February 18th, 2009
#9 Eric Poticha (TV/Film producer whose incorrectly spelled forged name was on a letter Ms. Clarkson created; testimony complete)
#10 Detective Richard Tomlin (LA Co. Sheriff, Homicide Division, lead detective on the case; direct examination finished)
Accredited Press inside the courtroom: Harriet Ryan of The Los Angeles Times, possibly other unidentified press
This is a brief summary until I get a chance to put up my detailed notes.
In the overall balance, I don't think the defense accomplished much by putting Mr. Poticha on although I understand why they did. They wanted the witness to state on the stand that he did not write that letter and that he did not give Lana permission to forge his name. It's my opinion that Mr. Poticha's testimony did little to forward the defense theory that Lana committed suicide. The fact that Lana forged his name on a letter she presented to Mr. Hugo Quackenbush was muted by Mr. Poticha's testimony that most of the information in the forged letter was an accurate description of statements he had made to Ms. Clarkson. Poticha also testified that he gave Lana permission to use his name.
Detective Richard Tomlin was called to the stand. Weinberg went over several of the witnesses that Tomlin interviewed, specifically Dorothy Melvin, Stephanie Jennings and Adriano De Souza. Many of Weinberg's questions to Tomlin centered around statements witnesses testified to on the stand, but the witness never told him those statements during his interviews. Weinberg questioned Tomlin's thoroughness in his duties by not confronting Adriano De Souza with his inconsistent statements prior to his videotaped interview.
During direct examination, Weinberg asked Tomlin questions about his recent visit to Spector's home to listen to the volume/sound of the fountain and if he thought it was the "same" as on the night in question.
Afterwards, Judge Fidler addressed the jurors about the site visit tomorrow. "We are not going sight-seeing. We are going for a specific purpose and there are (certain things we will be looking at) and how it will be done. [...] The scene is an extension of the courtroom and the court reporter will be present." Fidler states that he will be in his robes and there will be other people there that they may not recognize. Judge Fidler stressed several times to the jurors, "We are not recreating the night in question. We heard some questions already about the fountain. [...] We are not trying to recreate the night in question. [...] (This is to) give you the opportunity to review the spacial relationships (of the space) because photos don't always (show it and to show you select areas). [...] If you have questions, because of the nature of a jury view, you can submit them in writing. [...] (Understand that I have to go over the questions with the attorneys.) You may not get a question answered. Don't take it personally if a question is not answered. [...] We will have two members of the media present (because this is an extension of the courtroom and the courtroom is open to the public). [...] It is a media event to some degree and there will be a helicopter overhead. [...] Despite my enormous power, don't control the air space. [...] The weather will be in the 70's. [...] The viewing will start around 10 am and should take about an hour."
Judge Fidler states that there will be certain exhibits that have already been introduced. It's not a recreation. Juror #1 raises her hand and asks if they will give their questions in writing to the clerk, Wendy. Fidler asks the jurors if their numbers are on their notebooks. He tells them that (the court) they will bring their notebooks for them. They are to meet in the parking lot at 8:45 am.
Court is over for the day and will resume inside 106 at 1:30 pm, tomorrow. I've made a last-minute decision to attend the press briefing at the staging area after the jurors are finished with the viewing.
Since some of you have asked about the status of the perjury accusation against James Pex. I've found out some information for you. If charges are brought by the DA, most likely it would not be initiated until after the trial is over. AJ and Truc and the staff who worked on this case would not be involved in the decision process at all.
As far as the discovery violation goes, it's my understanding that the prosecution is still reviewing the different options that are available to them and the possible remedies they might wish to pursue via motions. It's not clear if/when this issue will be litigated. Keep in mind that although the prosecution discovered Pex's lie (about the September 3rd experiment photos in the power point presentation) overnight and before AJ started his cross, they chose to go forward with cross instead of presenting their findings to the court, beforehand. Do you think that was the correct path to follow, or do you think a better tactic would have been to present their findings to the Judge first, before cross? I'd like to hear your thoughts on this.
February 18th, 2009: Detailed notes added February 22nd, 2009
9:27 am: I'm inside 106. Weinberg greets what I think is the next witness. Cindy is the court reporter. The black, Spector supporter with a goatee is back sitting in the second row. Rachelle is wearing a bright, salmon colored jacket with a design of several pin tucks around the lower sleeve and around the jacket lapel and collar.Tawni Tyndall arrives with a very young "hip" looking woman wearing black converse high-tops and carrying an overly large silver lame handbag.
9:34 am: Detective Tomlin enters 106. A man comes in whom Josh, the DA's clerk greets and then he just as quickly steps out again. Truc Do is wearing a skirt and jacket suit where from here the color appears to be a grayish-green. The florescent lighting could also be playing a number on my eyes. The next defense witness will be EricPoticha.
Poticha is currently self employed as an independent producer of TV and films. He's been in the industry for fifteen years. In 2001 he was working at Fox TV studios in the TV/Pictures division. The entity at the time was called FOX NETWORK.Poticha knew Lana. He met her socially through Punkin Pie. They hung out socially at the Backstage Cafe. Pie was an events promoter. His relationship with Lana blossomed into a mentor relationship.
At some point, Lana presented to him her material and asked him to review it.
DW: Did you consider her a friend?
She sent him a reel of her work and a one woman play. It was something she presented to him while he was still working at Fox.Poticha testifies, "I thought they were pretty good. The play was on a shoestring budget. [...] I thought it was good enough for the meetings."
His friendship with Lana was on and off for about three years. He was in contact with her the last months of 2002. Poticha states that "Living Doll Productions" sounds familiar.
DW: With respect to the video, did you know what it was called?
DW: Lana Unleashed?
EP: Sounds familiar.
Three more Spector supporters show up and sit on the defense site. The two bench rows are almost full now.
Weinberg shows Poticha the credits at the end of the film clip. These are called "end titles." Weinberg points out that Hugo Quackenbush is listed. Weinberg asks Poticha if he knows Quackenbush and Poticha says, "No."
DW: Did you have anything to do with the production of the video?
I'm pretty certain Poticha replies "no."
Weinberg goes through more pages of end titles with "special thanks" and people's names listed. They come to a name "Eric Patitia." Poticha testifies that is not he way he spells his name and doesn't know why his name is not there.
Poticha states he had email correspondence with Lana but he never sent her a letter. Poticha states he was, "Never the head of New Programming at Fox Networks. Poticha testifies the first time he ever saw the letter was last year, during testimony.
Weinberg goes over every aspect of the letter with Poticha. Poticha states that he and Lana did have at least one meeting on the Fox lot. (This is mentioned in the letter.) Poticha states there is a Fox Network but he's never seen it called Networks, in the plural.
I see Tawni Tyndall lean forward in her seat to get a closer look at the letter up on the ELMO.
DW: Did you write any of that?
EP: I did not.
DW: Did you ever express any of that in those words?
EP: Yes I have. [...] I told her she could use my name as a reference.
DW: That's not how you spell your name and that's not your signature?
Weinberg now puts up a letter addressed to Hugo Quackenbush. Weinberg points out how the language in the letter to Quackenbush is identical to the language in the forged letter with his misspelled name. Poticha states he did not authorize this letter and did not authorize her to raise money (through his name). Poticha states, "I offered to introduce her to people..."
DW: Did you tell her to get it finished (as she indicated she had in the letter)?
EP: I vaguely remember telling her that she needed to get it in a professional form and that (I would help her).
That's it for direct and AJ steps up to cross Mr. Poticha.
AJ establishes that currently he is an independent producer. But back in 2001-2002, he was a Vice President of Development at Fox TV Studios. "Put modesty aside Mr.Poticha, If I was in the TV industry, I'd probably want to know you." Poticha states, "This is subjective, but probably yes." AJ presses on. "I'd probably want to have your number and business card." Poticha answers, "Probably, yes." AJ asks, "If I got a meeting with you, It would be pretty good, would it not?
AJ: You didn't hand those out lightly, correct?
Poticha agrees with that. AJ has Poticha explain how socializing in the entertainment industry is part and parcel for that line of work. It's Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Drinks. Making connections is very much a part of that socializing. It refers to the type of networking that's done. It refers to the types of relationships that are built and how they are built.
AJ: It wouldn't be unusual for someone to network for a local club?
EP: I'd say it's pretty common.
AJ: Interrupting you at lunch wouldn't be all that uncommon?
AJ: That type of networking goes on constantly?
AJ: Like the Viper room; that might be a good place to network?
AJ: For someone to ignore, say, a request such as, 'Come back and have a drink with me.' That would be like malpractice in your industry?
Poticha is asked about when he first met Lana and what he thought of her. When he first met her, he was guarded because there are so many in this industry that are not "genuine." He states that he has a distinct recollection of their first conversations as being somewhat frivolous.
AJ: She had a very sincere smile?
Poticha goes onto describe Lana and states she had an honest disposition. They developed a friendship. AJ asks about her video reel. Paticha received it at his office at Fox. It was messengered to him. Lana notified him in advance that she was sending it to him. He remembered receiving it.
AJ: How did you know out of the thousands (of these you would receive)?
EP: It was placed in an old film canister reel with some red velvet and candy.
AJ: She took the extra step to have a meaningful presentation that showed her personality?
EP: I found it creative and charming.
AJ: Did Lana's video end up in the "C" pile?
EP: No, the A pile.
AJ asks Poticha for his impressions.
EP: I've seen a lot. I was quite impressed. She seemed gregarious and had a lot of personality. It was self deprecating humor and that stood out for me.
AJ: What was the quality? You said a sexy and comedic (scenes?)?
EP: The quality of the tape was not great. The quality of the performances was great.
AJ: Did you think she had a talent worth pursuing?
EP: I did. [...] She stood out.
AJ: What in your opinion, is the worst thing an actor or actress could be described as?
EP: Either dower, familiar. Pedestrian, like everyone else.
AJ: Do actors and actresses want to stand out?
AJ: That's the whole point?
Regarding actors and actresses, AJ asks, "Do you find them to be an impatient lot? They want something and they want it now?"
EP: I characterize that to be focused. [...] I find the good ones to be entreaupenoreal.
Based on the video reel, that caused him to offer her a meeting on the lot. AJ has Poticha explain about the "over 40, jump off a bridge" characterization.
EP: The over 40, I would say that it's not correct. It's definitely a stigma. [...] At Fox, we did a lot of projects that ended up at CBS and their demographic is over 40.
AJ has Poticha explain Lana's early success. He describes it as "Conan the Barbarian in a bikini, and that she had a cultish following in her 20's. AJ asks Poticha what his assessment was of what she had done in her 40's.
EP: What I saw was someone who reinventing herself. Her comedy was self deprecating. I find that to be a hig level of satire.
AJ gives Poticha the example of Jenny McCarthy, who did the same thing. She reinvented herself from (?) to a comedienne.
Poticha agrees that his review of Lana's work was encouraging.
AJ: Did your referral carry weight? [...] Relative to others in the industry?
Now AJ goes over the letters and emails. The first is an email dated January 16, 2001. (Here's part of it.)
Hey E! I hope you had a nice weekend. (I contacted) Pat, who is looking over my stuff. I called Vesco as per your instructions and reached him on his cell.
AJ: Did you suggest she get in contact with Vesco?
AJ: Did you suggest she get in contact with Scott Carlson?
AJ: Was your advice to her to be persistent? [...] And the same that you had given to her before?
AJ: Did you find Lana to be a persistent and goal oriented person?
EP: Very much so.
AJ: Without ever being pushy?
EP: I would think so.
AJ: Did you encourage her to use your name?
AJ asks about name dropping and how it's used in the industry Paticha explains name dropping and bonding in social situations.
AJ: Using someone's name opens doors for you? [...] Did she ask to use your name? [...] Did you give her permission?
EP: Yes I did.
10:18 am: Harriet Ryan from the Los Angeles Times enters 106 and sets up in her usual spot. Harriet is usually on her laptop and she sits at the end of the last row so she is able to plug in her battery to an outlet. MoreSpector supporters enter. Some of them were here yesterday.
AJ now goes over the letter and the statements in it.
AJ: Do you have any recollection about speaking about these three things?
EP: In a general sense, yes.
AJ goes over more statements in the letter. "Is there anything in the letter that you would not (say/agree with)?
EP: (Except for some of the wording) there's nothing in the tone that I would disagree with.
AJ: Does the tone of the letter memorialize conversations and things you said to her?
EP: I would say yes.
AJ: Would you have had any trouble with her sharing that with others?
That's the end of cross and Weinberg gets up to redirect.
DW: You're not particularly happy about testifying for the defense, correct? [..] Did you discuss your testimony with the defense? And you talked with the prosecution? [...] (What was your discussion about?
EP: Questions I had based on last year's testimony.
Weinberg brings up his testimony from last year and asks him about an inconsistency with his testimony today. I believe it has to do with whether or not he remembered Lana's video and how it was packaged.
EP: I had a year to think about it.
Poticha agrees that he was a friend of Lana's.
DW: During this time (prior) you were an important person in TV?
EP: That's subjective.
Weinberg asks something to the effect of, "Isn't it true that you didn't get her anything, not even a walk on part?
EP: That's correct.
Weinberg brings up the fact that his last email contact with Lana was in April, 2002 and asks why did it end?
EP: I don't have a specific reason. (I got busy in life.)
DW: Do you see a difference between using language and using a letter?
EP: I do see a difference.
DW: Your reputation is very important to you?
EP: (Yes.) [...] I'd given her permission to use my name and discuss....
DW: Did you give her permission (to write a letter and sign your name to it)?
I believe Poticha answers, "No."
AJ steps up to recross Poticha and brings up his prior testimony to him from the first trial about the packaging of the video and his vivid description of it then.AJ asks him something about the way things are described in the forged letter, and if he would disagree with it.
After Poticha answers that last question, his testimony is finished.
It's 10:29 am and Weinberg then calls Detective Tomlin to the stand.
Detective Tomlin has been with the LA Co. Sheriff's for 22 years. He's been with the homicide Bureau for 10 years. He went through the training academy over 20 years ago. Some of the things he learned were the techniques of interviewing and writing reports. Detective Tomlin describes the function of reports.
I note there are several people in the back row now. Juror #14 (an alternate) appears to look out into the gallery often. Rachelle has her blanket completely wrapped around her whole body now instead of just around her lap. She appears to be intently staring at Detective Tomlin.
Tomlin states he was the lead investigator on the case along with Paul Fortier. He was not the lead at the scene and he is not senior to the other detectives. This was his case and these were members of his unit. There are six teams consisting of ten to fourteen individuals. Every ten days a new team is on for call for 36 hours.
Weinberg goes over Tomlin's report of his interview with Dorothy Melvin.
Looking on over at Spector, I see the man-bag on the defense table and his hands are in his lap, clasped and shaking.
Weinberg is pointing out inconsistencies in Melvin's statement. It's my perception that he is calling Tomlin to the stand in an effect to discredit several witnesses testimony. I don't think Tomlin is called just for Melvin. It will be every single person he interviewed in the case. Weinberg goes over Tomlin's report writing and the purpose of the report.
Weinberg brings out that the Pasadena police report on Dorothy Melvin's 1993 incident contradicted Dorothy Melvin's memory. He interviewed the officers and they didn't remember (specific facts). Tomlin states he didn't discuss the police report with Melvin. Weinberg asks Tomlin why he didn't confront Melvin with the conflicting police report. If I'm recalling correctly (since I don't have it in my notes) I believe Tomlin didn't feel that was necessary or relevant to the case he was investigating. Tomlin states they went back to Melvin's house to retrieve some postcards thatSpector sent her.
TD: Objection! Leading!
It's 10:45 am and the morning break is called. Fidler tells counsel he would like them to remain. He tells counsel that when they break for lunch, he will admonish the jurors about the site visit and the fountain. He asks if there is anything counsel specifically wants to include in that admonishment.
AJ: We won't know until we go out to view the scene (beforehand).
Fidler: I'll follow up with it tomorrow morning.
The prosecution will be taken out to the site this afternoon by Detective Tomlin to review the scene before the jurors arrive tomorrow morning. During the break, Weinberg asksAJ about what props the prosecution will be bringing to the house. I don't have AJ's response, but I see that Weinberg nods his head. I see Tawni Tyndall and the young woman who came to court with her chat. A suited Asian looking man enters and talks to AJ. My guess is that he's part of the DA's staff. They chat about a dinner honoring someone and AJ has received an invitation. I have a note here, "Katz is next" but I then have, DW: "Don't think they will get to him by noon." I think AJ leaves to speak to Detective Katz. I now see Weinberg, Susan and Tawni Tyndall in a huddle. Tawni is nodding her head as Weinberg speaks.
During the break I talk with Sherri, who has somewhat of a connection to the entertainment industry. We discuss the forged letter. It's her opinion that this type of stuff happens all the time and that it's par for the course. We both agree that it's not relevant to whether or not Lanacommitted suicide. The letters are dated in 2001, long before Lana even broke her wrists.
Detective Tomlin leaves the witness stand to go over to Wendy's desk where there is a candy jar and chat with the several Sheriff's by the bailiff's desk. I note for the first time that Officer Williams is not here in 106 today.
11:05 am: Spector reenters 106. A minute later, we hear some loud laughter from the jury room. Spector looks back at the gallery and then right afterwards appears to stare at Susan's computer screen. The jury enters 106.
11:08 am: Weinberg, Jennifer Barringer and Tawni Tyndall are in a close discussion at the first bench row.
Now Detective Tomlin is back on the stand under direct about Melvin.
DW: Did she tell you over what period of time she had a relationship with Spector?
I have in my notes at first an answer of, 1989. Then I have 1990 to 1993.
RT: She said that although she met his daughter in, the first time in 1993.
DW: Did she (Melvin) tell you she traveled with him (Spector) and his daughter to Toronto?
DW: Did any of your investigation discover that Phil Spector's son died in 1993? (I seem to remember there were some objections about this question but I don't have it in my notes.) [...] Did you obtain cassette tapes? [...] In regards to Dorothy Melvin?
RT: I don't recall.
DW: Did you listen to tapes now in evidence?
(I have some notes here about the tapes but they are not clear and are not jogging my memory: DW: In tapes he mentions fact that...... RT: I don't recall if she discussed if it happened during their relationship... Ah! Now I remember. These were more questions about the death of Spector's son.)
The Asian man reenters.
DW: Did she tell you about the events at Joan River's party?
DW: Did you include everything in your report?
RT: Everything that I thought was relevant.
Weinberg asks several questions in a row about what Dorothy Melvin did not tell him. She did not tell you... She did not tell you... She did not tell you... She did not tell you.... So, it appears like Dorothy Melvin left quite a bit of stuff out in talking to Tomlin that she testified to in court.
TD: Your Honor, I object to the leading nature of this questioning.
Fidler: You know, could we approach?
Counsel approaches bench. Do speaks. AJ speaks. Fidler smiles. AJ laughs. Weinberg laughs. Fidler is still smiling as they leave the bench.
DW: Prior to her testimony, had you ever heard her talk about anything about Spector being escorted out (of the Joan River's parties)? [...] Did you ever hear about Tannazzo before 2007?
Weinberg now goes over Melvin's testimony and the history of events.
DW: Did you not go to Ms. Melvin and ask her about Vince Tannazzo?
RT: I believe I did ask her if she knew Vince Tannazzo (but he's not certain of the exact questions he asked).
DW: but you never made any note anywhere that you talked to her about this.
I believe Detective Tomlin answers, "That's correct."
Weinberg now moves onto Tomlin's interview with Stephanie Jennings.
Weinberg establishes that Jennings continued to have a dating relationship with Spector for almost two years after the event until she stood him up for a birthday party. Weinberg asks him about the specific deatils that he remembers on what she told him about the Carlyle Hotel incident.
After Jennings, Weinberg moves onto Adriano De Souza and interviewing him.
Weinberg establishes that Tomlin spoke to De Souza several times and they did a re-enactiment with him.
DW: During that entire time, the fountain was running and De Souza confirmed that the fountain was running? [...] You recently went back out to test the fountain? [...] Part of the purpose was to listen to the fountain and you couldnt tell if (it was any different)?
RT: That's correct.
Weinberg is now asking him about his interviews. They were tape recorded. Weinberg reads the "It's my English" statement by De Souza as part of the video recording if his intervew at the Alhambra Station.
DW: Do you have any idea what he meant?
RT: No. (I understood him.)
DW: You understood what he meant? [...] Why didn't you ask him what he meant? [...] So you didn't make any effort to find out what he meant?
RT: Well the tape speaks for itself.
DW: Did you know at the time of the interview that Mr. De Souza had given a number of statements as to what he heard?
RT: Well, number of statements; that's kind of vague. [...] I didn't listen to audio tape (of the interview out at the house, on the street by Kennedy & Pineda) until after I interviewed him.
Weinberg questions Tomlin about the audio recording. He reads from the text.
DW: Did you listen to that? [...] What do you think that means?
RT: I was very confident with what he said.
Weinberg now asks him about what De Souza said on the 911 call.
RT: I thought it was someone who witnessed a horrific event and afterwards, they calmed down.
Weinberg now moves onto what Officer Brandon Cardella wrote in his report.
TD: Your Honor, may we approach.
11:35 am: There's a bench conference. Do speaks then AJ speaks. Weinberg talks and shakes his head at the same time then nods his head. Ms. Do appears to interrupt Weinberg and then Weinberg speaks again.
11:37 am: Weinberg says, "The report claimed.." and he starts to read the report.
Fidler: This is NOT what we agreed to at bench!
Back on direct, Weinberg asks about the report.
DW: The report was different?
RT: I knew that after I interviewed De Souza.
There's another question that I completely miss and then Truc Do makes an objection to that question and Fidler immediately sustains it. He then states, "There's a limited interest I'm allowing this for." Weinberg asks to approach.
11:39 am: We are back on direct.
DW: Did you ask Mr. De Souza about Cardella's report?
RT: No. We took him out to the scene. That's why....
DW: Di you aks him specifically if she was lying on the floor? He said she saw her lying on the floor. [...] As an investigator, do you find it significant if someone reports things differently?
DW: Didn't you consider asking De Souza about the differences in his statement?
RT: I was satisfied why the differences occurred.
DW: Did you ask De Souza about the differences between (the ?) [...] Did you ask De Souza about the differences between the 911 tape?
RT: At the time (he interviewed him) he hadn not listened to the audio recording. [...] Like I said, the interview tapes speak for themselves.
DW: Were you up at the scene when Detective Lillienfeld briefs the coroner?
RT: No. You know, I don't remember.
DW: Is it your testimony that after interviewing him (De Souza) you never went back to interview him afterwards?
RT: I'm sure I might have.
DW: But you never memorialized that in any notes? [...]
Tomlin spoke to Donna and Fawn.
DW: Do you remember specifically talking to them?
I think it's Tomlin who says he talked to them about Lana's life. There are a few more questions and Weinberg asks Tomlin who her family said was Lana's best friend.
RT: She said her best friend was Punkin.
DW: She didn't say Neli Hudson or anyone else?
That's it for the direct of Detective Tomlin and Judge Fidler addresses the jurors about the site visit which was already posted at the beginning of this entry on February 18th.
Thank you so much Sedonia Sunset, for all your editing help!