the presence of the jury. Although there wasn't any yelling and screaming, the tension in the room was quite apparent to the few of us still in the courtroom after the jury went home early. But before I get into that, let me tell you that I was too tired last night to mention in my story yesterday that the prosecution believes it will easily wrap up it's case before the holiday break. And, I learned today that the defense's case will probably not even take three weeks. If the prosecution puts on a rebuttal case, and I have every reason to believe that it will, this case could be settled sometime in late January, depending on what happens in the jury room.

I arrive inside the courtroom around 9:25 am. Spector walked into court this morning wearing an Obama button. It's big, at least 3-4" across. He's not allowed to wear it in the courtroom when the jury is present, so I'm sure it will come off his lapel soon. There are two gentlemen in the row behind me to my left. The second sheriff in the room who sits in the back row in one of the nice padded comfy chairs tells them that reading newspapers or magazines in the courtroom is not allowed. Pat Kelly from the Public Information Office (PIO) is here sitting in the back row. There is someone from the PIO office more often than there is an accredited reporter here. I'm also surprised that Linda from San Diego is here again. The fact that she comes to the trial sometimes twice a week is true dedication. It's a struggle for me to get out the door in time to make the 8:39 am train and my ride is only a half hour.

Jaime Lintemoot is back on the stand under cross. There's a photo up on TMZ of Spector that looks nothing like how Spector appears in court every day. Under the harsh florescent lights his hair is dark brown and scraggly. And his face has some strange angles to it now that don't show up in the photo.

As the jury files in Alternate #18 is coughing and it's clear she needs some water or something. But she sits down and court starts soon after. Weinberg is bringing us back to where he left off in his cross of Lintemoot and questions about blood spatter. He's trying to get a clarification from the witness about where she observed the blood spatter on Clarkson's hands and wrists. We wait a moment for an exhibit to be brought up on the ELMO and Jennifer Barringer can't get the image to load. We wait for her to try to figure out what's wrong. Juror #18 is struggling again not to cough, and another juror, I think it's the Asian woman #16, speaks up and asks Fidler if number #18 can go to the restroom. Fidler says, "Certainly." As she gets up to go, Fidler addresses Weinberg, "The pressure is off," meaning, he's been given a reprieve to get the computer glitch fixed. I can almost hear #18 coughing in the jury room and just as I make that note Juror #1 raises her hand and asks Judge Fidler if she can go in and get the juror some lozenges. "Certainly! Of course!" he replies.

AJ has been struggling to fight off a cold and a bit of a cough for about four weeks now. Jennifer, still working on getting that image up says, "I think I'm going to wear a mask." AJ responds, "I knew I was going to get blamed for this."

When the jurors get back in the jury box Weinberg tells them, "I appreciate the timing."

Lintemoot is adamant. She can't say for sure where the spots [blood spatter] were based on that photograph. She's certain there were more than two, but doesn't recall the number of spots. Weinberg outlines several spots on Clarkson's right hand but Lintemoot can't say from the photo if those were blood spots. She clarifies that she swabbed the hand as an external stain.

Weinberg now puts up a photo of Clarkson's left hand and questions Lintemoot in detail about an elongated stain. He wants her to say that it is spatter with a directionality but she won't commit to any of that. He's also trying to get her to say the spatter was not on the lateral edge, but she says she can't testify to that either.

Now there are numerous questions about GSR, which is known shorthand for gunshot residue. My education about GSR began when I first heard Steven Dowell testify at the Robert Blake murder trial. GSR is made up of three particles: lead, barium and antimony. When studied under a special scanning electron microscope, a GSR particle that contains all three elements is considered "highly specific" to GSR. If the particle contains one or only two of the elements it is labeled by criminalists "consistent with" GSR. That's because lead can be found in several items besides GSR, and having single lead particles on you is not necessarily a slam dunk that the particle came from the firing of a weapon.

Weinberg shows that photograph of a revolver being fired and a big cloud of smoke and gases ("copious amounts" were Weinberg's description) surrounding the weapon. There are questions about the various areas of the gun that GSR could "escape" from the chamber. Lintemoot testifies that burnt and unburnt gunpowder is also inside the cloud. Lintemoot describes again how she used the GSR Kit "sticky discs" on Clarkson's hands as well as what the discs look like. Weinberg asks, "The examiners wouldn't know exactly what area of the sticky disc would pick up from what area of the hand?" "That's correct,"Lintemoot responds.

But think about this question for a moment. A sticky disc is nothing more than sticky tape at the end of flat piece that has a handle on top. To perform the test kit, the criminalist touches various parts of the index finger down to the palm of the hand and the back of the hand. How would "where" a GSR particle landed on someone's hand make any whit of difference? The kits' goal is to determine if it can be found. Not to determine which microscopic particle was found on what millimeter of someone's hand. The question tries to lead you to believe that something is wrong because the question can not be determined. That is the nature of how Weinberg cross examines the prosecution's witnesses. It's my opinion that Weinberg is a master at obfuscation.

A tall black man enters carrying a back pack. He sits in the back row. Spector watches the images on the ELMO. His back is turned to the jurors. From my position I can't really tell if he is looking up at the screen or not.

Lintemoot describes a "tape lift." It's a 5" x 7" piece of sticky tape attached to a plastic backing. Once the tape lift is placed on the area to try to lift evidence it's then placed back on the plastic backing. Lintemoot performed a tape lift on the abdomen area of Clarkson's dress. Weinberg's next question implies that a tape lift is somewhat intrusive. Lintemoot states that in general, criminalists avoid areas that are wet. A photo of the tape lift is put up on the ELMO. Lintemoot states she doesn't know if the spots lifted on the tape lift were blood or not.

Weinberg asks, "This is a surface that has some wet on it, correct?" Lintemoot replies, "No obvious wet." Weinberg asks, [about the tape lift] "It was being criticized?" There was a meeting at the Coroner's Office where questions were raised about the policy of doing the tape lift. The tape lift could have contaminated the blood spatter analysis. Lintemoot states that if she didn't perform the tape lift, the fibers [that she observed on the dress in the abdomen area] could have been lost.

Cross ends and redirect begins.

Truc asks if the Sheriff's crime lab had a question about the evidence. Lintemoot states, "I believe there were questions. some people say they were criticisms." The defense's photo of a smoke cloud surrounding a gun is put back up and Lintemoot testifies that there are several factors that determine the size and components of a gas cloud that a gun emits. She testifies that GSR can be wiped off the hands through washing them or it can come off through contact of putting one's hands in pockets.

Two black suited gentlemen enter and sit in the third row. They nod acknowledgment to the back pack carrying man in the back row. A few people enter with lanyards around their necks. One woman I've seen in the building before.

Lintemoot states she did not see any obvious blood stains on the slip [dress], so she went ahead and performed the tape lift. It did not appear to be wet. Truc puts up a photo of Clarkson seated in the chair and Lintemoot points out on the image precisely where she did the tape lift. Lintemoot states again that she's not an expert in blood spatter analysis.

Another gentleman wearing a white shirt and tie enters just as the two suited black men leave.

Redirect is over and Weinberg then recrosses the witness on GSR again. Lintemoot gives an example that GSR is a lot like glitter. "If you have glitter on your hands and you shake someone's' hand you can leave glitter on their hands." Weinberg asks, "Some [GSR] would fall away but most would transfer to a cloth?" Lintemoot responds, "I can't say that."

Blood spatter is brought up again. Weinberg asks her a question again about where the spatter was found on Clarkson's wrists and hands. It's a question he asked earlier in cross and Lintemoot stated during the first time that where Weinberg was describing was incorrect. He was demonstrating on his own hand and trying to say that the blood did not extend beyond the mid line of the back side of the hand. That the blood she observed was more in the thumb edge area.

All the time when the prosecution and the defense were trying to be anatomically correct about describing "where" the blood was on the back of the hands and writs that Lintemoot said she observed at the scene, I was biting my tongue because I wanted to raise my hand to say, "I can give you the correct terms! I know the proper directional anatomy." One of the words Lintemoot used to describe the lateral edge was "exterior." That's a poor term. It either dorsal (hand backside) or palmar. The edge of the hand/wrist along the thumb is called the lateral edge. The side associated with the pinkie fingers is the medial edge.

Weinberg tries to narrow down again that the only thing she found on the hands was blood, not fibers and that the blood was only on the medial (wrong term) half area of the back side of the hands. Lintemoot responds, "Correct." I immediately knew that when Lintemoot answered correct, she had to have been confused by the question and that this answer contradicted what she said earlier, and contradicted her testimony in the first trial. And, I knew exactly what Weinberg's purpose was. If Clarkson was holding the gun towards herself with both hands, a thumb on the trigger and her fingers grasping the handle, the only part of her hands and wrists that would be exposed to the direction of her face and ultimately the blood spatter would be that lateral edge of her hand and wrist. This would be Weinberg's "proof" that the blood spatter on Clarkson's hands supports a finding of suicide.

Amazingly, there's no redirect of this witness to clear up this, to me, glaring error and the next witness is called to the stand.

Truc presents the next witness. Robert Keil walks with a slight limp as he takes the stand. He is a senior criminalist with the LA County Sheriff's Department and is currently assigned to the Scientific Services Bureau. He gives a brief CV. During 2002 through 2003 he worked for trace evidence collection to respond to scenes and the collection of evidence. Trace evidence could be virtually anything.

I see out of the corner of my eye that Sherri enters the courtroom and sits in the back row. AJ leans in and speaks to Truc, apologizes to Judge Fidler and then leaves the courtroom. Keil testifies that he collected mostly non-blood related items from the scene. A few moments later, AJ reenters the courtroom. A man with a walker enters and sits on the very edge of the third bench row. It's an older black man, and the jacket he's wearing appears to have a USPS postal eagle patch on the shoulder. Keil states that when he entered the residence, he did not see the weapon by Ms. Clarkson. He believes it was already collected. He observed the white tooth material on Ms. Clarkson's body that Jaime Lintemoot collected. A casually dressed white man enters and sits in the back row.

The items that Keil collected are presented. The images at the scene with the evidence number placards are put up on the ELMO and the witness identifies everything he collected. He collected item #4, the thumb latch lock that was on the floor by the back door. He wore gloves to collect evidence. He collected item #5 which was pieces of cosmetic dental material and pieces of wood by the stairwell wall.

1o:45 am: The morning recess is called. Weinberg approaches AJ and Truc to speak. Afterwards, I watch AJ and Truc whisper back and forth. I can't make out what they're saying but it's obvious that AJ is very animated and quite possibly upset. He's gesturing with his hands and pointing to the hands. Now it's obvious. AJ is very upset and he's shaking his head. I'm betting this is all about the "correct" that Weinberg elicited from Lintemoot about where she found the blood spatter on Clarkson's hands and wrist areas. I'm thinking that he might have to clear this up through another witness, or maybe call Lintemoot back to the stand.

At the break, Truc leaned into Mrs. Clarkson and apologized to her for having to show such graphic photos of her daughter. While she's apologizing, I can see out of the far corner of my eye that Spector is turned towards our direction, staring. Looking over at Rachelle, I see that she's wearing a pair of glasses again. At 11:00 am the jury is called back into the courtroom. When the jury enters, Juror #18 appears to be a bit better but I think she's still suffering.

Keil testifies that to collect item # 5 he got down on his hands and knees and used a pair of forceps to pick up the items. He then goes through and identifies the next items he collect via the photos up on the ELMO. Items #10 and #11 on the stairs. He collected items from the bathroom but NOT the bloody rag [diaper] on the floor in front of the toilet. "I did observe it appeared to be wet and had blood on it."

Keil testifies that he went to the second floor and in the dressing room area found the jacket on the floor. He closely examined it and noted there was blood. He contacted Detective Lillienfeld and got an item number for the jacket. After it was photographed in n place he picked it up and noticed more blood on the front of the jacket. He performed a Kastle-Meyer (KM)
test on the jacket for blood. He describes the blood stain on the jacket as being a fine mist. He identifies a crime lab photo of the jacket and then his direct is finished.

During cross Keil states how long he's been with the Sheriff's Department and that he's familiar with the personnel there. He verifies that he saw other personnel at Spector's residence. There are several questions about his arrival at the scene, what time he entered and how he entered the residence. To his best memory, he arrived before the coroner's people arrived. He believes the coroner's staff arrived slightly after he did. He states again that he doesn't remember seeing the firearm. Again he states that they came after him and he didn't initially see them i the residence.

Keil did not write an individual report of his work at the scene. He was there as an assistant to Renteria. However, his hand written notes were included in Steve Renteria's official report. He states that the lowest number of evidence he collected was #4. In collecting the lock lever, he did not examine this particular lock lever. He agrees with Weinberg that they are normally screwed in.

Regarding the positioning on the floor of the lock lever, Weinberg asks the witness to speculate on it's location.

DW: It's consistent with it landing if it just fell off the door?

Objection! Calls for speculation. The objection is sustained.

There's another question and that one is objected to also. Fidler says, "That's speculation."

Weinberg still tries to make the point that the lock lever would be three feet away from the door if the door was closed.

DW: Do you have any way of knowing whether the tooth fragments hit the wood stairwell? [...] You have no facts....?

Objection! Fidler asks the witness directly about this and he replies that he doesn't not know how the trajectory of the tooth fragment [fell]. He states that the items on the stairs are approximately 12 to 15 feet away from Ms. Clarkson, "As the crow flies."

He asks about the eyelashes he collected. "Was there anything about them that made it appear there was nothing else other than they had been intentionally placed there?"

Keil states that he did not inspect the toilet. When he went upstairs, no one accompanied him. He was largely by himself. To his knowledge, he did not know if any one else had been through the area or not [before him]. Keil acknowledged that not all the clothing in the dressing area was "carefully arranged." "There were other pieces of clothing thrown around?" Weinberg asks. "Yes," Keil replies. He took possession of the jacket and placed it in an evidence bag.

DW: As soon as you saw the blood on it you knew it was going and put it in an evidence bag?"

RK: Correct.

He did not find any blood upstairs [in any other location]. He inspected trash cans and inspected the bathrooms upstairs. And then a series of questions to Keil, rapid fire. Did you see anything that appeared to be thrown away or hidden? Did you see anything that appeared to be secreted or destroyed? Weinberg asks Keil these questions several different ways about the upstairs rooms and bathrooms.

Weinberg then moves onto the living room area. Keil went into the living room and states that he saw the alcohol. More rapid fire questions about the living room. Did you find anything that indicated a struggle? Did anything appear [that there was] an attempt to hide, throw anything away?

Then the bar area off the living room is shown up on the ELMO. "Is this the way you found it?" Weinberg asks. "Yes," Keil responds. Weinberg asks if there is a sink at the bar, and if there was anything to lead him to believe that something was "washed down the sink. "Did you see anything that suggested anyone, [or there showed evidence to] destroy anything?" "No," Keil testifies.

That's it for cross and Truc stands up to redirect her witness.

TD: How certain are you that the coroner's arrived after you?

RK: Not very.

Truc shows him the evidence log, that an individual from the coroner's office arrived at 5:30 pm, about a half hour before he did. He still doesn't recall seeing the weapon by Clarkson's foot/calf when he arrived. He doesn't remember looking for it or seeing it in place. His focus was not on the body. Renteria was at the location prior to him for several hours.

Keil states that he looked at all items in general in the area of the dressing room. He examined them visually and some were tested with the KM test. He didn't test other areas and not the toilet.

Truc is finished with redirect and Weinberg wants to cross this witness again.

DW: Where was the sign up sheet?

RK: The sign up was at the gate entry to the property.

Weinberg asks him about the coroner's staff being detained for some time before they were allowed into the residence. Weinberg then asks about the gun again and testifying at the last trial.

A short, older balding man in casual clothes enters. He has a notepad in hand and I can tell he has a copy of the prosecution's motion that I obtained from Sandi Gibbons the evening before. I believe I've seen this man before at the first trial, and I think he is a member of the accredited press but I do not know if he's with a paper or with a radio station.

Keil's last statement on the stand is, "My understanding is the gun was picked up but I didn't see it." There's no redirect so we are finished with this witness. Fidler rules that we will take our lunch break ten minutes early rather than start with another witness.

After the jurors enter the jury room, I see Spector turn in his seat and look at the gallery. Fidler enters his chambers and then comes out to show a magazine cover to AJ. It appears to be the magazine Lawyers, and the cover has a large photo on the front and the word TAZERS. Holding the magazine Fidler states, "All you need to know."

I'm late getting back into the courtroom after lunch. Sherri and I went over to the underground city and on the way back I got a pair of trouser stockings because my legs felt a bit cold with my short socks. I changed into them before I went back into the courtroom. The first think I notice is Jaime Lintemoot is back on the stand. The prosecution recalled her. As I sit down to try to quickly take a note, Truc is stating there was some confusion as to where the blood spatter was on Clarkson's hands and wrists. She's finished and I don't know if this is redirect or direct since I was 10 minutes late.

Weinberg gets up to cross and asks Lintemoot how it came about that she is now on the stand again.

DW: You're are a senior technician and you try to do a good job?

JL: Yes, I do.

DW: Did you tell anyone to photograph the back of the wrist?

Weinberg is insinuating with his questions that she is some how to blame that the photographer did not adequately take enough photos of Clarkson's hands. There is only one photograph of her left hand that is presented into evidence and it's more of a side shot of the lateral side of the hand wrist, and the coroner's tag held beside the hand covers the fingers. It seems to me that Weinberg has a perturbed tone to his voice. Lintemoot states that she does not know if the photographer was forensically trained or not. She states that she directed photos to be taken [of the hands], but she does not know what [all] photos were taken. Weinberg is confronting her on the fact that there is no photo of the "back" (dorsal) of Clarkson's hand.

Under redirect, Truc goes over her prior testimony about the blood spatter on the hands. There is a short recross and then she is off the stand.

AJ presents the next witness, Sean Heckers, an officer with Alhambra Police Department. He's been with Alhambra for 13 years. Officer Heckers is wearing a suit. He's not in uniform. At the time of the shooting, he was assigned to field operations as a patrol officer. He was coming onto day shift at 6 am on February 3rd, 2003. He was asked to "suit up and assist with a call" at 1700 Grandview. To "suit up" means to put on his uniform. He drove to the scene in his patrol car. He went to the scene with his partner, Derek Gilliam. They were both dressed as officers. Heckers states he was there at the scene as an additional body. Sergeant Gary Lagnard was also there.

"Shortly after afterwards, I was asked to transport the individual in the back of the patrol car," Heckers testifies.

The balding man I think is accredited press is back in the courtroom.

Heckers identifies several photos of the residence on the ELMO. He states that when he arrived Spector was being detained at that time. He transported him back to the Alhambra Police station in the police car Spector was already seated in, not the car he arrived in. When they arrived at Alhambra station he escorted him back to the holding cell area. There are bench seats there and he seated him at a bench seat. Heckers then performed a GSR test on Spector's hands. He explains the GSR kit that they are round cylinders with a cap. After completing the test he booked them into evidence. Heckers testifies that during the transport he smelled alcohol on Spector. And that's the end of Heckers direct testimony.

Under cross, Heckers states that he didn't know who had the vehicle before him or where it had been. Question after question after question of Heckers asked him if he remembered Spector being handcuffed. He didn't. Weinberg tries to get him to admit that Spector was handcuffed but he's firm. He doesn't remember if Spector was handcuffed. Weinberg puts the full image polaroid photos of Spector with his pants pockets turned inside out and Heckers states, that yes, he's handcuffed in that photo but he still doesn't specifically recall Spector being handcuffed.

Under redirect, AJ asks if Heckers took the photos and he states he did not. He states he doesn't know where the photos were taken. And then that's it for this witness. It's 2:10 pm and the prosecution has run out of witnesses. Fidler informs the jury that this sometimes happens. The jury goes back into the jury room and the court reporters make their change. Spector, Rachelle and their lone bodyguard leave the courtroom. Since this will be a hearing outside the presence of the jury, he waives his right to appear. Unfortunately, the second court reporter can't get her computer that's attached to her reporting machine to work and we sit for about ten minutes or so waiting for a reporter to get their machine up and running. There's lots of chatter in the well and a bit in the gallery while the court reporter tries to get things going. Fidler jokes about the old machines and how they didn't have this problem. AJ and Truc pack up their computers and huge case binders. The defense also packs up and Jennifer Barringer leaves. The bailiff's then escort the jury out of the jury room. One of the DA's clerks brings copies of the people's motion to AJ and Truc.

This is where the real fireworks begin. Fidler says to the court, "Back on the record with the dueling discovery requests. Let the charges begin. Who wants to go first?"

Weinberg is the first to speak. Again he states that he never received any documentation from the prosecution on any witness who has testified in the retrial. Truc Do speaks up and reminds Mr. Weinberg that before Officer Cardella testified she e-mailed him about his statement. She also states that Weinberg got notification from Mr. Jackson about Jennings and Melvin. Ms. Do asks him to point out specifically where the witnesses testified to things that he was not made aware of before trial. "It's not like Mr. Jackson and I sat down with each witness before they testified again." Truc states that she is new to this trial and many times the first time she has even met the witness has been either the day before or right before they are about to testify. "If there are witnesses that he can point out to where there are changes [we'd like to hear them]."

Weinberg then gives Jaime Lintemoot's testimony. "Now Cardella. He didn't say what was in his report. [...] Riggs testimony about moving the head." Weinberg again brings up for the third time Dr. Lynne Herold and that she did some more experiments and we don't have what she's going to say on that.

AJ then speaks about Dr. Herold. I remember when AJ mentioned to Weinberg about Dr. Herold. It was in the well area and it was brief. He described exactly what it was about. Weinberg only had one question at for AJ at the time at it was, "Will it change her testimony?" AJ told him at the time, no. It's just an experiment she did with measurements. It appeared that Weinberg was satisfied with that response at the time. AJ tells the court that "Mr. Weinberg has access to Dr. Herold and he can sit down and talk with her. [...] Mr. Weinberg wants a script before we begin. [...] I don't know what it is he wants. I haven't spoken to Steven Renteria [about the case] except to say hello in a hallway, or anyone else."

Weinberg then says "Mr. Jackson knows what discovery is. [...] I didn't know I could talk to Dr. Herold. I have no idea about a measurement or what measurement."

And back and forth it goes between both sides. The prosecution insisting there is nothing else that they have to hand over, and Weinberg insisting the prosecution has made discovery violations. At some point, Judge Fidler states that I'm sure you can call up Dr. Herold, and with a laughing tone to his voice mentions something to the effect that Dr. Herold will talk to just about anyone who calls her up. AJ mentions something about that it has to do with how Dr. Herold determined the exact distance of items from Ms. Clarkson's body because she knew the height of Ms. Clarkson's body.

Ms. Do speaks up and says something to the effect that she want's to make it clear that it is not the way Mr. Weinberg has painted it. There is a tactic by Mr. Weinberg to deflect away from the discovery violations that the people have filed against him. Either AJ or Ms. Do mention the Jaime Lintemoot demonstration.

After hearing the arguments Judge Fidler states, "Based on everything I've heard, the prosecution has not made any discovery violations." He then goes on to state that if there is a problem in Mr. Weinberg communicating with Dr. Herold, then her statements about the measurements should be put in writing.

AJ then presents their motion to the court. He mentions a name of a woman I have not heard before, who would testify to counteract De Souza's testimony. The name I believe I hear is Elizabeth Loftless. Later on in the hearing it's mentioned that she is a psychologist. AJ then mentions Weinberg's opening argument and the several times he alluded to the impulsivity of suicide and details about the specifics of suicide.

Weinberg states that regarding Dr. Richard Seiden, "We have nothing." I intend to but I haven't yet. I've just consulted with him."

AJ states that it's obvious he's consulted with him. And we find out that he did have a meeting with Mr. Seiden. AJ states he feels that this is gamesmanship by the defense. Then there's the fees.

Mr. Weinberg replies, "I won't characterize Mr. Jackson's argument. I'll just respond to it." And as he's speaking, his tone is so "nice." He's not yelling or screaming but I'm just left with the sense that something isn't "right" with what he's saying. I can’t put my finger on it why I don’t believe Weinberg. Weinberg is arguing that he shouldn't have to provide the fee info. He doesn't feel he should. He argues that the prosecution wants to know the fee information so they know which witnesses will testify so they will know what the defense case in chief will be. Weinberg says that "They came to Seiden because of an article that appeared in (I believe) a local paper on impulsive suicides and we reached out to him. [...] The information I gave the jury about suicide was general information [..] what everyone know is out there. [...] I think I have moved with more than what I'm required to do."

Weinberg insists that, "I don't know if I'm going to call him [the suicideologist] because I don't know what they're [the people] going to do. [..] And although we have consulted with Dr. Loftless, I don't think we are going to call her."

Weinberg is shrewd. It's an interesting argument but I don't think it holds any weight at all. Weinberg is trying to say that he doesn't know what Dr. Pena is going to say on the stand. What a bunch of crap. Did he not read the first trial? Didn't Dr. Pena state that he ruled the death a homicide in the first trial? He's not going to suddenly change his testimony and say oops, I made a mistake; it's a suicide. Weinberg has read the first trial transcript. He forkin''' well knows what Dr. Pena is going to say. This was just a big stall not to turn over his discovery.

AJ refutes Weinberg's statements. "Mr. Weinberg continues to say that this is only a tactic to see what our case is going to be. But that's exactly what 1054 [discovery] entitles the people to. [...] That's the rule of the law of the land."

AJ continues about the suicideologist. In regards to Mr. Seiden, all the documentation from the coroner's office was sent to Dr. Seiden's office. AJ finds it hard to believe that Mr. Weinberg has not communicated with him at least by e-mail. He believes they have exchanged e-mails and that he's met with him.

Weinberg defends his actions. "There's no great secret here." He tells the court that the documents were sent to Dr. Seiden two weeks ago. Ms. Do speaks up and says, "Now we're hearing that he sent documents two weeks ago. [...] He told us during jury selection that he sent the packet then. [...] We're not going to have any more conversations [with the defense] off the record."

The issue is, both sides are entitled to discovery 30 days before the witness takes the stand. Weinberg states that Dr Seiden goes on vacation in mid December and would not be available until January 25th. With the way the prosecution's case is going, they are going to wrap up in four or five more witnesses, in another week or so. (I don't think that's correct and I think it will be longer.) The only other date Dr. Seiden could testify is December 17th. That would not give the people their 30 days to prepare for the witness.

Fidler now feels he has enough information to rule. He has to balance the obligation of people verses the latitude of the defense. Fidler states that refusing to let a witness testify is tantamount to "judicial suicide." So once the discovery from Weinberg is turned over, if the people state that they are not ready for this witness then the case will take a break and they will go on recess. That's Fidler's remedy. Weinberg informs the prosecution that he will have the discovery for them tomorrow, either written or oral. Fidler states that, "His [experts] fees are a part of the report." Fidler orders Weinberg to turn over the fees his experts have been paid.

Weinberg states that he has a problem with that. "They [people's experts] don't have to disclose how they are paid. [...] All we know are 100-75 names on a list." Weinberg believes the fees can be revealed through cross. He doesn't believe they are required to turn them over as a part of discovery. Fidler responds, "Once you make the decision that they're being called, you are obligated to turn over the fees."

Weinberg doesn't let it go. He has two problems with this fees matter. "Because now that reveals to the prosecution who they are going to call. [...] It reveals defense strategy. I will respectfully decline and take a writ." Fidler says, I believe a fee is a part of an expert's report." I respect your opinion, [but I disagree with it]."

AJ says, "I would expect the court for notice of the writ." (Meaning, order him to get it done within a date.) Fidler requests the defense to prepare it "as soon as possible." Weinberg states that Mr. Riordan will be working on the writ.

Weinberg then has one notice for the court. Mr. Spector needs surgery as soon as possible on his vocal cords. Fidler acknowledges that when he heard Mr. Spector speak (yesterday? today?) that he noticed the raispiness in his voice. They are requesting a Friday and Monday off. Fidler says, "Of course." The dates they will take off is not stated in court at this time.

I waited for the prosecution to exit the courtroom so I could ask them, "What is a writ?" Truc Do does her best to explain it to me. A writ is an appeal of a judge's ruling while the case is ongoing. If the writ is accepted by the upper courts for review, the case stops until the upper courts decision is reached. That's my understanding of what I was told. When I researched "writ" on the net, for law it basically means a written order issued by a court. After more digging, I believe Truc was explaining to me a writ of certiorari, but I could easily be wrong about that.

Court resumes Monday morning at 9:30 am.

P.S. I almost forgot! I gave a radio interview with Marc Germain of Talk Radio One about my coverage of the Spector case on Thursday evening. You can listen to the broadcast at this link. I'm about 40 minutes into the first hour. Mr. Germain asked me to be back on the show this coming Tuesday at 9:00 pm. I have to thank Steven Mikulan of the LA WEEKLY for mentioning my trial coverage to Marc.

12 comments:

christine said...

Unbelievably great report of the day's proceedings.

I did not find a link to your interview?

christine said...

ignore my previous comment about the link, I found it!

Anonymous said...

Fidler enters his chambers and then comes out to show a magazine cover to AJ. It appears to be the magazine Lawyers, and the cover has a large photo on the front and the word TAZERS. Holding the magazine Fidler states, "All you need to know."
______________
I'm supposing this is legal? I realize that judges see the same prosecutors over and over again and develop some rapport, but ~ somehow it just doesn't seem right that the prosecution and the judge can have such an "intimate" relationship that the judge gives them "helpful hints?"

Sprocket said...

Anon @ 2:00pm:

I could be wrong, but I think you missed the point. And I did not fully describe the scene, which I think would give you a better understanding of what transpired. Judge Fidler is speaking from off to the side of the bench area. He had just reemerged from his chanbers area. He was not sitting at his bench but standing right beside it between the bench and the entry to his chambers.

This was done off the record and in a joking manner. The jury was not in the courtroom. Both counsel were in the courtroom at the time. Mr. Weinberg wasn't "excluded." It appeared to me that Fidler was showing the issue in the direction of AJ, but Weinberg clearly saw the cover. It was a magazine for lawyers and AJ and Weinberg are lawyers.

Mrs B said...

Oh My Gosh, . . . I just finished listening to your interview with Marc. It was excellent. You did an awesome job. Very interesting and you were very well spoken, you did NOT sound nervous at all. It was excellent & I look forward to your next radio chat with Talk Radio One. And if "blogging" doesn't keep your interest, I suggest you try giving RADIO a shot, because you did GREAT! Also . . . THANKS for the excellent post of DAY 14. Thanks for all the details, they are greatly appreciated. Do you perhaps know the order of the next few witnesses by the prosecution?

Sprocket said...

Mrs B,

Thank you very much. I do not know the next order of witnesses, but I'm guessing it's more forensic testimony, because that's all that's left. Take your pick. Steven Dowell, Steve Renteria, James Carroll, Dr. Herold. I'm making a guess ~ I have no inside info ~ that the prosecution will end with Dr. Pena.

I was also emailed by some kind individual who told me I was incorrect on the writ. The type of writ is called a writ of mandate or mandumus. Now I have to go look that up lol!

Sprocket said...

Thanks so much for those of you that have emailed me with information on Elizabeth Loftus and Dr. Richard Seiden. (The correct spelling really helps.)

Like I mention in the entry, Weinberg said during the afternoon motion hearing on Thursday that they will most likely "not" call Ms. Loftus.

It's my opinion that she would not have much to work with regarding De Souza's testimony. It's not as if there were several different witnesses who remembered the event of Spector emerging from the rear of the residence. I think De Souza is the heart of the case and the defense was unable (imho) to put many chinks in his testimony.

Seiden will be a new element in the defense case that was not part of Spector 1. I'm betting we will get some mainstream press that will want to hear what he has to say, when he takes the stand.

Again, thank you everyone for your encouraging words of support. It makes those hard benches in Fidler's courtroom a bit easier to take.

liz said...

Many thanks also from me - it's great to be able to visit T&T for the latest information.

I had a query on this comment
"Weinberg then has one notice for the court. Mr. Spector needs surgery as soon as possible on his vocal cords"

Does anybody know for how long he would have/has had a problem? Is it something that suddenly happens, or would it be something that he could have had operated on some time ago?

Sprocket said...

liz:

His voice has been very raspy for sometime. (What I've overheard him speak during breaks, etc.) More so this trial than last. It's been getting worse and worse.

Do we know for sure when Spector first went to see a doctor about the condition and was told to have surgery? No.

When he found out, did he do like he does when paying bills and procrastinate? Probably.

I doubt it's something the prosecution could look into though.

Mort Snerd said...

They can drag that belching, smoking gun out all they want, it is NOT a modern weapon. Modern weapon use "Smokeless" powder, guess why they call it "Smokeless"? Completely different firing patterns and the old "black powder" does not contain either Barium or Antimony.
Black powder is made from Charcoal, Potassium Nitrate and Sulfur. How can lawyers perpetuate such deception? Why don't they go for broke and use a Civil war cannon? Grumble, mumble....

Anonymous said...

Weinberg is a sleazebag and not nearly as smart as he thinks he is. He's gonna lose this case big time.

Liz said...

Thanks for the reply Sprocket - probably as well he gets it sorted while he can still chose his own doctor.

Your knowledge of weapons is always appreciated Mort - many thanks