Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Phil Spector Retrial: Day Forty-one

February 10th, 2009

Defense Witnesses: #5 James Pex (blood spatter and gunshot residue expert; currently under direct examination)

Accredited Press inside the courtroom: Harriet Ryan and Linda Deutsch for very short periods in the morning session.

I have never been more disappointed in Judge Fidler than I was today after his rulings on the discovery violation issue. From what I heard in this trial today and from what I remember hearing in the trial yesterday, in my opinion Doron Weinberg, an officer of the court lied to Judge Fidler on the record and Fidler completely ignored it. If this would have happened last year, Fidler would not have let this pass without consequence. In my opinion, something has happened in the past year, I'm not sure what, for Fidler to fold so easily in the face of clear discovery violations by the defense. Could it be the appeal to remove him from this case that went all the way to the California Supreme Court? Could it possibly be something to do with the allegations of misconduct in the Roman Polanski documentary? Or could it be some other issue that has not reached the press? In any event, it's my opinion that for whatever reason, Fidler is no longer the firm, decisive judge we came to love, seeing him on Court TV in the first trial.

So let me detail what happened today. The line to get into the building is doubled back around to the rear of the building. And when I get to the elevator bay, there is an elevator that's out and the lobby is packed with people trying to get to a particular floor on time. I take my chances and take an express elevator to the 12th floor and hope to catch an elevator going back down to 9th. I get inside the courtroom a few minutes after 9:00 am.

AJ states that Pex did some research to try to pin down more accurately what days he did what, as the court requested. Pex jotted down some additional notes and gave those to Mr. Jackson.

Weinberg is addressing Fidler about discussions between court and counsel to turn over materials; materials that are not going to be used in their case in chief. This is in reference to what Fidler called Hornbook Law.

Fidler states that he did look at some cases and he cited a case. Fidler backpedals on the severity of his initial ruling. "As I understand it, if an expert isn't going to be called at all, you don't have to turn over (the discovery)." Fidler goes onto say that if an expert tests apples and donuts, and he's only going to testify about donuts, you don't have to give discovery about the apples. "It has to do with the subject matter. [...] It does have to relate (to the trial)."

Weinberg and Fidler discuss this back and forth. Weinberg presses that he agrees that "...if what's is being said as tests done, being done on testimony..." that's discoverable.

Fidler states that his comments may have been too far (afield) of what he said before.

AJ then details what Pex did from his two sets of notes. In June 2008, he did an evidence review and mailed photos to Weinberg. September 3rd, he ran tests on the jacket and "witness panel(s)" (this is just the formal name for the white board they use to document and demonstrate blood spatter). He shot, fired a weapon, to educate them (the defense team) on forensic science.

September 29th, 2008, he brought the jacket and witness panels and showed them to counsel. (I believe on this same date) he was asked by Jennifer Barringer to separate some photos and tell her what they are. (These were enlarged photos of bloodstains on the grip of the weapon.)

Pex went back home and in the first part of October, purchased a Colt Cobra. On October 14th, he held the Colt Cobra and did testing holding the weapon in various positions. He then went on a case on the East Coast.

December 5th, 2008, he showed the photos he had taken to defense counsel. On that date Stuart James, Pex and counsel met at the courthouse to examine the firearm. December 10th, he met with a latent print examiner and compared the photos of the ridge detail on the front strap of the gun to exemplar prints of Mr. Spector. The print expert advised that the ridge detail on the front strap of the gun was not of comparable quality. The print examiner didn't think the gun had been wiped to a significant degree. On December 10th, he was asked to review photos that were testified to by Dr. Herold.

In January he presented documents to Mr. Weinberg. He didn't testify, so he went back home.

It's 9:19 am. The discovery hearing is halted so the sheriffs can bring the jury in. Tran Smith pulls down the screen for video slides.

Pex is called in and he now retakes the stand and AJ is asking Pex questions.

AJ: When you were (last here) on January 23rd, you brought three power point presentations and gave the notes to Mr. Weinberg at that time?

JP: Yes.

9:21 am: More people enter 106.

AJ: On somewhere after the 29th of September, you were in Los Angeles and showed the test and experiments you had shown to Mr. Weinberg of spatter and tests on the Colt Cobra and also met with Stuart James and showed him the (test results).

JP: He was there (Stuart James).

AJ: There was a discussion that the jacket fabric make up was inadequate?

JP: Yes, that discussion was had at that meeting.

9:23 am: The Clarkson family arrives.

AJ: After the 29th, he advised him (Weinberg) of purchasing the Colt Cobra. Then on the 4th and 5th of December, he met with Weinberg and showed him the experiment photos of the Colt Cobra?

As part of the question, AJ asks him if he gave Mr. Weinberg any opinions at that time from his experiments.

JP: I gave him my opinions and I didn't give my him final opinions; there was still work to be done.

AJ: I'm sorry, you said per review was shortly thereafter?

JP: I'm sorry. Peer review was ongoing.

AJ: And peer review was before the 4th and 5th?

JP: No, there were other questions.

AJ: On December 10th, you met with Tom Kinberg? (sp?) [...] On the 12th, you were asked to review some photos to do with GSR, smokeless powder. When did you give Mr. Weinberg your conclusions regarding smokeless powder?

I believe AJ asks if these conclusions were memorialized in any way.

JP: I probably gave him a verbal conclusion somewhere around Christmas. [...] So I would have had to conducted tests....

AJ: And those included the photos [....] (I think AJ is referring to the smokeless powder.)

Pex states he took photos of unburnt gunpowder.

Fidler now asks Pex some questions. Pex answers that he had conversations with Weinberg,
about photos about the smokeless powder. Fidler asks something to the effect if he did some presentations of photos on January 23rd?

AJ: At least on the Christmas meeting, the (somewhere between 20th and the 24th) you gave Mr. Weinberg photos of....

JP: No meeting; we had conversations.

AJ: When did you give him (Weinberg) photos of unburnt smokeless powder?

JP: I gave him the photos on January 23rd, but did have conversations before that about my conclusions.

AJ goes back over the December 4th and 5th days activities. AJ asks what other work he did as well as what questions Mr. Weinberg asked.

DW: Objection! Work product.

Fidler states that maybe this might be work product and he will go in camera with Mr. Pex.

AJ asks what further work he did and what questions were asked. Fidler and AJ exchange a few words and Fidler states that he will go in camera with Mr. Pex and Mr. Weinberg. Fidler states that Mr. Weinberg has a right to be there. Once the in camera session begins, AJ, Truc and their assistants leave the courtroom for what I'm guessing is a private discussion.

9:35 am: Two nicely dressed ladies in the back row who were whispering with officer Williams leave. I notice Spector's black half-moon shaped man bag is on the defense table. Harriet Ryan enters at 9:38 am. A minute later, everyone is back in court waiting to go on the record.

Judge Fidler states, "Assume for the moment work product can be discoverable, the prosecution is not entitled to attorney impressions. [...] I'm satisfied that my ruling on the objection is correct."

AJ goes back to crossing Pex. "I'm not concerned with what he thought. I'm only concerned with what you thought. Did anything change after further testing? Did you opinion and conclusion change at all?" I believe Pex said that it didn't. AJ then asks, "So between the 4th and 5th of December, nothings changed until now?

Pex states that individuals peer reviewed his work (Stuart James; Gary Knowles) but there is no memorialization of that peer review. Pex talks about how the peer review is an ongoing process with these other gentlemen but there is nothing documented.

When asked if he spoke to Mr. Kinberg (print expert), Pex replies that Mr. Weinberg and Kensberg had their own conversations. "I asked Mr. Weinberg to call Mr. Kinberg. [...] I don't like to be a third party to a conversation. He (Weinberg) needed to talk to Mr. Kinberg himself.

Weinberg then gets up to clarify a couple of points. "It's clear I contacted you for a referral, because we had seen some ridge detail, and it appeared to us that no one had made a connection and we wanted to compare it to Mr. Spector. [...] Before this process was completed, we got the information from the prosecution that they had an expert." (This sounds like Weinberg is testifying verses having his witness say this.) "Isn't it the case that our conversation with Mr. Kinberg changed and he was going to change direction to evaluate the prosecution's conclusion? [...] It was in and about that time...?"

Pex is not positive. Whoa. Now Weinberg is presenting to Pex that the photos of GSR comparison was after Dr. Herold's testimony and not before. Weinberg now goes onto the jacket experiments. "Was there any intention to show to a jury?"

JP: No. It was done (for counsel) not for jury.

Fidler: These photos were done for what?

JP: To educate counsel.

This is a totally different statement than what he testified to yesterday. He changed his testimony.

Fidler: Were they meant to replicate anything in this case?

JP: We had talked about satellite spatter and (Stuart) James had written a report for the prior year (trial), and this was to show counsel for the defense.

This is totally the opposite of what he testified to yesterday.

9:54 am: Bradley Brunon enters 106 and sits in the 3rd bench row.

Weinberg states that Tran Smith will testify on the record that the photos of the smokeless powder were not sent to Mr. Pex until after Dr. Herold testified.

Tran has a look on his face, almost like a deer caught in the headlights. He appears petrified to testify. Fidler states he does not have to take the stand and he is sworn in where he is sitting at the end of the defense table. Weinberg questions Tran.

Tran states he is an attorney. He graduated from law school but he's not licensed to practice in any state. Tran testifies that he was present in court (yesterday?). To me, his voice is a slow, flat monotone. It's strange.

DW: Did he know about any questions that were asked of Mr. Pex before Dr. Lynne Herold testified?

TS: Not to my knowledge. [...] Because we didn't have the photo in a format that was presented to the jury. [...] I couldn't have obtained those photos without the help from Ms. Do and couldn't have sent them to Mr. Pex without her (initial) help.

Weinberg asks that they didn't have a copy of the exhibit.

Tran is finished and then AJ makes a statement to the court.

AJ: That photo was provided to Linda Kenny Baden during the last trial.

Weinberg asks Pex about the Christmas conversation. "Were you privy to a phone call?

JP: I can't quote exactly what the conversation was.

(In my opinion, all of this is just an amazing unbelievable effort by Weinberg, with the way he's asking the questions, to "testify" for this witness.)

AJ: December 8th on your list? Where did you get that?

JP: The date is obviously incorrect.

(This is now the second time Pex has presented the court with dates for items, but then under questioning those dates suddenly change.)

JP: I can't review Lynne Herold's photos if I didn't have (them).

AJ: I'm asking where did that information come from?

JP: I called my wife to look through records at home.

So, the records of dates that he told Fidler yesterday he had back at his hotel, now he is telling the court he had to call his wife for them.

DW: To state the obvious, (?) (I miss the date he's referencing; I have 12/2 and I know that's not correct.) would have been the time (you) reviewed fingerprints on the strap of the gun. Isn't that right?

JP: Around that time I met with Kinberg.

(There is another change in testimony.)

Pex is now stating that there may have been conversations about the microscopic GSR (found on the jacket) earlier.

JP: She (Herold) looked at the (discs) under a scanning electron microscope and we could have had a conversation about that.

So now the testimony is changed that they were not reviewing photographs regarding Dr Herold's testimony, but just having a conversation.

DW: You didn't testify about GSR at the last trial?

JP: No.

AJ presents an argument.

AJ: Based on the new and improved time line, (I've g0t) six or seven asterisks of discoverable material. Mr. Weinberg has consistently suggested 'We didn't know about any of this. The experts did their testing and I didn't get anything until January 21st.' [...] Mr. Weinberg said, 'And I didn't receive any notes.'

When AJ says this, a shiver goes through my whole body. I remember clearly Mr. Weinberg saying these exact statements in court to Fidler the day before. I remember his tone of voice when he said it. It was slightly raised and irritated. He was denying there were any discovery violations. I bet if I could get a copy of the court transcript for yesterday, it would show where Weinberg did make these statements.

AJ: Mr. Weinberg didn't receive those until after and now we hear that those notes (were turned over with the power point presentation). [...] (I find it a bit) ...troubling that, Mr. Weinberg didn't know about any of this testing. But now we hear that as early as September 3rd, tests on a white jacket in order to replicate the white jacket (and AJ quotes Pex from yesterday) "as best to approximate this case." And now we find out that this was just to educate the attorney and not for anything else.

AJ: September 29th: Mr. Weinberg was shown all the jacket and witness panels and satellite spatter on the jacket. Stuart James testified in front of the jury when we got further details. [...] When Mr. James testified that the jacket wasn't right. It wasn't wool. [...] That this flies in the face that James's testimony [...] It flies in the face that this was never to be shown to anybody.

AJ moves on to the purchase of the gun and why. People come and go inside 106.

AJ: We didn't know any of this until we got the notes. [...] We got the power point presentation on January 28th. Five days after Mr. Weinberg. Seven days ago we got the notes.

DW: There's one thing that I regret. I didn't ask Mr. Pex about reports.

Weinberg insists that he got the notes from Pex the following week. He states that we were at the Sheraton, at the bar, having drinks.

DW: To my mind, they weren't relevant; they refer to tests they had done in September and were not relevant.

(This is unbelievable to me that this seasoned, well respected attorney by his peers, actually thought that this material wasn't discoverable. How in the world can anyone believe that?)

Weinberg wants to bring Pex back to ask him about discrepancies as to when the notes were turned over.

DW: I don't think there are any inconsistencies. I don't think (they were significant.) Mr. Pex does what he thinks he needs to do. He sees himself not just as a witness but a consultant. [...] The photos were not inconsistent with what he is going to testify to and this wasn't going to be presented to the jury.

Weinberg then mentions that he wasn't at the meeting with the white jacket. Ms. Barringer was, and she can be sworn in to testify to that.

(Is Weinberg trying to imply that because he wasn't there, he never spoke to his co-counsel about this meeting?)

Weinberg states that Mr. Kinberg's conclusion is irrelevant and he thinks it was a three way conversation.

AJ: Mr. Weinberg just said, and he didn't explain his comments that 'he didn't get any of this until January 23rd.' [...] It's Mr. Weinberg's consistent insistence that he didn't know any of this. [...] I find that disturbing as an officer of the court. [...] I find it unbelievable that Mr. Weinberg thought that the notes were not discoverable.

(This is exactly what Weinberg said to the court, with a bit of tap dancing around it.)

Fidler asks Weinberg if Pex is going to testify on the wiping.

DW: I believe that we will touch on that [...] front strap [...] that area was not wiped.

AJ brings out something to the effect of, to have this expert back up his testimony with a consultation with someone that we have no notes on whatsoever.

Fidler asks Weinberg to address the "I have no knowledge statement," and he goes off talking about GSR. He talks so fast, I can't grasp any of it.

DW: I never said I knew nothing about [...] I never asked Pex to do anything.

(In my opinion, I believe this is the lie to the court. I clearly heard him state that he didn't know anything about what was in the power point presentation.)

Fider: It's not whether you asked Mr. Pex but whether or not you turned it over to the prosecution.

DW: I thought it wasn't discoverable because it wasn't anything I was going to use in testimony.

10:35 am: Harriet Ryan leaves 106.

Weinberg does more tap dancing. "I will go on the record. I don't believe [...] that there was any significant conversation around Christmas time with Mr. Pex."

Harvey with the white hair enters 106.

Fidler asks that Mr. Pex be brought back in. While they are getting Mr. Pex, Fidler addressed Mr. Brunon, sitting off to my right behind me in the third bench row, asking him how he was.

Brunon: I'm having this overwhelming feeling of deja vous. I've been transported back in time.

It's not clear in my notes if AJ asks or Fidler asks Pex about the testing, and Pex says something about taking notes. "Was there some reason you took notes when this was for demonstrative purposes only for the defense?"

JP: No.

Fidler asks about his experiments. Did you have no results, no findings that would differ than what you're going to offer at trial?

JP: No.

When I heard Fidler ask that last question of Pex, I knew then that nothing would happen to the defense. There would be no sanctions and the lie to the court about what Weinberg knew and when he knew it was completely ignored.

I believe it's AJ that asks the next two questions.

AJ: The extra testing, (after the meeting of December 4/5th) what did that consist of?

JP: Just reviewing photos.

AJ: And that was turned over when?

JP: January 23rd.

AJ then goes over every experiment that Pex did in detail. I try to write them all down, but I can't keep up. The questions and testimony go so fast.

AJ: About your jacket experiments. There were nine done on September 3rd, correct?

Pex looks through his notes. Jennifer Barringer I now note, is sitting next to Brunon. AJ goes over the notes of this testing in detail. He confronts Pex with a test where a white poster (board; witness panel) was held on top of a wrist. Pex keeps insisting over and over that these were just to "educate counsel."

AJ now asks about the tests involving blood into blood. Pex even insists that the movement experiments of the jacket he did in test number nine, was not to "replicate" the large spatter area on Mr. Spector's jacket. It was "just to educate."

Weinberg now tries to get the witness to say that he gave Weinberg the notes at the bar at the Sheraton. Pex answers "Yes," but he also says, "I don't know what day that was." He also says, "That was the day I arrived."

AJ: The only thing I would suggest, bless his heart, Mr. Pex is between a rock and a hard place. To suggest this level of presentation was just to educate spatter [...] This was specific testing to specific evidence in this case. [...] The defense doesn't get to pick and choose what evidence they get (to turn over).

AJ tells Fidler that he still doesn't have the photos that deal with the testing of September 3rd.

Weinberg now argues that all this would be discoverable if and only if they were inconsistent with what Pex will testify to.

AJ rubs his eyes while Weinberg argues.

DW: It was never any thought of his creating evidence for this trial. [...] I'm very comfortable in that concluding that what was done in September.

10:58 am: Rachelle enters 106.

Fidler: The statute as written is inconsistent [...] exactly at its wording [...] with that gray area. It's not clear cut as (the prosecution would believe). Even if it wasn't discoverable, it's discoverable now. [...] That all the notes [...] There is not enough there because of the way the statute is written [...] Although he did more testing, that would be an interim report (Dec 4th/5th); That's not a discovery violation.

Fidler now goes into detail on the notes and power point presentation; when the defense got them and and when who reviewed them.

Weinberg backpedals.

Fidler asks AJ, "Have you had any possibility to consult with any experts?" I believe AJ states that he has not.

Fidler rules that he is going to deny a 352 motion to exclude Pex testimony in part. "I can't decipher intent with the information in front of me."

In essence, Fidler rules that he can't decide on whether or not there was a clear intent of discovery violation. Pex said too many times on the stand that he couldn't remember when he did what and his testimony kept changing.

Fidler states the prosecution was disadvantaged.

AJ mentions that the defense has accused him of wanting to derail or delay this trial. "The last thing I want to do is delay this. [...] I don't know if my questions, based on direct may be (impacted by the photos that he's never seen). [...] But I would ask for a little bit (of time) before direct goes on.

Fidler denies that request and says, "I think the direct can go on, but the prosecution will be given time for cross.

Fidler addresses Weinberg, "I realize you're strained financially. Mr. Pex will turn over the CD's."

(Holy cow. I don't remember Weinberg mentioning anything in open court about his finances being strained. I think he might have mentioned something about bringing Mr. Pex back for another trip. My guess, and this is just a guess, Weinberg said something to Fidler in that in camera meeting about money.)

From the stand, Pex asks Weinberg if he wants to go over the CD disc before he hands it over to ensure that everything he has is on the CD. Fidler tells Pex to turn it over to the prosecution again. He asks the prosecution if they can make a copy. The prosecution tells Fidler that they can "burn a CD" which is jargon for making a copy. Fidler smiling repeats that and tells them to burn a CD. And that's it for the discovery violation hearing. No sanctions on the defense and AJ has no time to review the new materials before direct.

(The thing I thought was interesting, was that Pex was wanting Weinberg to review the CD first before he was going to turn it over to the prosecution. Why? Is there something on that CD that Pex didn't want the prosecution to see?)

11:14 am: Spector greets Brunon and hugs him. Brunon goes over to Susan and greets her.

11:25 am: Spector is at the defense table and is looking at the huge clam shell mirror again. This time I can clearly see that there are two mirrors inside the clam shell, not just one.

11:26 am: The jury is finally in the courtroom for the first time today. James Pex is presented as the next witness and his CV is reviewed in detail.

11:35: am: Linda Deutsch returns from break. (I think I forgot to note in my notes when she first arrived. It was sometime during the morning session.)

Weinberg is going over the articles Pex has authored. Pex states that he's earned approximately $48,000 so far for his work on this case.

11:47 am: Rachelle's eyes are closed and it was observed that her head bobbed down a few times as if she nodded off.

11:54 am: Linda Deutsch leaves 106.

Pex pretty much testifies to the same things he testified to in the first trial. Unfortunately, I will not detail everything he testified to today. (Right now, it's past 10 pm, and I've been writing since around 6:30 pm.) There is some new testimony though.

Pex clearly testifies that blood on the firearm, "was moved, not removed."

(I am astounded by this statement. How can Pex know what amount of blood was on the gun at the time some of the blood was "moved?")

There are the three power point presentations. In these presentations there are images from blood spatter testing that Pex did with the Colt Cobra he purchased. This was to substantiate some opinions he had about the blood on the weapon.

Pex states that he was asked to identify some enlarged photos of the grip of the gun taken by the LA Co. Crime Lab. He was asked to help orient the photographs. These photographs are enlarged photos of areas of the gun that show blood in the "checker" pattern on the grip. That's what the pattern is called. It's a three-dimensional pattern in the material of the grip that looks like little pyramids.

Pex states that the blood on the right and left side of the gun grip is spatter. He shows one area on the right side of the gun, where there is blood only on one side of many of these checker pyramids. Pex states that this can only be explained if this is spatter. It cannot be explained by wiping. Pex testifies that if the gun was held in the way it was intended, there would not be blood on the handle because the hand would have completely covered the grip as well as the medallions on both sides of the gun. Pex states that the only thing that explains the spatter on the weapon would be an individual holding the gun towards themselves in the position that Weinberg has demonstrated several times throughout the trial. Except that Pex doesn't demonstrate this position himself; he took photographs of his wife's hands holding the Colt Cobra he purchased. I note that the nail polish on his wife's hands is painted exactly like the nail polish that was on Lana's hands when she died.

Pex also testifies that in his opinion, the photograph of the item on the sticky disc that Dr. Herold identified as smokeless powder, is not smokeless powder. It does not have the standard morphology of smokeless powder.

Pex also made some interesting statements directed at the jury along with his opinions about Dr. Herold's opinions regarding Lintemoot's testimony and the smokeless powder.

When asked about Dr. Herold making a conclusion based on what Lintemoot saw, Pex replies, "When it comes to a person's life and liberty you have to be very guarded regarding the circumstances to make your opinion." He was looking directly at the jury when he said that.

Several times in the afternoon when testifying about the lack of blood spatter on Spector's jacket he said, "One would expect...." So this is another expert testifying that if Spector was holding the weapon, he would "expect to see" spatter on his jacket sleeve. He even presents photos of experiments he did years ago showing spatter on a sleeves and cuffs.

In regards to Dr. Herold testifying that the item on the sticky disc is smokeless powder and Pex won't go there, he testifies, "This to me is a dangerous statement when you are dealing with another person's life. [...] I would not be comfortable with this, identifying this as smokeless powder."

When the jury is excused for the day, counsel stays behind to litigate another issue. Fidler brings up the fountain and resolving the issue of the jury view. Regardless of the rulings, the defense wants the jury view. The jury view is set for Thursday February 19th, in the morning.

AJ states that his expert did not find any weathering on the pipes leading to the fountain. His expert stated that the pipes look new, like they are a few years old. AJ also states that the expert said there is another thing between the fountain and the pump and that is the filter. There is no way to (satisfy?) to replicate the flow and sound in 2003.

Weinberg states that the fountain has not been altered. He points out Rachelle is willing to testify (Oh this is a rich recommendation!), two people are ready to tell you under oath nothing's been done to the fountain. Spector speaks up and addresses Fidler that nothing has been done to the fountain.

Fidler states he wants to hear from people who were on the scene. "Those people were on the scene, that could say what was on (at) the scene. I want to hear from them. It's just another factor for me to consider. [..] If I'm satisfied that the sound is replicated....."

The date of the visit is confirmed for the morning of the 19th.

Weinberg's direct of Pex is almost finished. Fidler asks AJ if he's ready to go or do we have to line up somebody else? AJ takes time to think before he answers the court. I'd really like to get started tomorrow he says. He tells Fidler that there are experts at the crime lab that he needs to consult with that are going to be leaving work in about ten minutes. He is going to have to pull an "all nighter" tonight going over the new discovery and would like "some time" tomorrow morning, about an hour, to consult with the crime lab experts. Fidler is hoping that maybe the defense can put on a witness tomorrow morning that's only an hour, because he's already released the jury to return at 9:30 am. He is asking both parties to work something out.

And that's it. It's not clear if court will start tomorrow at 9:30 or 10:30 am.

Some final notes before I close. When the jury came back into the courtroom after lunch I noticed that Spector did not stand. He stayed seated in his chair. There were also some observations during the morning that I was told about. When Pex came off the stand during one of his examinations, he gave a "thumbs up," directed to Jennifer Barringer as he walked by her. While Pex was testifying on the stand in the discovery hearing outside the presence of the jury, Mr. Weinberg, sitting at the defense table at times shook his head and other times discretely moved his forefinger back and forth.

Thank you Sedonia Sunset, for your dedicated editing help!


Lee in Oz said...

You are great Sprocket! - I wait every day by the computer for your latest post - in Australia we are about 19 hours ahead of you, so I have to try and work out when you might get your latest post up on the blog.I would be lost without your wonderful reports!
Re Judge Fidler, perhaps he's just being super careful not to create any possible basis for a mistrial. But it is very disappointing as I always thought he was so firm but scrupulously fair in both the last trial and this one. Keep up the fantastic work Sprocket - you're fabulous!

Anonymous said...

I don't know much about statutes and "discovery" but my sense is that if Fidler had ruled a discovery violation that the trial would basically be held up by an appeal and that it would derail things. If he rules violation here even if he sees Whiney lying then there will be backlash to why he didn't rule the same somewhere else. Crafty ole Weinberg must know this and is pushing things as far as he can. Needless to say, the defense is working as hard as they can to change the impetus of the testimony to "reasonable doubt". It's like watching a dirty wrestling match! Particularly for those of us who see the facts plus circumstantial evidence as damning.

The image of PS with the mirror/s. Strange and creepy. Has a sort of fairy tale quality to it, a demon or beast looking at itself. He is like Rumplestiltskin...

If anyone can refute stuff and clear the air, clarify new evidence/discovery that has just been given to the prosecution the day before even, it's Alan Jackson. He is not only brilliant but also has incredible knowledge of the fine points of the science in this case. And most important, he is able to get it across to the jury in simple terms.

If Lana Clarkson did indeed kill herself, then it would seem to me that the first witness should have been Phil Spector, to tell in his own words exactly how it happened, and then have the science back it up, step by step. Had he explained how she did it, what he saw, where he was, why he didn't call 911, cleaned up, etc. and it was plausible, (ha ha) then it might fly. But he didn't even come up with the suicide thing at the beginning, he said it was an accident, after he said, "I think I killed somebody"

Sprocket, you have done a wonderful job as always. But please don't be too disappointed with Larry Fidler, he seems a remarkable judge who is trying not to derail this case, at least that seems his intent.

It is a terribly emotional thing I am sure, for you to watch what is happening and see the kind of stuff that goes on in the name of justice. I must say that your blog is something I just can't miss. best, Christine

new reader said...

Disappointing as it might be to you;
I agree w other comments. Fidler's backpedaling had to have been to ensure there was no reason for mistrial. Like Weinberg or not; stupid he isn't. Remember, he is considered an expert in criminal defense & legal ethnics by state & federal courts not just Ca.
He's been voted top 100 lawyers in America by his peers for years. Fidler should be respected for doing his homework.
Thanks as always for your daily report

Anonymous said...

What's happened to Weinbergs wife?
I thought she'd be around more once the defense started? Curious!!!

Sedonia Sunset said...


The timing for the Spector trial is not so great for him considering how much the murder of Cayley Anthony is in the news, and possibly on the jurors' minds. I say that because it's so APPALLING and DAMNING that Casey Anthony did not call 911, EVER to report her 2-yr-old missing. Her mother finally did 31 days later and that's only because she finally FOUND Casey, dragged her skinny ass home and managed to PRY the story out of her.

How does this relate to the Spector case? Spector NEVER called 911, either. It was only 45 minutes (and Lana was a stranger until that night), but that's because the limo driver called 911. If the driver had not been there or called 911 when he did, what would have happened to Lana's body? Would anyone ever have known what had happened to her? I think Spector would have tried to make her and the entire mess disappear.

Several people fondly greeted Brunon. How did Rachelle greet him? Is she still pissed at him for trying to tell her to STFU when she backtalked Judge Fidler during the first trial?

donchais said...


Anonymous said...

The bottom line is, AJ has to pull an "all-nighter" to review a CD that only now is even being turned over. This DOES seem awfully unfair.
I am curious about any blood on the gun handle--how did it get there? Was it smeared on by the wiping down after the fact? I may have missed or lost this detail.
Wes J.

Liz said...

Amazing recall and notes, as always. I truly doubt JF will rule against the defense on procedure matters - more than anything else I would think he wants this trial completed. After the disarray from an incorrect instruction in trial 1, not to mention the hung jury & post trial discussions of same, he appears to be ultra conservative - for what reason, I am sure you would have a much better knowledge than most Sprocket - seeing events every day. I have always thought JF leans backwards to support the defense, but it seems the Spectors will never realise this fact.

It will be interesting to hear any comments by JF when/if a verdict is reached.

I think Weinberg is doing anything he can to create appealable or mistrial positions, he has not alot of evidence supporting the defense position.

Thank you so much for the detail and insight.

Sprocket said...

Lee in Oz...
Thank you so much Lee! I personally feel there is a difference to Fidler's ruling in the retrial.

Fidler could have included a jury instruction as part of the defense sanction. There is more than one remedy available to him.

Weinberg's wife:
She came into court yesterday and sat with Rachelle.

Sedonia Sunset:
I'm hoping the jurors are unable to get around Spector not calling 911, too.

Wes J.:
I think you had also asked me about Spitz's fees on another entry. The bottom line is, by the time Sptiz has billed for his time in this trial, he will have earned close to 200 grand for his participation in both trials. That was revealed before the jury.

With the close up photos of the checker pattern on the grip that the defense put up yesterday, they implied that because of the way the pattern appears in the indentations of the checker, that blood on the handle is directional spatter.

The prosecution contends (because of the mottling) that blood on the gun was moved and removed from Spector either wiping it with the bloody rag or by possibly putting it in his pants pocket. They contend there is a fabric pattern left on the gun.

Thank you Liz. Even so, there is still quite a bit that I miss. I write in my own abrieviated long hand but I can't get every question and answer because they happen so fast. I think you are correct that Weinberg is ensuring that there are objections on the record for the appellate court.

Anonymous said...

Great reporting as always. I also think Judge Fidler is trying to prevent another mistrial or having the verdict reversed on appeal. As I previously mentioned, Spector had forty minutes to mess with the scene. I hope the jury takes this into consideration.

Sedonia Sunset raised a possibility. Could Spector have considered trying to hide the body, or even place it somewhere and hope it would be thought that a street criminal had killed Lana? Would he have claimed that Lana left his castle and he didn't know what happened to her? What if the limo driver had been completely in Spector's pocket?

Thanks again,
David From TN

Anonymous said...

did the jury see pex give the thumbs up?

Anonymous said...

I am very confused about Pex's presentation. During the discovery violation hearing, I thought Pex and Weinberg were insistent that his Power Point presentation was to educate counsel and not to recreate anything. But during his direct testimony, the Power Point slides were shown to the jury to recreate how Pex believes the gun must have been held by Lana to account for what he calls spatter on the grips. That seems to me to go beyond "educating counsel". Am I stupid, or what?

ritanita said...

I sure hope AJ kicks butt today on cross! Actually, I don't "hope," I'm SURE AJ will kick butt. I won't be able to sleep till I hear what happened today.

Again, thanks for keeping us up to date. I don't know what we'd do without you!

shari said...

Anon brought up such an interesting point about "if it were truly a suicide" why would he not have immediately called 911 and testified as to what he saw, what she did, and what he did to help. Easiest way in the world to get yourself off the hook from the very beginning. If suicide was really the case, I would have immediately wanted LEO there to make sure I wasn't accused. I would be screaming on the phone for someone to hurry and get there and also in case she were still alive. It is curious as to what he would have done had the driver NOT called 911. I wonder what he would have done with the body????????? Anon is right....he would have had to tote the body somewhere else and make it look like a street crime. I sure hope there is NO appeal and this weasel ends up in prison!

katfish said...

I can recall 2 instances where money or lack there of was presented to the court.

1.) request to exchange bond for deed to the "castle". I don't remember hearing how that was ruled.
2.) Weinberg complaining about the financial burden of having to subpoena the hours of the state's experts.(When he was complaining about turning over his experts detailed statements.)

I don't know if this alone is enough for Fidler to make such a statement about hardship in court though.There must have been something said ex parte. Frankly, I'm glad to hear it, even though he obviously still has more resources than the average citizen would have in these circumstances. Didn't you mention Spector was just sporting a new car?

Sprocket said...

Hello everyone. Weinberg ended his direct at 11:25 am. Court will resume at 1:30 pm, so I came down to the Tokyo Library to check in and answer some questions.

Power Point Presentation:
You are not stupid Anon. It's my notes and the fact that I'm unable to capture every deail of the hearing.

The power point presentation had experiments with the Colt Cobra purchased right before 10/14.

The discovery issue had to do with blood dripping experiments Pex did with a jacket he purchased. I think there "might" have been a shooting experiment, not sure, but if there was, it was done with a different weapon Pex owned, which I think prompted the purchase of the Colt Cobra. (Pex stated that he split the cost with the defense and he would keep the weapon.)

The blood into blood dripping experiments were to test spatter on the jacket he purchased and were performed on September 3rd, 2008. Pex took many photographs. Most of those photographs are not in the power point presentation and were not turned over to the prosecution because, according to Weinberg, they are not discoverable, since he wasn't going to "use" those photographs. Fidler ruled that the photographs ARE discoverable, NOW.

The thumbs up:
Understand that I did not see this; I was told this by someone else who claimed to have observed it. It was during the discovery hearing outside the presence of the jury, so no.

I'm with you. In my opinion, those issues don't relate to Fidler's comment in open court. IMO, I think something was said, in camera.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Sprocket, for all the time and effort you have and will put into this trial. This second trial is so frustrating without CourtTV. I call them CrapTV. I see that their overhyped initial replacement (I forget the name of it, it was a crappy attempt at a 'reality' series with inexperienced female bounty hunters in Florida chasing bail jumpers while stumbling/running in stilettos) has been off the air for quite a while now. Thank God for that! And thank *you* for all that you do.

Earlier in the trial, you mentioned in your blogs that one of the jurors would often wear music related t-shirts. I think you said that he even would sometimes occasionally smile at Spector. Is that juror still among the jury? Does he still wear music related t-shirt or smile (apparently) at Spector?

Liz said...

Re the money comment - there was a discussion re a delay because of the lack of time for AJ to prepare. This would have presumably meant witnesses spending more time at hotels. Could this relate to the outstanding hotel account from the last trial. Perhaps people are demanding payment up front?

Just a thought & thanks for the update Sprocket