Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Phil Spector Retrial: Day Thirty-eight

February 4th, 2009. (This is an unedited, draft entry)

Defense Witnesses:

#1 Dr. Lakshmanan Sathyavagiswaran ( LA County Chief Medical Examiner & Coroner; testimony complete)
#4 Dr. Werner Spitz (Famous forensic pathologist; under direct examination)

Accredited Press inside the courtroom: None identified.

I'm somewhat frustrated to do a detailed report on today's events without finishing yesterday's report because there is an issue that happened at the end of Tuesday, that's very relevant to what was ruled on at the end of the day, today. So, I'm going to briefly go over the significant issue from the last ten minutes of trial yesterday, so you will a clear picture of how everything is relevant.

First, let me say that during direct, Weinberg asked Dr. Lakshmanan what he understood Jamie Lintemoot to mean, when she was describing the area of the wrists where she found blood stains (spatter). If I'm remembering correctly, what he did was read to Dr. Lakshmanan from this trial record.

In the prosecution's case, Jamie Lintemoot's testimony was broken up in two parts. At first, she "agreed" with Weinberg that the blood was on the anterior side of the wrists. (She didn't use that word 'anterior'; the words that were used were always poor and inadequate and there was a lot of demonstrating and pointing with not very good descriptions ~in my opinion~ as to the area described.) I remember when she testified to this and I immediately knew that she had misspoken, testified in the opposite way from the first trial. Then, she was brought back in the afternoon by the prosecution and she testified that she was mistaken, that was not what she meant. She meant the area of the wrists where you would wear a watch. Reading Lintemoot's testimony to Dr. Lakshmanan clearly confused him, because from those poor descriptions, Weinberg was asking Lakshmanan to show the jury the area of Lana's wrists that he understood Lintemoot to mean.

In the last ten minutes of yesterday's testimony, the prosecution asked to play a short video of Jamie Lintemoot's testimony from the first trial. Weinberg objected to all of this and his objection was overruled.

The tape starts out with an image of Judge Fidler and then moved onto Jamie Lintemoot clearly describing and demonstrating the area of the wrists where she saw small blood stains on Lana Clarkson's wrists. The tape went onto to show that Fidler interjected and made sure the record accurately reflected the area she was describing by describing the area himself.

The tape is quite short. Right after, Truc Do then asks Dr. Lakshmanan a question about the area, pointing to her own wrist. Weinberg immediately speaks up. "Objection! That's not what she said and Ms. Do was playing around with the area!" (meaning, the area of her wrists) Truc Do could not help herself; she had a big grin on her face and exhaled a short laugh. Several members of the jury noticeable laughed at Weinberg's frivolous objection. Fidler overrules Weinberg and says that the tape will be played again for the jury for clarification. The Judge himself gets up from his bench and dims the lights for the video. The jurors were also given a copy of the transcript from the first trial when they saw the video for the first time.

After the video was played, the prosecution read into the record Lintemoot's final testimony from this trial, clarifying the area where she saw the blood. Then Truc asked Dr. Lakshmanan if this was what Jamie Lintemoot described to him in the staff meeting. (The whole section of the cross was regarding some of the concerns the DA's office raised about the evidence collection. Dr. Lakshmanan was being crossed on the purpose of the staff meeting and what was discussed.)

This was a perfect, strategic move by the prosecution. It cleared up any misunderstanding there might have been about where Jamie Lintemoot saw tiny blood stains on Lana Clarkson's wrists.

Today, during redirect, Weinberg was showing Dr. Lakshmanan photos of Lana's hands and trying to say that the photos represent blood spatter on hands. Truc objects and she is sustained. Fidler states that there has been quite a bit of testimony by the witness (already) on this issue. Weinberg asks the question a slightly different way, but still trying to say the same thing. Truc objects again. Fidler responds, "The question before the jury I believe is incorrect and I will sustain the objection. Weinberg was told that Fidler would go into detail about his ruling at a later time. Once the jury was excused for the day, Weinberg brought up this issue.

Weinberg complains loudly that this is totally unfair that he was not allowed to read this section of testimony to Dr. Lakshmanan. "For me not to be able to say there was (blood on the) hands..." (Evidently, at the bench in one of the many sidebars, it was ruled that he was not allowed to refer to Lana's hands as having blood stains.)

Fidler: But you can't take her words in court and flip them around!

Fidler gives Weinberg a hypothetical example. Fidler states that this issue has been gone over. You can't take (some of) her words and state it as fact when her final words on the issue are different. Her final words were that her report is mistaken. She meant to say just "wrists" and not wrists and hands. Those were her final words to the jury. Weinberg argues with the judge that the hypothetical he was given is flawed.

DW: I can't take those photographs (of the hands) and tell the jury... [...] and I'm not allowed to say there's blood there? [...] For her to be allowed, and for them (prosecution) to be allowed and for me to be forced to NOT be able to say that there (is blood on her hands) [...] and I can NOT be compelled and pretend that, that's not true?

With each argument Weinberg makes, he gets louder and more frustrated. It's like he's got tunnel vision. He's so convinced he has the right to do what he wants to do.

Fidler: But when you take her testimony and flip it around, you can't state it as fact because that's not a fact before the jury!

Weinberg still argues. He gets louder and more adamant. He's like a dog with a bone who won't give it up. "How can I be compelled ... !!! [...]

Fidler: Because her final testimony said 'this is where I meant'! You're ignoring her final testimony!

DW: Yes!

Fidler: You can't do that and present it to a witness!

Fidler sounds really irritated!! And the expression on his face matches his tone.

Fider: You are not precluded from attacking it! You are not precluded from arguing it (in closings) but I'm real comfortable with my ruling!

I will be catching up my notes on yesterday's and today's testimony over the weekend but here are a few tidbits on today's events.

Dr. Lakshmanan was asked a series of very specific questions about things Lana Clarkson said in emails in the last few months before her death. He goes over many of the details of these emails and it's clear Dr. Lakshmanan has not familiarized himself with them as well as Dr. Pena had. And after each bit of information, he's asked if it would change his opinion on mode of death. Each time he says no.

One of the last few questions Dr. Lakshmanan was asked was a hypothetical. It was clearly a hypothetical about THE PIE'S testimony at the first trial.

DW: Would it make any difference that a party that Ms. Clarkson went to of a man she had never met before, stayed behind and cried for hours? [...] Would it change your opinion if, three days before (she died) she told a very good friend, some considered the best friend, that she didn't want to live anymore? Nothing changes your opinion or conclusion?

AJ: Objection. Mr. Weinberg is editorializing.

DW: I'll withdrawal it. [...] Ms. Do went through all 24 cases (from the study he did on suicides), well in this case (or that case, or that case) there was a history of suicide ideation.....

Dr. L: But there were other factors in this case. (The circumstances of each individual case are considered.)

I think there is another question by Weinberg that I miss. Since he was presented with the emails where Lana wrote she was going to "chuck it all" etc., Dr. Lakshmanan changes his prior opinion that Lana did not exhibit any history of suicidal ideation, after that last hypothetical about THE PIE'S testimony.

Dr. L: I said that she had no history of ideation. It appears that she had a few instances on and off.

There were many more questions after this before Weinberg was finished with his redirect. Understand, that the whole purpose of putting on this witness was to try to show that the coroner was biased.

When Truc got up to recross Dr. Lakshmanan, she only had one question.

TD: Mr. Weinberg asked you a question about a friend who said that three days before her death (Ms. Clarkson wanted to end it all) and if that statement was proven to be false, there would be no evidence of suicidal ideation?

Dr. L: That's correct.

There was a very funny moment in the afternoon session. Dr. Werner Spitz showed up and entered 106 while Dr. Lakshmanan was under redirect. AJ stops testimony and asks that Dr. Spitz leave the courtroom, that is, unless Mr. Weinberg can give any reason or offer of proof that he should be allowed to stay. Weinberg doesn't and Dr. Spitz is asked to leave the courtroom until he's called.

Dr. Spitz gets up from his seat, walks down the aisle towards the well and enters the well, as if he's headed to the witness box occupied by Dr. Lakshmanan. The entire courtroom including the jury had a laugh over Dr. Spitz's "Mr. Magoo" like moment of entering the well.

Dr. Spitz only testified for about 20 minutes today. He mostly testified about his CV, and that he charges the same amount whether he works for the prosecution or a defense team. He states that the majority of his work is in civil court.


Detailed Trial Notes, February 4th, 2009

9:23 am, I'm inside the courtroom. The defense team is already set up. Spector enters with his bodyguard. Rachelle isn't here. Spector's number one fan is already here; she's sitting where Rachelle usually sits. It's a good guess that Rachelle is at home for the expert to come and test the fountain. Spector and his fan look over a book she has brought to court LA Storia. The regular bailiff Kyles is back. Diane is the first court reporter up.

9:26 am: Pat Kelly from the PIO department arrives. Right after her come Mrs. Clarkson, Fawn and Bill Ferguson.

Truc Do is wearing a creamy, ivory looking corduroy pantsuit. The jacket is finely tailored around her tiny waist and flared a bit at the hips. She's wearing a lighter cream, round high-scooped neck top.

Spector's fan, Tran and the bodyguard chat in the aisle near the inner courtroom doors. It looks like Spector is wearing a dark navy suit. I notice AJ's tie, and lean in to Linda to ask her if she could describe the color to me. His suit is a charcoal gray and the tie is a paisley, comma design in shades of silver, gray and black. AJ says that it's not a type of tie he usually wears. AJ talks with us in the gallery about his two dogs and the panic he was in when some good samaritian found them wandering on the street in the middle of the day. They are fine now.

The goateed black man is back and sitting on the defense side. For a moment, they could not find Dr. Lakshmanan. He comes almost running into court at 9:36 am.

9:38 am: Dr. Lakshmanan is back under cross by Truc Do. Some jurors are still coughing.

Truc starts off with the meeting Dr. Lakshmanan had with his staff, and the three areas of the report that concerned Jamie Lintemoot's work at the scene and at the morgue.

1. Inquiry where the back spatter was on the wrists
2. The tape lift
3. The purge

(The back spatter was address in yesterdays' testimony.) Truc goes over with Dr. Lakshmanan the tape lift. The concern was that the tape lift "compromised" the blood spatter. Truc asks, "Did that inquiry come from Dr. Lynne Herold?" Dr. Lakshmanan states he knew it came from the crime lab. He's not sure if came from Dr. Herold.

TD: This was not a conclusion but rather a concern about using tape to lift the item?

DW: Objection!

Fidler: Let me hear the question so I can rule on it. (It appears this objection was overruled.)

Truc reads the testimony of Dr. Herold on the tape lift.

TD: .... That the line "compromised" was that it wasn't a conclusion by Dr. Herold or the DA's office?

Weinberg continues to object to this line of questioning. Fidler overrules the objections.

Dr. Lakshmanan clarifies that this meeting with his staff to address these concerns and to see if the issues had any bearing. Truc moves onto the purge. This was another example that they (DA's office) raised a concern and documented it.

Truc moves onto the study Dr. Lakshmanan did on intra-oral suicides. He was granted permission by Judge Fidler to do the study. It was after the conclusion of the first trial. Dr. Lakshmanan states, "The unusual thing of this case was the teeth were chipped and I wanted to compare that fact with prior intra-oral deaths." He did the study on his onw initiative. Truc goes over the study statistics. The study covered a period of gunshot deaths in LA County from 2004 to 2006. 110% overall choose suicide by firearm. 24 women were intra-oral.

Truc then goes back to the steps outlined in the first pages of Dr. Di Maio's book and clarifies that he did every step that's recommended in his book.

TD: What I did not hear in any of those steps is the use of statistics.

Dr. L: That's correct.

TD: Or the use of probabilities.

Dr. L: That's correct. [...] We use statistics to "support" not to diagnose. [...] That each case stands on its own.

Truc asks him about a specific case in the study. "Do the statistics on that case have any bearing on this case?"

Dr. L: No.

TD: Were they each ruled a suicide because the circumstances of each case supported that conclusion? They stand on their own?

Dr. L: Yes.

9:56 am: Weinberg asks for a bench conference. A suited black man with a briefcase cat comes up to Wendy's desk. Spector has an orange looking drink at the defense table. The man who just came in, leaves. Fidler is talking about statistics; there are only a few words that I hear. Weinberg speaks after Fidler.

Truc then goes over the autopsy reports of all 24 of those cases of intra-oral suicides in women identified in Dr. Lakshmanan's study. In each case, the contributing factors, prior attempts, suicide note, left a will with instructions, all contributed to the final ruling of suicide.

#6: Via a phone call, the victim expressed intent; ideation and threats

#7: The presence of a note, warning of threats, ideation

#8: Recently released from a psychiatric facility 17 days prior; expressed intent

#9: History of major depression; she thought she was dying of a serious illness; she died in bed

#10: Expressed ideation days before and told husband she was going to do it; she was found alone, in her living room; no note

#11: (Truc skips this one and comes back to it) No note; victim had recently discussed recent family molestation

#12: Presence of suicide note; multiple prior attempts; bipolar disorder

#13: Same; multiple notes and drafts

#14: Shot herself in the presence of others in the middle of the street; on drugs

#15: History of schizophrenia; found alone in bed

#16: Presence of a note; found alone in bath

#17: Presence of a note; told husband of intent

#18: Murder-suicide; 90 year-old spouses; note to son with intent by both

#19: Prior suicide ideation and threats

#20: History of depression; told boyfriend of intent

#21: Major depression; history of multiple attempts; expressed suicide ideation

#22: Documented history of major depression

#23: Presence of note and found alone in bedroom

#24: Note; prior attempts; prior warnings.

TD: Isn't it that the circumstances (of these cases) all but two involved the victim taking their own life alone (at home or in bed)? [...] You have told us that circumstances surround each case supported a finding of suicide....

Dr. Lakshmanan talks about that even when the procedure of a psychological autopsy was first introduced (at the LA Coroner's) back in the 60's, it was not appropriate to send a homicide case for psychological autopsy. You won't get an independent evaluation. He explains that a psychological autopsy, "It's a retrospective analysis to evaluate intent. [...] You're going back in time to determine the last days of a victim's life. [...] The intention of the psychological autopsy is an autopsy of the mind."

TD: And that's the origin?

Dr. L: Yes. That was the standard in Kirky's (sp?) time in the 1950's.

TD: The coroner's office simply does not investigate psychological autopsy in issues of foul play?

Dr. Lakshmanan states that this process only goes through his office. He details a very exact process that his office goes through to even get to one. The family must make the request in writing, outlining why they disagree with the finding of suicide. Then he personally reviews the case and makes a determination. The family must agree to be interviewed by independent psychologists.

TD: Have you ever sent a case out for a psychological autopsy where you have someone at the scene who stated they fired a fatal shot?

Dr. L: No.

Truc now goes over two letters from the DA's office, by Doug Sortino and Kevin McCormick (sp?) that outlines meetings held with Dr. Pena and other members of his staff. And she also presents the notes of Dr. Pena of the meeting. She states who was at the meeting including Steven Dowell who suggested the psychological autopsy. He's a criminalist, not a medical examiner.

TD: If he was there at that meeting, how would you have answered at a meeting that occurred six months after moding this a suicide?

Dr. Lakshmanan explains that he would have described the same procedure that has always been in place. After that meeting Doug Sortino of the DA's office wrote Dr. Lakshmanan a letter, dated May 3rd, 2004. Truc Do reads the letter. "The Deputy District Attorney said they would share with the coroner everything that they discovered, correct? The did not tell the coroner not to do one," Truc asks Dr. Lakshmanan. After the coroner's office received the letter, they ignored it because they had already reached a conclusion.

A juror coughs repeatedly and Fidler asks if they need a break.

TD: Because (the coroner's office) is an independent agency. They didn't have a right to tell the DA's office what to do or what not to do, correct?

Another letter from the DA's office to the coroner. This was after the case had already gone to the grand jury. The grand jury concluded on September 24th, 2004 to rule this case a homicide. In the letter, dated March 31st, 2005, "The DA wrote a conclusion that there was no indication that Lana Clarkson took her own life. 'As I promised you in my May 13th letter, here are various reports, a DVD of emails.... [...] 263 pates and a DVD of the hard drive," Truc states. "What did you do?"

Dr. L: I didn't open it.

TD: You essentially ignored it?

Dr. L: Yes. [...] It was an investigation by the DA to bolster their case. I didn't want to have any involvement with that.

TD: Did you take anything in these letters as an instruction not to do a psychological autopsy?

Dr. L: Mr. Sortino said he sent the info to them as information only and didn't expect us to do anything with it.

TD: What the District Attorney did had no bearing on your work?

Dr. L: That's correct.

Truc Do then goes over all the facts that he considered. "Given those facts do you know of any prior case of a woman, just meeting a man for the first time, going to his home and a complete strange, and going to his hous and killing herself with his gun? [...] In your vast experience, the scenes you've gone to, the anidotal literature, have you ever head of a case where someone has gone to someone's home and killed themselves with someone else's gun?

Dr. L: No.

Weinberg objects and asks to approach the bench. Truc has effectively turn the statistics around on their rear. After the sidebar, Truc Do goes over more of the facts of the case. Dr. Lakshmanan states that when he does see suicide in the presence of others, it's usually that they are estranged lovers.

DT: You've never heard of another case where another person admits to the fatal shot of a suicide? [...] Did you also consider that Mr. Spector did not pick up a telephone and call for help? [...] That instead of calling police, he spent forty minutes manipulation the scene?

DW: Objection!

Weinberg objects to the word "manipulated." Fidler sustains the use of the word manipulated and tells Ms. Do she can rephrase. She does, and when she gets to the same point in the question, she's stuck. Fidler offers the words, "moving things around, changing things."

There are more questions about the things Spector did not do. The other thing he considered was the fact that the gun was wiped down.

The morning break is called. Wendy and AJ tease Truc about her pronunciation of certain words. I ask AJ informally how much longer he expects the case to take. He tells me the case may go four more weeks. I discuss the defense's position to use suicide and statistics with Sherri and Linda during the break. Our thoughts were that Weinberg, in making the move to bring in statistics, didn't turn them around. To take the rest of the facts of the case, and apply statistics to them. There is a tall slender man here, a Spector supporter on the defense side that we think might be Dan Kessel. He has short salt and pepper hair. I don't know what Dan Kessel looks like. All I know is this is a man that early on in the trial came down to support Spector and Rachelle took his photo with Spector in the hallway, right outside of courtroom 106. Last year, the defense put on 38 or 40 witnesses. It will be interesting to see who they put on this year.

11:02: am: Cindy is up as court reporter. Spector sits in the second row chatting with the man with the goatee. His legs are crossed and I can see that Spector is wearing his flat two toned shoes today that go with his navy Edwardian suit. I have not seen him wear heels once to the second trial.

11:07 am, Wendy calls the jury.

Truc Do asks him about what he knew about Mr. Spector's activities in those 40 minutes and that he knew the gun was wiped.

TD: You also know that if that jacket was worn by Mr. Spector, Dr. Herold concluded that the jacket had to be within two to three feet of Lana Clarkson's mouth.

There are more questions about the jacket and that Stuart James agreed the jacket had to have been within one-and-a-half to two feet.

DW: Objection! He also stated three to four feet!

TD: I don't recall that your honor.

Fidler: Neither do I.

Fidler states he doesn't have the testimony. Truc states she will rephrase it as a question. After she asks another question, Weinberg objects that this is another question that was litigated outside hte presence of the jury. A bench conference is called. It's 11:14 am.

TD: When moding a homicide, were you aware that Mr. Spector was holding loaded guns at five other women ...

Dr. L: (I miss the first part of the answer) ...That would tend to support it.

Truc Do then brings in Vince Tannazzo's statement, but first she apologizes to the court. Truc reads to Dr. Lakshmanan Tannazzo's statement that he testified he heard Spector say and asks him to consider that.

Dr. L: These statements, if they are true, would tend to support my finding, but they would not be based on that.

TD: But having these additional facts, do they support your conclusion?

Dr. L: I stand by my opinion of what I learned at the time and my research afterward and conclusion. [...] There is no doubt in my mind.

Weinberg steps up to redirect Dr. Lakshmanan.

Weinberg goes over Dr. Lakshmanan's study and the "thousand" cases of shotgun wounds. Dr. Lakshmanan states the percentages of intra-oral gunshot deaths in his study. Dr. Lakshmanan states he didn't count males; he only counted the number of intra-oral for women. Thirty percent (24/80) were women who shot themselves intra-orally. The percentage of men were fairly comparable.

AJ: I think counsel means "gunshot" instead of "shotgun."

DW: Thank you.

DW: You've been there (coroner's office) 32 years. [...] rough math, possibly 2,000 (cases intra-oral)?

Dr. L: The other cases are from my tenure, but I don't have specifics on early cases.

DW: How many had plans for the next day?[...] How many had gone to work? [...] How many had a new job?

Each time Dr. Lakshmanan states, "I can't answer that."

DW: But I thought you answered Ms. Do that you thought it was unusual ...

Weinberg asks Dr. Lakshmanan to review a paper. (I can't tell from my notes if Weinberg is reading from the paper or these next statements are questions.)

DW: The fact that people have plans for the next day or (for) vacation [...] the fact that they may have other things that doesn't mean... [...] Impulsive suicides: people do impulsive things from jumping off bridges to shooting themselves... [...] That the number of completed suicides are impulsive...

Dr. L: I can't say the majority are. [...] Because they have a history of suicidal ideation.

DW: Did you find out if Lana Clarkson was an impulsive person, or did things impulsively [...] or that she was a dangerous person? [...] Were you aware that she hand three different incidents where she broke bones, in a period of over ten years?

Weinberg lists the breaks.

DW: Does that suggest that she might be a reckless person? [..]It is considered unusual for someone to injury themselves in activities that are considered to be somewhat safe, correct?

(Oh. My. God. I'm having a tough time keeping from laughing.) Both times, Dr. Lakshmanan states he can't make that conclusion. He would have to look at each accident.

Dr. Lakshmanan states that he did the suicide study to bolster his experience.

DW: You only studied 24 cases? [...] You said chipped teeth was unusual. Isn't Lana Clarkson the ony person who had caps on her teeth?

Dr. Lakshmanan then talks about the gag reflex, and his thoughts on the gag reflex in relation to a gun in an individual's mouth.

Dr. L: To me, this is just a theory, it's not a study. [...] In the study, some of them we didn't do a full autopsy. We had the x-rays themselves. [...] When someone controls the gun...

He states that this is only his own theory. It's not supported by any scientific study. To bolster his opinion, he gives the example of a doctor taking a throat swab. In that situation, the doctor is taking the swab at the back of the throat and the patient doesn't "know" where the swab is going. There is an automatic gag reflex. With suicides with guns in the mouth, the individual controls the gun so there wouldn't be a gag reflex.

When Dr. Lakshmanan presented the paper, there was a doctor at the conference that had a case where there was a homicide and they had broken teeth. "That the recoil, that is why the teeth broke."

DW: Lets talk about this opinion because this is the first I heard of it.

Dr. L: In the gagging reflex, the natural reflex, is to close the mouth. And we had talked about the bruising on the tongue.

Weinberg brings up his issue about the crane of the gun and how it was proven physically impossible for the gun have made that bruise.

AJ: Objection to "proven" It was not proven; anatomical bruise.

Fidler: If you wish to re-ask as a hypohthetical....

Weinberg puts a blow-up photograph of the tongue on the ELMO.

Dr. Lakshmanan says something to the effect that the diagram of the tongue is more accurate than the excised tongue.

Weinberg is focusing on the bruising. "So, isn't all this bruising caused by the explosion and the movement of the teeth? [...] You also talk about gagging and the mouth having a "tendency to close." [...] Are you aware that Dr. Pena testified that the lips were loosely around the gun?"

TD: Objection! Misstates the evidence.

Dr. Lakshmanan goes back over the throat swab example.

11:44 am: Several students come in and sit in the third and fourth bench rows.

Dr. L: This is is just an opinion. It's not been proven.

(Unfortunately my notes are not clear her who is asking and who is answering these next statements.) Intimidation with a gun...that's no different than try to force a gun into the mouth. Well, then for the gun to get there.... in the first place there was no struggle? Your theory is the person... was (under?) intimidation?

DW: Your theory of the teeth is based on there was no struggle over the gun?

Dr. L: I call it cooperative assistance.

I have in my notes here that there is a bit of laughter from the jury over whether or not Dr. Lakshmanan is finished with his answer or not. He's sitting back in the witness chair and his arms are crossed over his chest. Weinberg tries to understand Dr. Lakshmanan's theory.

Dr. L: In the suicides, when they control the gun, we don't see the chipped teeth. [...] What I'm saying is, the chipped teeth was unusual.

DW: You're saying because of her crowns...?

Dr. L: I'm saying, in suicides the victim holds the gun. In homicides the suspect holds the gun.

DW: Are you aware that James Carroll testified that people who hold guns have less recoil?

TD: Objection! Misstates evidence.

11:52 am: Fidler calls the end of the morning session early, explaining that a judge friend of his is being honored in Montebello and he needs to at least drop in on the luncheon. I have a belated note here that two jurors were nodding their heads about the gag reflex testimony.

At the lunch break, a trial watcher stops to tell me about parts of a conversation they overheard Spector was having with a supporter. Supposedly, Spector was complaining about how long it took him to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

During my walk down Temple street to the underground city, I get to listen in on a funny story that a somewhat young-looking prosecutor is telling another gentleman about. It's about a judge who was falling asleep in court during one of his cases. He tried a ploy of slamming a book down on the table and making a loud objection, even though he had no grounds whatsoever to make an objection at that time. The judge woke up and was a bit discombobulated. The prosecutor added that the court reporter could hear the judge snoring through her headset connected to the microphone at the judge's desk. The judge was eventually retired.

1:29 pm: I'm back inside 106. Louis Spector and his companion Freida are here for the afternoon session. Rachelle is back in court, too. She's chatting it up with the #1 fan and wearing a type of outfit that surprised me during the first trial: knickers.

1:35 pm: The jury enters the courtroom.

DW: I don't know if we're going to still call you "Dr. Lucky" after all the times you've had to come back. (Earlier, Dr. Lakshmanan testified that years ago Dr. Lucky was the name he was called because no one could pronounce his name.) [...] The gag reflex is what happened when the gun was put in (her) mouth?

Dr. L: That's one possibility. [...] The victim doesn't know where the gun is going to go like the patient doesn't know where the swab is going to go.

Weinberg puts up an image of the gun and talks about the crane of the gun.

Dr. L: You are assuming that only the tip of the gun was put in (the mouth). We don't know.

Dr. Lakshmanan reads from a dental paper about areas (of the mouth) that are sensitive to a gag reflex. Dr. Lakshmanan states, "We don't know where the gun was placed or what her tongue was doing.

DW: So you have no evidence or proof?

Dr. L: This is just a possibility.

DW: Do you have any knowledge of what Mr. De Souza said?

Dr. L: The only information of what [...] I was told is in the report.

DW: Do you know what Mr. De Souza actually heard? [...] Do you know if he gave inconsistent statement about the conditions of what he heard, the ambient sound, etc. [...] Are you aware that in the reports and transcripts that there are (different versions)?

Dr. L: But both statements do not change my opinion.

DW: You've not spoken to Mr. De Souza? (This was ridiculous for Weinberg to ask this of a coroner. He knows that coroner's would not interview or speak to a witness! That's for detectives and investigators. For him to imply something is wrong because he didn't is very misleading.)

Dr. L: No I have not.

DW: You've not read the police reports?

Dr. L: Yes I did.

Dr. Lakshmanan states he returned some detective paperwork to Detective Katz.

DW: You were read an article [....] Have you ever heard the name Ed Lozzi?

The prosecution objects and asks to approach.

Fidler: I will allow him to ask, but maybe.... (It appears Fidler rethinks his decision.)

Weinberg continues to argue and Fidler asks to see the papers. Weinberg hands them to the judge. Juror #18 is coughing and Fidler asks if they are all right. Then Fidler goes back to reading the documents.

DW: You answered Ms. Do's question about concealment, evasion, by the families of suicides. If you were told that an investigator's report contains a report about Ms. Clarkson's familiarity and use of guns, or that Ms. Clarkson's attorney had discouraged him about telling anyone, (about Ms. Clarkson's knowledge with guns)?

Dr. L: Well that aspect, yes.

DW: There was testimony at the last trial. Testimony from Ms. Laughlin (Pie)...

TD: Objection! Hearsay!

Fidler: If you pose it in a hypothetical, that's fine.

DW: If you were told that [...] What if she (Pie) was told that not to say that Ms. Clarkson was suicidal? [...] And (what if?) the police were told not to take the desktop computer because she never used it?

Dr. L: I would need to know if it was tested.

DW: What if that computer was subpoenaed; (and the police were) told it was given to the Goodwill?

Dr. L: I can't really make a judgement (of) suspicion because no one tested (it).

Weinberg asks Dr. Lakshmanan about an article that relates to medical treatment by physicians to suicide rates. Dr. Lakshmanan I believe states that the data and table refer to a special interest in physicians. The article is related more to physicians. Article was related to those that are more closely related to physicians and that these people had seen doctors.

DW: Did you see her medical records?

Dr. L: Not specifically. Personally, no.

Judge Fidler clarifies for the court reporter Dr. Lakshmanan's words. The courtroom has a bit of a laugh and Dr. Lakshmanan thanks the judge.

Weinberg now goes over her doctor's visits. There were four in October, 2002. The 28th and the 30th she had doctor visits. There was a visit in November and one in December.

DW: Is she someone that saw physicians frequently?

Ultimately, Dr. Lakshmanan answers yes.

Weinberg points out again that between September and December, she had six to eight doctor visits at least.

DW: You didn't know anything about that, did you? [...] You don't know anything about her emotional state?

Dr. L: Dr. Pena handled that.

Weinberg goes over the fact that Lana had migraine headaches for years. Dr. Lakshmanan states, "That I did know."

DW: That condition could be related to stress? [...] No physical cause could be found for them?

Weinberg now lists everything on that single patient intake form that could in the remotest sense, be connected to depression. "She complains of dizzy spells. There are many areas of problems but I'll concentrate on just a few. [...] Dizzy spells; could that be related to depression? Fatigue?" Weinberg lists more. "Is that a series of symptoms that could be related to depression?"

Dr. L: These could be related to various illnesses. You would have to talk to the treating physician who made a diagnosis.

Weinberg now bring in a statement by a psychiatrist.

TD: Objection! Hearsay!

Fidler: You can ask it as a hypothetical.

DW: Are you aware that Ms. Clarkson wrote to David Schapiro, "I'm at the end of my rope and I'm about ready to chuck it?"

Dr. Lakshmanan is handed a copy of the email. The prosecution asks that Weinberg read the entire email. Fidler instructs the witness to read the entire E-mail.

A bench conference is requested. Fidler doesn't look happy. Weinberg continues to argue at the bench.

DW: So have you read the E-mail? That's just one of them. I've got a few more and then I'll ask you a few questions.

Weinberg brings in about four E-mails where the language is somewhat suggestive that she is depressed.

Dr. L: It also states she is a happy, positive person.

The defense AV clerk puts up the details of the text up on the ELMO but I don't think the prosecution realizes it. AJ & Truc whisper. Weinberg reads from a fourth E-mail. Fidler rubs his face with his left hand.

DW: Do you think that trashing of one's pad in the midst of a depression is not signs of depression?

Dr. L: There are people who have very high highs and low lows.

DW: And people who trash their pads are at a pretty low point?

Dr. L: That's beyond my ability....

DW: Do you know Ms. Clarkson struggled with alcohol?

TD: Objection!

Fidler: Sustained in regards to the word struggled.

Weinberg reads an E-mail to Lana's friend Heather that states, "16 days sober."

(Again, this is the slamming of Lana and accusing the victim.) A fifth E-mail is read. (At this rate I don't think we're going very fast.)

DW: You are aware that people don't collect their sobriety unless they have an issue with alcohol?

Dr. L: I can't make an informed decision on that.

DW: Are you aware that there was an empty bottle of tequila at Mr. Spectors home on February 3rd, 2003? [...] Is it your opinion that this was an indication of the regular ups and downs (she was experiencing)? [...] Would it make any difference (in his opinion) that a party that Ms. Clarkson went to of a man she had never met before stayed behind and cried for hours? [...] Would it change your opinion if three days before she told a very good friend, some considered the best friend that she didn't want to live anymore?

Dr. L: No.

DW: Nothing changes your opinion or conclusion?

(There is an objection here, but I don't think I have the question it is referring to. I'm sure it was Jackson making the objection because I have, "Mr. Weinberg is editorializing." Jackson usually makes those objections. Then Weinberg says, "I'll withdrawal it.")

Weinberg brings up the 24 cases of intra-oral suicide that were reviewed earlier. He infers that there was a history of suicide ideation in this case, too.

Dr. L: But there were other factors in this case.

Dr. Lakshamanan generalizes about the circumstances in all of those other cases. He then says, "I said that she had no history of ideation. It appears that she had a few instances of it on and off.

Weinberg asks if 14 of the 24 chases had significant alcohol in their systems and Dr. Lakshmanan states he would have to check (the summary report). Weinberg goes onto ask about the statistics of those 24 cases. "Thirteen of the twenty-four were middle age, between the ages of 34-55?

Fidler: Tread carefully Mr. Weinberg.

DW: I believe I asked you whether your staff would be required to photograph bruises on the body, and your answer was, "The pathologist would."

Dr. L: Well, I'd like to check my prior testimony.

DW: You are aware of procedures of coroner's offices? You've read the chapters, etc.?

Dr. L: Yes.

DW: He (the coroner) would be violating protocols if he failed to photograph (bruises)?

Dr. L: That's correct.

Weinberg brings up the fact that it's not in the notes of Jamie Lintemoot or Barbara Nelson that they observed any bruises at the scene. Weinberg then moves onto Dr. Lakshmanan's opinion. Weinberg asks Dr. Lakshmanan to take into account the information he's just been given. He clarifies that Dr. Lakshmanan had been told that the gun had been wiped.

DW: Have you ever looked at the gun?

(Again, this is another ridiculous question for the coroner. I think it's purposefully misleading to ask him questions about analysis that is not performed by his office.)

Weinberg puts up a photo of the gun on the ELMO.

DW: So where is the evidence that the gun had been wiped?

Dr. L. Sir! I was given a report from the crimnalist.

DW: So, you don't even know what the wiping was? You just assumed what you've been told?

Weinberg has Dr. Lakshmanan find the report or the report is handed to him.

DW: So you accepted that without actually looking at the gun?

Dr. L: Certainly. She's the criminalist. It's not my area of expertise.

DW: You've been told that Mr. Spector was alone for 40 minutes. [...] Do you know (for certain what Mr. De Souza told...)?

AJ: Objection! It appears that from Mr. Weinberg's statement that Mr. Spector is going to testify to (what he said). And if that's the case, then I withdrawal my objection.

I think there is another question by Weinberg because I have Fidler's statement.

Fidler: I believe that I sustained an objection.

The break is called. There is a discussion with counsel outside the jury's presence about the next few witnesses that Weinberg is going to call. I believe AJ states he doesn't have any indication as to the witnesses that Weinberg will be calling next. Weinberg then states, "I certainly don't want to be uncooperative." (Oh, that was rich!) Then I have something in my notes where he goes onto say that, "there's no chance that we'll be able to get through them (next witnesses?) in three days."

During the break, I was told by several people in the gallery that some of the jurors were quietly laughing about the gag reflex questions. The example given to me was, "Like girls blushing or giggling about sex." I must be getting old since my mind did not go in the same direction when these questions and answers were raised.

A female sheriff enters and heads over to Wendy's desk. Wendy and the sheriff hug. Wendy is quite happy to see this sheriff. "Look who's here," she says. "My buddy!" Jackson and Josh chat in the well. Truc Do and Susan (Weinberg's paralegal at the defense table) chat in the aisle near the inner courtroom doors. Spector's number one fan, Louis Spector and Frieda chat. I ask one of the several young interns who is in court today if he is working on the research for this case. He responds, "I do what Josh says. So if he says jump, I say how high." Josh smiles.

I look over at the defense table. Spector has the huge clam-shell out again. I see it fully open for the first time and verify it IS a double mirror! He's staring into it for some time. That was a long stare.

3:04 pm: We're still not ready to start but Weinberg is at the podium. Two minutes later the jury enters. I note that Juror #5 is wearing the latest Batman t-shirt from Heath Ledger's last movie. Weinberg is bringing Dr. Lakshmanan back to where they were before the end of the break.

DW: We talked about the medical evidence at autopsy and we talked about intra-oral gunshot woulds and that they are generally ruled a suicide....

Dr. L: Based on the evidence of each case.

DW: And there was no evidence that there was injury to the lips. Does that suggest the gun was not forced into the mouth?

Dr. L: Dr. Pena did mention there was injury to the inside of her mouth.

Weinberg now moves onto the photos of Lana Clarkson's hands. It's 3:10 pm and Pat Dixon enters 106. Weinberg now is trying to say that the photos represent blood spatter on

TD: Objection!

Fidler: Sustained! There has been qite a bit of testimony by the witness on this issue.

Weinerg asks another question about spatter on the hands.

TD: Objection!

Fidler: The question before the jury I believe is incorrect, and I will sustain the objection.

DW: You've heard that there was testimony of blood spatter in the anatomy of Ms. Clarkson. [....] Steven Dowell found GSR on each of Clarkson's upper extremities around (?), and numerous consistent particles of GSR?

Dr. L: Yes.

DW: And that no GSR was found on Mr. Spector? [...] Or his shirt or pants?

Dr. L: I don't believe I have that report with me.

DW: No "specific particles" of GSR on Mr. Spector's jacket?

I'm not sure if this next statement is Dr. Lakshmanan answering or, if Weinberg included it as part of his question. "Apart from one consistent particle that Dr. Herold testified to."

DW: You know that there was no blood spatter on his right front anywhere, [....] along the shoulder? [...] No GSR or gunpowder inside the jacket? [...] No blood on the right sleeve or cuff?

I believe it's Jackson who makes an objection here. The sticky discs that were used on Spector's jacket, "There's no evidence of it. Those discs have never been tested." I don't have in my notes how Fidler ruled on that objection. Weinberg asks more questions of Dr. Lakshmanan starting with, "There was no evidence of that and you were told that...."

Dr. L: I didn't examine the evidence myself. Dr. Herold did.

DW: And there's no evidence of any particles found on Mr. Spector? [...] No trace of Spector's (DNA), foreign materials found under Ms. Clarksons fingernails?

Dr. L: I'd like to interject that I have to assume that Mr. Spector didn't wash his hands.

DW: Let me just talk for a moment about manipulating evidence.

It's at this point that Dr. Spitz enters the courtroom and he's asked to step outside. Instead, he walks toward the well of the court and the courtroom laughs.

DW: Were you aware that the bloody rag was on the floor of the bathroom? [...] Were you aware that there was no blood on the doorknob and banister that had not been wiped off? [...] Were you aware that he was wearing the same clothes [....] and the jacket was on the floor, it hadn't been thrown away? [...] Were you aware that none of the clothing had any tears in it? [...] Were you aware that Ms. Clarkson didn't have any scratches on her? [...] Were you aware that the furniture, photographs of the furniture showed that it was not disturbed? [...] Were you aware that Mr. Spector's fingerprints were not found on the gun? [...] Were you aware that there was blood in the gun where it would have been covered by a hand? [...] Were you aware that Phil Spector's DNA was not found anywhere on the gun? [...] Were you aware that the blood on the banister had been tested by DNA? [...] Were you aware that on the door handle that there was a mixture of Lana Clarkson's and Phil Spector's DNA?

TD: Objection! That misstates the evidence.

A sidebar is called. I believe I overhear Fidler say, "I think that misstates..."

DW: On the door latch that had blood, his DNA was found.

TD: Objection! Misstates evidence.

Fidler speaks to the jury that there is question about testing. The objection is overruled. (The blood on the gun was tested.)

DW: Does that change your opinion that was a homicide since there is no DNA (from Mr. Spector on the weapon)? [...] You agree that if it weren't for the statement (I think I killed somebody), we wouldn't be here?

Dr. L: It's all the other circumstances.

DW: So that's why we're here?

Dr. L: I think we're here for many reasons. That's just one of them.

Weinberg goes back to the "observed documented evidence" does support that Ms. Clarkson shot the gun.

DW: Are you aware of all the recorded and documented evidence supports that Lana Clarkson shot the gun? [...] Unless you believe that Jamie Lintemoot's (observations that wasn't documented or photographed) saw the blood on the back of the hands, there's NO EVIDENCE that...

TD: Objection!

Fidler: I'm not going to allow this. It's argumentative. Ask the question another way.

Weinberg rephrases his question.

Dr. L: Did she make any statement of complete exclusion of Mr. Spector? [...] That's what she sees. She's a scientist. But we also have the reports. [...] But we have a lot of other (evidence). I've not seen anything there to change my opinion. I'm here to speak for Ms. Clarkson.

DW: And you know of Dr. Spitz and he's a legal authority of how one would...?

Unfortunately, I miss getting the last question that Weinberg asks Dr. Lakshmanan in redirect. Truc steps up to recross Dr. Lakshmanan.

Now we are at the spot where Truc asks Dr. Lakshmanan her one question (mentioned above) and that was it for recross.

And that's if for Dr. Lucky. Dr. Werner Spitz is the next witness called to the stand. All he testifies to for about 20 minutes is his CV.

After the jury is excused, Weinberg wants to raise an issue with the court so Fidler stays on the bench. Weinberg is bringing up Fidler's ruling regarding Jamie Lintemoot's testimony. He's complaining about the rulings. He feels the court has forced him into not being able to raise the issue of spatter on Lana's hands. "For me not to be able to say there was spatter on the hands...." Weinberg argues.

Fidler: But you can't take her words in court and flip them around!!!!!

Weinberg still argues against the ruling that his hypothetical was flawed. "I can't take those photographs, and tell the jury [...] And I'm not allowed to say there's blood there? [...] For her to be allowed [...] For them (prosecution) to be allowed, and for me to be forced (to accept their theory of Lintemoot's testimony) and for me to be forced, to not be able to say that there [...] and I can not be compelled and pretend that that's not true!!!"

Fidler: But when you take her testimony and [...] you can't state it as fact because that's not a fact before the jury!!!!!

Weinberg still argues his position.

DW: How can I be compelled....

Fidler: Because her final testimony said THIS IS WHERE I MEANT! You're ignoring her final testimony! [...] You can't do that and present it to a witness.

Fidler is major pissed.

Fidler: You're not precluded from attacking it. You're not precluded from arguing it (in closings) but I'm real comfortable with my ruling!

(If you've paid attention in later entries, Weinberg brings up this issue again and again and again, even to the point of trying to get Lintemoot's testimony on this issue tossed because Dr. Di Maio's testimony on DNA transfer was tossed.)

And that was it for this days testimony.


Jurorthirteen said...

Great read, Sprocket.

You'd better stock up on caffiene if you have to listen to Dr. Spitz for a long period of time.

Poor guy's getting so old and confused that I'm not too sure how well he'll do in Spector's behalf, anyway.

CaliGirl9 said...

Here's hoping the jury looks at Dr. Spitz' wrong-way trip out of the courtroom and takes everything he says with a grain of salt.
I mean really, if he can't find his way out of a courtroom, how can you trust anything he says? *wink*

Anonymous said...

Boy, my reading on this is that Weinberg knows he's gonna lose the case.


Anonymous said...

Yes, I remember Dr. Spitz from the last trial. He struck me as arrogant. This can be dangerous in a court of law where truth makes the most arrogant humble.

Anonymous said...

Just got tuned into you
Always a great morning read!!!
Trying to catch up with it all
?????ref. to PIE
Thank you

sandra said...

does fidler hold court on fridays?

Sprocket said...


Funny you would mention that. Dr. Spitz did come across as senile today during cross examination. I have never seen a witnesses credibility be shredded so quickly, and on so many issues.

If any juror believe anything Dr. Spitz said after AJ's cross, they need their head examined! What is truly sad, is that for this expert, Spector has paid at least $141,433.66!!!!! Cross examination destroyed him.

Judge Fidler is in court on Fridays. That is when he has hearings for other pending cases on his docket. That's how it is for I think all the judges in the criminal court building, but I'm not positive.

IonaTrailer said...

Hi Sprocket,

It's been frustrating not having the mainstream media covering the trial redux - I guess this means Phil is officially washed up if no one gives a %#*@$ about his murder trial.

What is your sense of how things are going?


Christine said...

Sprocket, I have to go out of town tomorrow but am staying up hoping you are going to comment on the Thurs. testimony... Great reporting as always. I remember Spitz from the last trial and thought he was the most stubborn and opinionated expert of all, that he hurt things even then. From what I recall, the juror who talked after the last trial said that the jury wasn't impressed with the defense's experts, and the guilty verdict came for other irrational reasons that had nothing to do with the "science".

CaliGirl9 said...

If you think about it, it’s quite sad Dr. Spitz has declined so much mentally. We all have to admit he was an instrumental figure in making forensic science the important tool it is today.

Sprocket said...


I am writing up my notes for the day now. It will take me at least four hours, possibly five to get all the notes down. I will say that in my opinion, Dr. Spitz was discredited very effectively by AJ's cross, just like he was in the first trial.

When you read some of the things he said, in response to cross exam, you might shake your head or be struck dumb like it appeared AJ was at one point.

Christine said...

I guess one of the many odd pieces of the Spector trial is the irony for the defense side that Spitz is perhaps older and less able to help in the defense now that PS has managed to evade incarceration for 6 years.

Sprocket, Have a restful weekend!

Anonymous said...

Hi Sprocket,

Alwayslove reading your many insightful comments. Any news on the Spector's case with the big hotel bill they ran up?

shari said...

Poor Dr. Spitz....I agree that his glory days are over, but he has contributed much to forensics. He needs to take a bow and exit gracefully ( not out the wrong door) Any lawyer calling him as a witness now needs to have his head examined. Even Dr. Baden blew it in the first trial along with Henry to the cost of expert witnesses to Spector...does anyone really think they are all going to get paid???????????
SPROCKET.....take it easy and relax this weekend and have a glass of vino, a nice dinner, and kick back. Boy, do you deserve it!

Anonymous said...

Great job Sprocket...

Joe F