Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Phil Spector Retrial: Day Forty-three

February 17th, 2009

Defense Witnesses:
#6 John Barons (aspiring playwright who wrote Brentwood Blondes; testimony complete)
#7 Thomas Fortier (High Tech Task Force, computer investigations; testimony complete)
#8 David Schapiro (acquaintance/friend of Lana's; testimony complete)

Accredited Press inside the courtroom: Harriet Ryan from the Los Angeles Times in the morning session; (unsure about afternoon); other possible unidentified individuals in morning and afternoon

9:30 am: I'm inside the courtroom a bit later than I usually am. The line to get into the building went all the way to the front of the building, then all the way to the back and out the rear entrance doors. I think it took me almost 20 minutes to get through it.

The defense team is all set up. One of the DA's clerks is putting pages in the prosecution's evidence book. The court reporter is Cindy and she's all set up and ready to go. Jennifer Barringer is back at the defense table. Tran Smith is nowhere in the courtroom. There is a gentleman sitting in the front row on the defense side. I didn't recognize him at first, but this turns out to be Thomas Fortier. I knew he was a detective of some sort because I saw a tiny green tag on his left lapel. From where I was sitting it looked very similar to the tag I've seen Detective Hecht wear when he was in court a few weeks ago. Hecht is Detective Tomlin's new partner.

9:32 am: AJ and Josh and the clerk, Robert all enter with the prosecution's cart. AJ gives me a little wave from the well when he passes by where I'm sitting. He's wearing a charcoal gray suit with a pale, baby blue tie. The tie has some tiny dark dots on it that look to be the same color as his suit.

9:33 am: Spector, Rachelle and the bodyguard enter. Rachelle is wearing the long purple sweater coat I've seen many times and she wraps herself up in that purple blanket. Understand, this courtroom is cold and many people keep their coats on, even some of the jurors.

Truc Do is wearing her dark gray pantsuit that has the tiny passants on the shoulder. There's a nicely dressed woman with very short hair in the row behind me I don't think I've seen before. I don't see her take any notes though. Weinberg steps out to make a call and I notice that Spector's black half-moon man bag is on the table with the same type of small bottled orange drink he usually has with him. Spector turns around to look at the gallery. There are not many people here.

9:39 am: Harriet Ryan enters 106. Right afterwards, it appears to me as if Rachelle and Spector exchange looks, with Rachelle giving Spector just the slightest hint of a smile on her lips. Inside the well, AJ and Weinberg exchange some words about the fountain. AJ said something, and I didn't quite catch what it was.

Before the jury is brought in, the fountain is discussed again as to what the status is. AJ informs Fidler that Detective Tomlin went out to 1700 Grand View Drive and "he couldn't tell one way or another" if the sound of the fountain is any different. He can't tell, AJ continues. He said, "I just don't know." AJ states that it's the defense's burden to prove the surroundings (are the same as the night of the event). Detective Bennett prepared a report based on the findings of the expert plumber. The plumber did not prepare a report. According to what the plumber told Detective Bennett, the piping looks like it has been replaced in the last few years. It looks new.

Weinberg steps up and states that they've said all along that the fountain hasn't been changed in any way. While he's talking, Tawni Tyndall arrives as well as some new Spector supporters. Weinberg goes through the three steps of the prosecution's accusations that the fountain had been tampered with. As Weinberg is presenting his arguments, I notice that Fidler gets the beginnings of a smile on his face that to me, it appears that he is trying to suppress.

AJ then counters with the expert's opinion about the filter and that there is no way to know what the filter situation was like on the night of the shooting.

Fidler states that he wants to see Detective Bennett's report. He will look at cases this afternoon and give both parties a decision. He thinks he will know what the answer will be.

In the gallery I see John Barons. There is quite a bit of noise coming from the jury room. AJ talks to Thomas Fortier who was sitting in the front row.

9:49 am: Mrs. Clarkson and Fawn arrive. Their counsel arrives a few minutes later. The jury enters. Weinberg has a housekeeping matter. Introducing a report by Katz and Lillienfeld.

Barons takes the stand. Weinberg gets out through questioning that he met Mr. Barons for the first time this morning and the fact that Barons has testified before. He currently lives in Atlanta, GA. He's lived there three years and prior to that he lived in Las Vegas.

Barons states that until recently he was a bartender, waiter, pizza worker. He got laid off in December. Back in 2002, he lived in Van Nuys on Sepulveda Blvd. He had just lost his parents and was finishing up handling their estate and writing his play, Brentwood Blondes.

Barons states the play was about fame, the search for fame and the people who try to achieve fame. The three main characters were Marilyn Monroe, Sharon Tate and Nicole Brown Simpson. The auditions for the play were the first week in December. Barons mentions the theater that the play was going to be held in but I didn't catch it.

The play did not pay much for the actors; only $5.00 per performance. The play was a showcase towards an equity waiver. However, they would earn one Actor's Equity point. Once an actor earned two points then they can move up to doing more substantial work.

9:54 am: Donte Spector arrives in 106.

Weinberg shows Barons the flier from the show. It was a new play that was supposed to run three weeks but it only ran two. It started on February 13th, 2003. The audition process started in December, 2002 and there were over 30 candidates for the main three roles. Barons met Lana Clarkson at that first audition. She auditioned for two parts: Sharon Tate and Marilyn Monroe. Since she was the last audition for the day, she asked to read for both and he let her.

Once the audition process was completed (that took a few weeks) there were two final candidates for the Marilyn Monroe role. There was a director, Ron Ozuk for the play. The director and Barons did not agree on the selection for Marilyn Monroe. He wanted Amber; Barons wanted Lana. Ozuk was rather vehement on his choice for Marilyn. Lana gave Barons a copy of her Lana Unleashed tape to review. He looked at her tape and wasn't impressed. However, at the end of the tape was a short piece by Roger Corman who went on about how good Lana was. "Either Roger was missing something or I was missing something," Barons testified. His director Ron quit over the choice of Lana for Marilyn. Barons personally told Lana she was selected for the role.

Weinberg puts an image up on the screen of Lana in a leopard-print coat with two other men and a woman who might be Punkin Laughlin (THE PIE). Barons identifies Lana in the photo.

Barons states he talked quite a bit with Lana about the script and they also talked about what direction she wanted her career to go in. During rehearsals, she was initially self-conscious about her height but, the "pool boy" character was six foot five inches and "I told her to go with it."

At one point she came to his house to work on the first part of the play. They worked on trying to trim down some of the play and worked on making changes together. Barons testifies that he wouldn't call the changes "substantial." Rehearsal was for the next day. When Lana came in she announced to the group that "We rewrote the play last night." Barons testifies that "his and everyone else's jaw dropped." He was not happy with her announcement. Barons testifies he said to Lana, "Lana, we didn't rewrite the play." Barons states that Lana's response was, "Oh John, don't be modest."

Barons states that Lana's focus was on tangential things such as wigs and other props. Barons testifies that he thought at the time, "This may not work." (With Lana in this role.) When Weinberg asks, "How did she get along with other players?" Barons responds, "She was a lot of fun but he and others were intimidated." Barons states that he spent at most, eight to nine thousand dollars on getting this production up and running.

Barons states that Lana had demands that were too expensive. For example, he had his own costumer, Gilbert Baker who was famous in his own right for making the first gay flag. He sewed all the costumes. Barons states that Lana wanted her own costumer and he told her that there wasn't enough money for that.

After she announced to the cast that "we rewrote the script" Barons decided to fire her from the play. However, he wanted the stage hand, Jeff Sharlum to fire her for him. Barons states, "It was cowardly on my part."

"One time she called and wanted me to bring her bag that she left and run errands for her. [...] It was too much," Barons testified. He could not find Jeff, or anyone around his apartment complex to do the firing for him so he called her up. She was at her mother's and asked if she could call him right back. A few minutes later Lana calls back and says that she thinks the play is going well. Barons tells Lana that they need to have a talk. He tells her, "I don't think I can afford all the things you need."

Lana is the one who gives him an out. "So, do you want to replace me?" she asks. Barons replies, "I think I'm going to have to." He fired her on Friday, January 9th at 11:30 am.

Barons also mentions that in one or more of their conversations she called herself accident prone. Lana told him there was an accident on a set in Argentina, her broken leg and then her hands. Baron testifies, "We joked about that." Barons adding to the conversation something about his own mishaps.

Barons is also asked about a time where he had to take some pain medication. It was during a time he had neuropathy. He had several health issues going on and to stay pain free he was prescribed Vicodin. Then the story of his friend Tina is explained. His friend Tina shows up at his apartment wearing a neck brace. Tina is a dear friend and Barons "loves Tina." He would do anything for her. So he asks her if there's anything that he can do for her, if he can share some of the drugs that he has on hand with her and he lists the various medications he has, including Vicodin.. Tina declines the offer of medication. When Lana heard Barons say "Vicodin," she asked him for two. Her explanation was that her hands were hurting from typing.

The next event Barons talks about was the rehearsal session where Lana "heard voices" while on the stage. She was on stage with the "pool boy" character and Lana suddenly stopped and asked the group, "Do any of you hear that?" Everyone in the rehearsal space stopped. They looked in the front area and then the back area. Robert (on stage) thought he smelled smoke.

"She thought she heard some people talking but no one else really heard it. [...] We were in the audience and she was on stage. But so was Robert and he didn't hear it. [...] It was a big rehearsal space," Barons testifies.

Barons states that Lana told him about her job she just got at the House of Blues. It was her first corporate job in 20 years. He didn't know what she meant by that really. According to Barons, "Anything that wasn't an acting job was a disappointment (to Lana)."

Under questioning, Barons states that's all the first scene was about was suicide. Barons talks about the various monologues of the play. Marilyn's character in the play didn't want the world to remember her as someone who committed suicide. Barons, in going on about what his play was about, states, "There is a line in the play straight from Kurt Cobain."

Weinberg also asks Barons about this line, 'Might as well find a bridge if you don't make it by 40.' Barons states, "That was Lana's joke." There was also a line in the play, something to the effect of, 'Look on the bright side of suicide.' Baron states Lana replied about that line, "God I can relate to that." But Barons goes onto clarify that he felt this was her mostly liking the play. He testifies that he did not see Lana as the type to be like, "Goodbye cruel world."

Barons states that he called law enforcement after he learned of Lana's death. He believes he spoke to them twice, over the phone. The calls were very short. He gave an interview for someone who wrote for Rolling Stone Magazine. This was a friend of a friend. He did not get paid for the interview. He was using this connection to talk about his own work.

After Lana was let go, the former director came back to the play and they found Lana's replacement. The ladies in the cast got some nice encouragement from people in the industry. Joanna Cassidy came to a rehearsal and opening night and gave the girls pep talks.

After Lana's death he added to the play and most of that involved Lana. He took a year to determine if he was going to add her to his play. Barons also mentions at that time, he had two heart attacks. Barons states that Lana said she loved this play. She said it was one of the best parts she was offered. Even though we ended badly, he wanted to include her out of respect. Barons states one last time that the play is about how these three women and how they got caught up in it. Barons goes onto say that drugs have been around for a long time but fame is really a "recent thing."

Weinberg is finished with direct. I remember when Barons testified in the first trial. For the most part, his testimony was the same. He didn't offer anything new. Just like the first time, Barons is overly dramatic in every statement he makes. I don't think he is aware of how he comes across on the stand. There is one bit of testimony I remember from the first trial that he doesn't talk about this time, or, at least, Weinberg doesn't elicit it from him. I seem to remember something about how he met Lana for breakfast once, and he was irritated with how she summoned a waiter to their table for refills on something. If I'm recalling correctly, her behavior embarrassed him. I'm pretty sure it was this witness. In the first trial, it was one of the things he gave for his reason to fire her.

Truc Do steps up to cross the witness.

Barons states he has been unemployed since 2008. Writing is his passion and he agrees that it's hard to get anything produced in this industry. Barons states that while pursuing his passion, he has taken jobs while pursuing writing (such as working as a pizza handler). So, taking jobs outside one's passion is nothing unique in the industry or about his situation.

When he called the detectives, he never mentioned anything about suicide in Ms. Clarkson. He never saw anything in her behavior that would cause him concern. He states that he saw nothing in her that would suggest that (she was depressed or suicidal). Barons also states that, "I wouldn't know what to look for. I didn't see anything."

Truc Do get's Barons to admit that the joke about reaching 40 and finding a bridge is pretty common in the industry. Barons then goes off on a rambling tangent talking about the Hollywood sign, the stock market, mention a slew of names.

Truc Do responds after that long soliloquy, "I have no idea about the people you were just talking about." After that statement, there is quite a bit of laughter in the courtroom.

Ms. Do asks Barons if he talked with Lana about her life and where she was in the industry and also asks if he knew about her web site? Truc brings up the fact that Lana had a big fan base from when she played Barbarian Queen and that she responded to her fans through her web site. Truc goes over a letter from a fan that was left on Lana's site and Lana's response to the fan. Barons reads it out loud. One of her statements to the fan was, something to the effect that you can be an actor at any age.

Truc goes over when he first learned about Lana's death. Barons first heard about it that night on the news on TV. He saw it then he fell asleep. It came on the news really late at night. When he got up the next day, he thought he dreamed it. When he went to his apartment that night there were many messages on the phone about her death.

When he heard on the news Lana's name as well as Phil Spector's Truc asks, "Did you realize who he was in the music industry?" Barons replies, "Yes." Barons states he knew Lana for about six weeks. He also kept in touch with her afterwards to arrange a time to get her expensive loafers back to her. He states he called her about two to three times a week.

Barons states he spoke to detectives over the phone and told them "he fired her." Truc gets Barons to admit that he didn't know there was a "Valentino Costume Designer" out in the San Fernando Valley. (Lana had wanted her costumes in the play done by "Valentino.") He did tell this to the detectives.

Barons states that after that time, he gave the Rolling Stone interview to Diane Stillman (sp?) but it was never published. The fact that there was a lot of media in the case in 2007. The two dates he testified and the fact that he was on camera is brought up.

Barons is not certain about how/when he contacted detectives. Truc brings up his testimony at the first trial where he stated that he was watching CTV when he saw Dr. Pena testify.

10:45 am: The morning break is called.

I get to meet two people sitting next to me at the break. I see AJ introduce Mrs. Clarkson to a short-haired blond woman who sits in the front row. Her profile is very familiar to me and I keep thinking that I've seen her someplace before. It's not until the afternoon session that I find out this is Dianne Odgen's daughter. She looks so much like her mother.

11:02 am: More people enter 106. There are several fans on the defense side, and many people filter into 106 to sit in the gallery. The courtroom is "maybe" half full.

11:07: am: I see Weinberg lean in and speak to Tawni Tyndall. A few minutes later we are back on the record.

Barons states that he spoke with Tawni Tyndall. He saw his name on a witness list on the Internet so he called the (defense) lawyer. Do asks him to read the fist two lines of Tyndall's report and tell her if that's accurate. Barons states that Tyndall and he would check in every once in a while.

Truc goes over the Lana Unleashed video and Barons states that, "Maybe Roger Corman saw something that I didn't see." Truc asks, "So you casted her because of that connection to Roger Corman?" Barons replies, "Well, it is Hollywood." (I remember him saying the exact same thing in the first trial. That he was hoping that Lana would bring Roger Corman to his production. He was hoping that, through Lana, he could make an important connection.)

Truc asks, "So you were using her?" Barons defends his actions by replying, "I was casting other people and they were going to bring other people, too."

TD: You had some difficulties and you had to let her go? [...] Did you know that she was talking about quitting the play?

JB: She was!!!??? No, I didn't know.

Truc Do shows Barons the email to Teresa where she mentions she might have to quit the play because the schedule would conflict with working at the House of Blues.

11:14 am Louis Spector and his companion, Freida enter 106 and sit in the third bench row.

Barons states that he had discussions about the times with Lana and he agreed to adjust the time of the play to accommodate her.

TD: You said that the last straw was that she had walked in and said she rewrote the play, correct?

JB: Yes.

Barons admits that when Lana came to the audition, she came full out, dressed for the part. Truc asks Barons if Lana was a perfectionist and that he thought she took over the show. Barons replies, "That's not entirely correct." He then gives an explanation that basically says the same thing Truc just stated.

TD: She let you off the hook, yes? [...]She wasn't angry and didn't yell?

JB: She sent me a card.

TD: Lets talk about that. You opened the envelope after she died?

JB: After the play was over.

A week after Lana was let go from his play, she sent him a note card. He didn't open it until a month after her death. He posted the card on his web site. Truc has Barons read the note Lana wrote him to the jury. It was a lovely note card. Later, he created a memorial for Lana on his web site. Barons states that he also did a small tribute on the play's program flier.

Truc then asks him about his web site and that the front page has a "teaser" about Lana.

TD: Your play wasn't about suicide, it was about murder? [...] Murder by famous men?

Barons states who, in his play, he thinks killed these women. Marilyn Monroe was killed by Joe Kennedy, Sr. Sharon Tate by Manson, Nicole by OJ.

11:24 am: More young-looking kids in suits enter 106.

Truc asks Barons if he added Lana as a "fourth Brentwood Blond."

JB: I don't think adding her as a Brentwood Blond would be accurate.

TD: Did you write on your web site about "adding Lana to the play?

JB: Yes.

TD: In your play, who was the powerful man who killed Lana?

DW: Objection!

Fidler: Sustained!

Truc is finished with her first cross and Weinberg gets up to redirect.

DW: This was fiction, wasn't it? [...] Do you know who killed Marilyn? [...] Did you also think about adding Princess Diana?

JB: She has a line. She leads the women onto the next plane of their existence.

Barons talks about the costuming and the ladies were all wearing robes. Lana's outfit was going to be a gold lame robe. "She said she had a $7,000 gold lame jacket that she could borrow for the play. I told her, Lana, I couldn't afford the insurance on that. Don't bring it."

Barons is excused from the stand. All in all, I don't think this witness added much to the defense case. I think he was effectively neutralized on cross. The way he explained Lana "hearing voices," it didn't sound as ominous to her state of mind this time, from what I remembered in the first trial.

The next witness is Thomas H. Fortier. He's a detective with the LA County Sheriff's High Tech Task Force, computer investigations. He examined Lana's laptop and computers at Spector's residence.

There wasn't much to this witness. He testifies about the number of emails that were found on her computer and the software he used to search all files and documents for key words such as suicide, depression, manic depression, gun and murder. There were searches for Spector's email address and nothing relating to Mr. Spector was found on her computer. Weinberg brings up one or two of the "depressing" sounding emails that came up in his searches

The witness is crossed by AJ who gets him to explain a lot of the technical side of his work as well as junk mail, computer "cookies" and whether or not he could determine if she had opened the solicitation email from SAG about an alcohol and depression screening. Brought out the fact that the apply by date was in June, 2002 and Lana received the email in August, past the date.

The witness states that not once through all the searching of Lana's computer, did he find the word "suicide."

The witness is finished and the jury is excused at 11:59 am.

Outside the presence of the jury, Fidler states that he found a case that was helpful to him on ruling on the fountain. It's regarding the issue of jury views. There were some allegations of tampering that did not pan out. Fidler rules that the fountain will be on but the jury will be admonished that there is no evidence that this is exactly how the sound was on the night in question. Fidler mentions something about each side can submit language covering that to submit to the jury. So both sides get a little something. The defense gets the fountain on, but the prosecution gets the instruction that basically it can't be known if this is how the fountain was on the night in question.

Lunch recess is finally called.

The afternoon witness is David Schapiro. I will update this entry with his testimony tomorrow afternoon. All in all, I don't think Schapiro was very helpful to the defense at all.

At one point in cross AJ asks him about those emails Lana sent him where, the defense portends, she sounds so desperate, ready to "end it all."

AJ: Mr. Schapiro, you knew her. I didn't; the jurors didn't. [...] Did you ever take these (the emails) as a suicide note?

DS: No, I didn't.

AJ: You would be the best to know her tone and tenor and what she meant?

DS: That's correct.

AJ: The last time you testified, you didn't think that was a suicide note or a cry for help and you still don't as you sit here today?

DS: That's correct.

More to come....

Almost forgot. Court is only 1/2 day tomorrow, morning session only. In the afternoon, Detective Tomlin will be escorting the prosecution to 1700 Grand View to survey the scene and I'm guessing here, to ensure there are no "props" out that should not be there.

Before the jurors were released for the day, Judge Fidler informed them about the upcoming site visit. He stressed upon them, how many people it takes to coordinate this event, it's not an easy thing to arrange. He asks them that even if they wake up sick with a cold, to please think twice about calling into court sick because this would be a difficult event to reschedule.

Update: February 18th, 2009

1:37 pm: The bailiff announces to the courtroom for phones to be off. Sheriff Kyles pulls down the AV screen.

1:38 pm: The jury files in. David Schapiro is sitting in the front row on the defense side beside Tawni Tyndall. There are three supporters sitting with Rachelle in the back row. I'm informed that Spector was seen taking a pill in the morning session. It could be medication; it could have been asprin or it could have been a tic tac.

Schapiro takes the stand. He lives in Hollywood and he is a writer, producer of TV. Back in 2002, he was in software development and writing. Schapiro testifies that he met Lana in the summer of 2002. A friend of his was trying to put together a writing group of about ten to fifteen people for a television pilot. Some of the people he knew. There were writers and actors. He vaguely remembers the name of the idea. With some prompting, he states that it was called "Mismatch," a sketch comedy show. It was being developed for Lorne Michaels company. The group met for about three months over the summer.

The group did not produce a pilot, just a script. Lana was there to be a performer. Schapiro and Lana formed a friendship outside the group meetings. Lana asked for Schapiro's advice on various projects and he started to see her outside of the group. He testifies that he saw her about two to three times a month. They went to movies and dinner and over to each other's houses. She was working on a sketch comedy and she wanted him to look at it and give input. He was encouraging and she was happy with his response. Schapiro states that Lana didn't tell him how she got the money (to make her comedy video).

DW: In the past trial, didn't you say she was disappointed in your reaction?

DS: I don't recall that. Some of it's hazy. She was happy with her video but not with some of the things that are in the sketches.

Schapiro went to her house and he vaguely remembers how it looked. He does remember there being a lot of leopard print.

DW: Do you remember her saying Marilyn Monroe was her idol?

DS: I think so.

Schapiro testifies he got together with Lana about fifteen to eighteen times.

DS: I know she said she was doing some assistant work for a big-wig in Hollywood.

DW: When did she say that?

DS: November... October...?

DW: Could it possibly be (around) Christmas?

DS: Yeah, I think so.

DW: She was driving this person around?

DS: I think so but I didn't know who it was.

Schapiro states she was a bit (disappointed?) about the roles she wasn't getting.

DW: Did she express to you feelings of being depressed?

DS: I think so.

Schapiro now testifies about some of the discussions he and Lana had.

DS: She did mention that the older she got, the harder it was.

DW: Did she ever cry?

DS: She did tear up (once?) and it was difficult for her to speak.

Schapiro states that at one point she asked to borrow some money. He responded with, "Sure. Let me know what you need. [...] She asked for $600.00. [...] And that was a bit more than I had in mind to lend."

DW: Do you remember when it first was that she raised it?

DS: I don't remember the exact date. [...] I believe it was early December.

DW: Could it have been early November?

DS: I believe I said it (the amount) would be tough for me. [...] I think she was just trying to see how much she could get from me.

Schapiro testifies that he contacted the police to tell them about his email correspondence with Ms. Clarkson. He thought they would be relevant and that he would just mention it. Schapiro believes he learned of her death the day after. He was left a message by a friend.

DS: I believe that I first heard the defense (team) said she had committed suicide and I felt I needed to turn them (the emails) over. [...] I can't remember who I spoke to.

DW: Let me refresh your memory. [...] Do you remember speaking to Danny Smity and Robert Kenney? [...] Did you reach out to the defense at all or....

DS: No. I just contacted the prosecution.

After he turned over the information, the defense asked to talk to him at his apartment. Now Weinberg goes over the emails with him. Weinberg reads one email in a depressed sounding tone of voice. Schapiro states that Lana would go into that type of language but he didn't think too much about it. Weinberg asks about the email and if it was related to asking for money.

DS: I believe the request for money came later than this.

Another email is being introduced. The 10/25/02 email where she asks him to take her to see Young Frankenstein. This email is signed "Lana Jean."

DW: Did you know what her middle name was?

Schapiro states he didn't know.

(If you check out Wikipedia, it states that Lana's middle name is Jean.)

This was the email where she at first told him her phone would be cut off at 5 pm that day so call her on her cell phone. When he emailed her back later, she responded so he surmised that her phone service and consequently internet service was still up.

DS: She sent an email later that said she had worked something out with the phone company. When Schapiro writes back that he can't see the movie, Lana jokes about:

"Meanwhile, I guess I'll have to bite the bullet and start doing amateur strip contests. YeeHaaaaah!"

Another communication is discussed, talking about the loan again. Schapiro testifies that he never loaned her any money. He thought that he was already extending himself by taking her to dinner and giving her $25.00 (here and there) for groceries. Weinberg gets Schapiro to point out that the title of the email from Lana is, "Hanging on by a thread..."

As Weinberg walks back to the podium from handing the witness a copy of the email, I could swear he looked directly at me for a second or two.

Another email is presented about the loan. Weinberg then asks Schapiro the same question he asked the computer expert as to "why" Detective Robert Kenney's name was at the top of some of the emails. Schapiro states that he sent the detective some of the emails.

Weinberg now reads an email about Lana asking about the revised figure of a $200.00 loan. The one email that states she's going to "chuck it all."

DW: How did you feel about this email when you read it?

DS: I think she was just trying to pull at my heart strings. [...] I thought it was not genuine. [...] She was asking in any way she could so she could get this money.

Ultimately, he didn't lend her the $200.

DS: I think she was pulling at heart strings and some of the things didn't make sense to me and I told her I felt uncomfortable lending her any money.

DW: When you decided to tell her by E-mail, that you didn't feel comfortable with the changing amounts ... and then she said back (to you), she would be evicted now...

Weinberg points out the subject line of the E-mail "I will be evicted now."

I write down as much text of this email as I can.

Great. I promised them $200. I am supposed to give them that this afternoon.

DS: I felt she was trying to pull at my heart strings, or guilt trip me.

DW: Was she overly dramatic?

DS: Yes.

DW: Did you think that she would do anything at the time?

DS: No.

2:10 pm: That's all for direct and AJ steps up to cross Schapiro.

AJ: Mr. Weinberg asked you about Lana's comedy sketch, Lana Unleashed. [...] She showed you that, correct?

DS: Yes.

AJ: And you gave her your opinions?

DS: Yes.

AJ: It was a series of sketches she had written and produced it on her own?

DS: Yes.

Regarding the funding, he vaguely remembers that she owed money for it.

2:22 pm: I observe Spector taking a pill.

AJ: She said she could pay it back as soon as she made money off her next project, correct?

DS: Yes.

AJ then confronts Schapiro on his earlier testimony that he saw Lana outside the workshop fifteen to eighteen times. In the Grand Jury, he said eight to ten times. Schapiro admits that the number of times they got together would probably be close to eight to ten, rather than twenty.

DS: I would say we got together as often as my work schedule allowed.

AJ then asks quite a few questions in a row about how this guy made it into obtaining a writing job in television and how he of all people would understand Lana's struggle. "You knocked your elbows into that door and got with a production company," AJ asks. "Your success story is in the minority, correct? AJ continues. "It's not like my job where I go to work every day whether I do a good or a bad job."

The courtroom laughs at this comment.

AJ: The vast majority of actor and actresses, it's a lifelong search [...] through putting food on the table via waiting on them or software work. [....]

Schapiro states that before he got his writing gig he was a Quality Assurance Manager for Universal. It was a gaming software company.

AJ: So you sort of understood that when Lana Clarkson said, 'I've got to get up today (and pound the pavement?)...' [...] So that was something that you could relate to, correct? [...] That part of the life, the journey [...] that's what makes their life [...] the struggle is part of it?

DS: Yes.

AJ then goes on to talk about for people pursuing that career path and Lana Clarkson talking about feeling sad and feeling depressed, this was the normal ups and downs of that life.

AJ: Have you met anyone who is clinically depresssed?

DS: I don't think I have.

AJ goes on to describe someone who might be like that, "...under the covers, barely out of bed. Is that the type of clinical depression that you're talking about?"

DS: No.

AJ: Isn't it more true when you would talk about her, she was more vivacious and bubbly and the bright part of the room?

DS: Yes.

AJ then asks him, isn't that what you were referring to in your response to her E-mail about not being able to take her to the movies, and getting a "tan from her shine?"

DS: Yes. [...] She had a sparkling personality and everybody basked in her glow.

AJ: You liked yer

DS: Yes.

AJ: You considered her a friend?

DS: Yes.

AJ: Again, in that industry, it's not uncommon for people to feel that level of frustration?

DS: Not at all.

AJ: You went through that. [...] Did you ever consider yourself to the point (of seriously?) depressed?

DS: No. [...] Sad. [...] I describe it more frustrated than depressed.

AJ asks him if that's how he would describe Lana, more frustrated than depressed.

DS: Yes.

AJ asks if Lana's video was a sketch comedy show and he states that it was.

AJ: Are you in comedy writing now?

DS: Yes.

(If I am recalling correctly, I believe during the first trial he was writing for show on CourtTV, now TruTv.)

Schapiro states that the video was an idea of comedy writing and comedy in general. He agrees that Lana had some of that overly dramatic effect. AJ asks if, when he got to know her, when she would describe in the written word or spoken she would talk in overly flowery terms or dramatic. She would flourish back. When AJ is asking these questions, his own emphasis is very dramatic also.

AJ: She was given to extremes in describing things?

DS: Yes, correct.

2:37 pm: Looking over at Spector, I see him trying to stifle a yawn but being unsuccessful.

AJ: When you heard her phone was going to be turned off, did you think that Lana was going into a major depression?

DS: No. I thought she was being overly dramatic.

AJ then reads Lana's upbeat response back to Schapiro, directly after the email the defense has described as "depressed." Schapiro thought that she would explain things a bit darker than what they appeared to him.

AJ asks him about the email he sent her back when her phone "wasn't" turned off. "Is that you E-mailing her back, with a wink and a nod, like 'Enough drama, Lana, your phone isn't turned off.'

DS: Yes. I think that was what I was trying to say.

AJ then goes over the E-mail where Lana talks about amateur stripping and the "Yeehaaah!"

(A little note here. When Weinberg read the email and said the Yeehaaah, it fell flat. But AJ did it with his loud, Texan twang and it came off great. He even jokingly said that he could say it better than Mr. Weinberg.)

AJ: This was comedy. She's a comedy writer, correct? [...] Did you think that she was going to go down to Sunset Boulevard?

DS: I didn't think so. [...] I took it as overly dramatic as a way to convince me to loan her the money.

AJ: Mr. Schapiro, you knew her. I didn't; the jurors didn't. [...] Did you ever take these (the emails) as a suicide note?

DS: No, I didn't.

AJ: You would be the best to know her tone and tenor and what she meant?

DS: That's correct.

AJ: The last time you testified, you didn't think that was a suicide note or a cry for help and you still don't as you sit here today?

DS: That's correct.

2:45 pm: The afternoon break is called.

AJ and Schapiro exchange a few words and I hear AJ congratulate him. I don't catch any more than that. There is a pretty, young Asian looking woman off to my right in the second bench row. She is using one of those thin "reporter's notebooks." I see Frieda chatting with a public person in the back row. Over on the defense side of the room, I notice that Harvey with the white hair has shaved off his beard. At 3:03 pm, we are still waiting to start up again.

3:06 pm: AJ has a matter of housekeeping at the bench and then redirect starts.

DW: During the several months period (that you were seeing her) did you ever know her to get any parts?

DS: No.

DW: Do you know anything about the role of alcohol in her life?

DS: No. [...] I know a few times she told me she was on medication and she couldn't drink.

DW: In the community you know are there any people you know who write like that?

DS: I don't know of anyone who would put it in those terms.

DW: Do people write you things like "chuck it".

Schaprio states that he did forward the E-mail to a friend but it was more about, 'Can you believe she wrote that?' he felt it was overly dramatic.

Weinberg asks him if he ever had a relationship end over money issues and Schapiro said that yes, he did have a someone else where they broke up over them asking to borrow money.

DW: Did you think that shift, did that seem mercurial to you?

DS: I guess so.

Weinberg is finished with redirect and AJ gets up to recross.

AJ gets Schapiro to correct that the email that he forwarded to a friend was not the later email, it was actually the October 25th E-mail where she talks about amateur stripping.

And that's it for this witness and court is over for the day.

Fidler orders the jury back at 9:30 am, Wednesday. He explains a bit about the jury visit to Spector's home and that it is an extension of the courtroom. It's not about walking around, sight-seeing. Fidler impressed upon the jurors that this involves many people to set up and if they are sick that morning, to really think before they call in sick. Please make sure it is an emergency because this would be very hard to get coordinated again at a later time.

I have to tell you my impression of Mr. Schapiro. I think no matter who was asking him questions, he was trying to please the questioner. I do think though, that AJ really neutralized this witness because he was able to show that Schapiro, who knew her and was the one receiving the emails, thought Lana was being overly dramatic and when she wrote to him. He didn't read anything more into her E-mails than that.

Special thanks as always, to Sedonia Sunset for her time and patience in editing my late night entries.


Lee in Oz said...

Yay Sprocket, I've been constantly checking for your blog update and it's so exciting when it finally gets put up ! Thanks so much - you're a legend. Now I'll go and make a cup of coffee and savour every word of today's update. Thanks again from all the way over here in Australia ...

Anonymous said...

This sounds like a pretty wasted day for the defense. Maybe Weinberg is just killing time until the crime scene visit. I am not sure what to think now....they are just treading water.


Anonymous said...

when are they going to discuss the perjury and discovery violations?

Anonymous said...

Sounds like both Truc and AJ both did a very good job during cross examinations today. Thanks for the wonderful reporting. Still don't know how you are able to regurgitate so well everything that goes on during court! You're amazing! Nobody could write it any better!

<3 Kitty M.

Anonymous said...

What happened to the prosecution's allegation of a discovery issue pertaining to James Pex?

Wasen't that to be heard and decided on Tuesday as well?

Anonymous said...

One of her statements to the fan was, something to the effect that you can be an actor at any age.

-- Well, if nothing else, this makes me realize how glad I am I never became an actor in Hollywood. Still sounds like the same old ageist place... And that guy casting Lana because of her connection to Roger Corman?? Ugh. Sleazy business.

-Not a very helpful day for the defense. Where's their smoking gun?

Anonymous said...

Thanks again Sprocket!

I have always found Barons to be the most miserable of persons. Here is an over-middle-aged man willing to travel across country by BUS to tell tales out of school about a dead woman. And what were the tales? Nothing that indicate a suicidal state of mind. I did like the part where the DA talks about the need to work outside the show-biz field in order to sustain ones self. (Sounds like he has not been in the biz since that one little production). He does a lot of self-promoting (website about a play that lasted 12 performances and R Corman), but has nothing to sell.

Not sure what he brought to the defense beyond the fact that she was once discharged from a job.
And that by itself is lame.

Anonymous said...

"He could not find Jeff, or anyone around his apartment complex to do the firing (of Lana) for him...."

Have you ever heard of anyone as gutless as this? I think he better stick to pizza-prepping.
Wes J.

GeeMama said...

So even a struggling writer/director has to take an outside job of pizza handler. Lana's hostessing job at House of Blues was better.

Sprocket said...

perjury/discovery violations

I was under the impression that they would be discussed yesterday. However, since Fidler is trying to move the trial along, and this issue needs to be discussed outside the presence of the jury, counsel may wait until there is a time when the jury won't be there. It's possible it "could occur this afternoon.

However, from my understanding, Detective Tomlin is taking the prosecution to Spector's home to review the scene before the jury visit this afternoon.

AJ went over the struggling artist fact with Barons AND Schapiro that both of them have had to do other work while working towards that goal of making it in Hollywood.

Barons's whole demeanor on the stand was dramatic in every statement and explanation he gave. In one of the emails that was brought up with Schapiro, I saw in the email that Lana talked about the playwright and that he was gay. That fits with his demeanor.

For those of you who have been looking for Lana's web site, it's back up on the net under her real name. I've added the link in my "Places To Go listing" on the right, and here is the URL, below.

Anonymous said...

Wish the prosecution had also pointed out that the pay for this "great production" was $5 a day.

So Lana got fired or quit. So what? She was basically lowering herself to do volunteer work and if she had a paying job like House of Blues it would seem likely she'd dump him rather than vice versa. If she did insist on a better costume, it was because she didn't want to be seen in some shoddy outfit that this cheapo would have provided.

There are a ton of "artists" around. My husband and I are both artists. I have always had a second job to support doing art and my small rented studio, and my husband, a classical musician, has survived by having several part time jobs, some connected with music and others completely different. We have managed to continue this passion, and doing art is a passion, and also have a decent life, albeit we are not well off. Yes, you get depressed, discouraged and bitter. But you are driven to do it. I am sure there are other artists reading this who understand.

I can see that Lana was driven to do her best and strove for excellence in what she did. Her interaction with Barrons makes me think she had high aspirations rather than being disconsolate.

The part about "we rewrote the play last night." Sounds like his vindictive and petty little ego just couldn't take it. Are we and the jury to believe all he has to say about the reality of the situation? No!

My impression of him is that he's about 3 times more of a "loser" than she was and then he's stabbing her in the back just to garner a little publicity for himself.

This trial is in many ways shameful on the defense side. He and Punkin Pie need to be put side by side as the "character witnesses" to a girl who was far more classy and unique.

Anonymous said...

The whole play was $9000? PFFT! A drop in the bucket in Hollywood. And Lana offered to borrow her own costume and was told he couldn't 'insure' it? Sounds like a case of sour grapes.

Anonymous said...

Please keep the information flowing. The jury needs to hear those things the defense does not want anyone to know about. You're doing a great service!

JayDee said...

I worked in Hollywood my whole career, and watched a lot of actresses work. I've seen the "I hear something" routine before. Usually, it's a "star" type who's gone up on a line, or is unhappy with her own reading. Instead of just saying, "I need to start over", she'll find some other excuse.

You also see it when they feel the folks present aren't paying enough attention to them, or when they're doing something distracting. It's not the easiest thing in the world to get into character and keep your focus, so most of us didn't begrudge them a little ego play on occasion. I once had an actress go up in the middle of a line and claim that she was distracted because I was standing in her line of sight. We all took pains after that to avoid being in front of her when she was performing. It's just sort of a typical "star turn" thing.

In big rehearsal spaces, it's also not uncommon for there to be some outside noise, so it's quite possible there was some sound or other. The last thing in the world this looks like to me is someone who has become delusional.

It's just your basic actress being an actress stunt. The first time I heard the testimony, I just chuckled and thought, "yep, she was an actress all right".

Sprocket said...

Anon @ 12:55pm:

You said, "The jury needs to hear those things the defense does not want anyone to know about. You're doing a great service!"

I don't understand what you are implying. There is no evidence that the jury is reading this blog.

There is, however, every reason to believe they are taking the judge's instruction's right before the lunch break and at the end of each day, seriously.

Anonymous said...

Well, I certainly don't think that Whineberg (nice call from some other poster!) made any headway for the defense with these witnesses. David Schapiro stated several times, in several different ways, that he didn't think Lana was suicidal.

What I don't understand is why he is testifying for the defense and sitting on the defense side of the courtroom. Because Lana was a "drama queen" or what?

Also, is that disaster of a "friend," Punkin Pie, going to testify in this trial?

I'm really glad you're blogging about this trial, Sprocket. Otherwise, we wouldn't know anything that was going on! TruTV doesn't cover much of anything about it. Thank you.


Sprocket said...

Answering these last few questions and then I'm closing this entry.

The pay for the play
This was brought out on direct by Weinberg that the actors only received $5.00 per performance. The big "ticket" in appearing in the production was the Equity point.

David Schapiro
The defense called this witness because they believe, on some level, that having him read the emails that he and Lana exchanged helps their case in showing how "desperate" Lana was.

Having the prosecution call him as a witness doesn't really forward their case.