Friday, February 6, 2009
February 5th, 2009 (Special thanks to Sedonia Sunset for editing help)
Defense Witnesses: #4 Dr. Werner Spitz (Well known forensic pathologist & coroner; under first cross examination)
Accredited Press inside the courtroom: None identified.
I get inside the courtroom a little before 9:30 am. Linda from San Diego is here as well at Pat Kelly from the PIO department. Those of us in the gallery can hear a very boisterous jury in the jury room. Wendy is about to buzz them that they are ready but wonders if they will hear the buzzer. Rachelle is in her regular seat with the purple blanket wrapped around her. There is another public person in the back row I've seen many times before.
After the jury comes in there is a bit of laughter when Judge Fidler brings up that the jurors were trapped in an elevator for over an hour. It's not clear if this happened this morning or yesterday evening when they were released for the day.
Dr. Spitz is still under direct examination. Weinberg brings up more of Dr. Spitz's CV. Dr. Spitz has been a witness at a congressional procedure. There's something about the investigation into JFK's death. Dr. Spitz testified before the US Senate and House of Representatives. He's still a member of the Assassination Committee. Weinberg holds up another book that Dr. Spitz had edited (I believe on forensic pathology, and I apologize that I did not get the title). It's in its 4th edition. He wrote all the trauma chapters. Dr. Spitz also consults privately as well as working for the county government.
His standard daily fee is $5,000 a day. Dr. Spitz describes all the time he spent on the case so far and taking all that into consideration, he has billed Spector's various defense teams approximately $141,000.
DW: Did that amount of money influence your opinion?
Dr. S: The invoices billed is what that is for. Everybody pays for my time.
Weinberg asks, not withstanding, that's a substantial sum of money; based on everything that he reviewed, Dr. Spitz agrees that his opinion stands alone.
Weinberg then systematically lists items and asks Dr. Spitz if he reviewed these items and Dr. Spitz answers, "Yes I did." One of the things he mentions that I have not heard mentioned before were, "her diary, her date book" and emails on her computer. (The prosecution did not introduce these items into evidence, and Weinberg has not yet introduced them either. If Dr. Spitz's description of a "diary" is what I think it is, that item was ruled too remote in time ~the time period it covered~ and inadmissible.)
DW: Based on everything you reviewed, did you come to a conclusion....let me back up a moment. You functioned for many years as a coroner, correct?
Dr. S: Yes.
DW: Is their function to determine cause of death and mode of death (MOD)?
Dr. S: Yes.
Dr. Spitz states the MOD can be one of five items: Natural, Accident, Suicide, Homicide and Undetermined.
Dr. S: It is my opinion the MOD was self-inflicted, suicide.
DW: As a matter of medical certainly, are you certain about that conclusion?
Dr. S: Yes.
Weinberg now asks Dr. Spitz more of what he reviewed; the autopsy and photos for the scene. Dr. Spitz states the gun was in the mouth. It was an intra oral wound. Dr. Spitz states "intra oral" is Latin for the same thing. Dr. Spitz states he's supervised the autopsies of several hundred intra oral gunshot woulds.
DW: Were any of those intra oral gunshot wounds homicidal?
Dr. S: No.
In addition to your own experience are you familiar with other professionals and the literature? [...] Do you have an understanding to the frequency of intra oral gunshot wounds being suicide verses at the hands of another?
AJ: Objection! Relevancy.
Fidler: Approach. After the side bar, the last question is read back to Dr. Spitz.
Based on a combination of your experience and the experience of other pathologists, do you have an understanding of the frequency of intra oral gunshot wounds being suicide verses at the hands of another?
Dr. S: It is my understanding that intra oral gunshot wounds are 99% suicide.
Dr. Spitz discusses the path of the bullet and the trajectory is consistent with "front to back and upwards."
Spector has a small bottle of an orange drink at the table and a napkin. I squint to try to read the label on the bottle. I'm not positive but from where I'm sitting I think it says "Welches."
None of Dr. Spitz's testimony is new. He is stating virtually the exact same thing I remember him testifying to in the first trial.
Dr. Spitz testifies that the capped material on Lana Clarkson's teeth, its strength is less than natural (dentin) material.
AJ: Objection! Foundation.
Dr. Spitz gives the example of his own teeth. I don't quite catch it, but apparently he had caps or something similar on his own teeth and it was a problem.
AJ: Objection! Foundation.
Fidler: That last part is stricken pending foundation.
Weinberg then asks various questions to substantiate he has knowledge of the experience to state natural teeth are stronger and more resistant to trauma than natural teeth.
The next issue discussed is the toxicology reports on Lana Clarkson and the blood alcohol levels measured in her femoral artery and her heart. The femoral artery was 1.2 an the heart was 1.4. Weinberg asks Spitz if he recalls Ms. Clarkson's height and weight.
Dr. S: Her weight was 160 pounds. She was five foot, ten-and-a-half-inches.... maybe eleven-and-a-half-inches.
Dr. Spitz states he teaches toxicology at a university. I miss catching the name of the university. He states he is an adjunct professor there. (I think that's right.)
Dr. Spitz does a calculation as to what that blood alcohol level means. "That she had to have ingested five or six 12 oz of beer or one-and-a-quarter ounces of 80 proof liquor." So, five or six standard drinks in less than two hours.
AJ: Objection! Foundation. We've heard testimony there's no knowledge of tolerance.
Fidler: Over ruled. With a background in toxicology, he's allowed to testify.
Dr. Spitz states all the medication she was taking and combined with the alcohol, her normal functioning would be impaired.
Weinberg then goes over all the forensic evidence he reviewed and he lists the various reports. Weinberg asks Spitz questions about blood spatter and stains on the white wool jacket. He specifically asks about the one on the back of the right sleeve.
AJ: Objection! There's no foundation that he's a spatter expert.
Weinberg asks Spitz about his experience in blood spatter and he states he has had "plenty of exposure to blood spatter." Weinberg tries to get Spitz acknowledged as a spatter expert by asking him questions about his tenure of working as a coroner in Detroit and the number of gunshot wounds he's experienced.
Fidler: Based on the questions so far, I will allow him to answer some of the questions on blood spatter.
There are two more questions he's asked on spatter that are sustained.
DW: In your experience, have you investigated the distance that blood spatter can travel?
AJ: Objection! Foundation, vague.
Fidler: Sustained. (More foundation is asked for.)
10:26 am: Harvey with the shock of white hair enters 106 and sits in the front row with Rachelle. Another gentleman has also entered who must be a court employee the sheriff's recognize since he sits in the back row against the wall.
Dr. Spitz is asked to explain anatomical sides of the body. There is the front of the body (also called ventral which refers to the belly) and dorsal or back side. I'm surprised that he doesn't use the term anterior, which is the more modern term for the front of the body. Dr. Spitz also demonstrates with the arms, the way in which medical personnel identify the "front" side of the arms, and that's with the hands turned over and palms visible. Dr. Spitz explains that this position turns the arm in such a way that the ulna bone does not cross the radius bone of the forearm.
I'm surprised that he doesn't identify the medical terms for the inner and outer edge of the arms (lateral=outer and medial=inner). I think if all the witnesses so far were forced to use these terms, it would have cleared up any misunderstandings there have been about what side of the arm/wrist was being described.
Weinberg now goes over some photographs with Dr. Spitz of Lana's body that were taken at the coroner's office. He puts up on the ELMO a coroner's photo of Lana's left arm. He hands the actual photo to Dr. Spitz, and asks him about the bruises in the photograph. Spitz, looking at the original photo up close, at first says, "I don't see a bruise in this photo." And there the image is, up on the ELMO, and you can see the bruises on her wrist, plain as day. Then Weinberg has the area of bruising blown up bigger on the ELMO and points it out to Spitz. And Weinberg in the same photo, has to point out another area on the arm where there is a bruise.
Another coroner's photo is shown where there is a bruise on the ulna bone. Weinberg asks Dr. Spitz if this bruise is on the "outside" of the arm. (I'm trying to orient myself to the photo and how the arm was turned for the photograph and I'm also confused by the term "outside" when it's not an anatomical term and Spitz doesn't correct Weinberg.)
Looking on over at Harvey with the white hair, I notice that he's starting to let his beard grow out. Several DA office interns enter 106. Another coroner's photo is put up. The concern is that the photos taken at the scene don't show bruises.
DW: There are no fresh bruises in the photos taken at 10 pm on the night of the (incident).
Dr. S: Correct.
DW: In your experience as coroner, if there are no photos of bruises..... (If I'm remembering correctly, Weinberg went on about how it's a criminalist's job to photograph bruises at the scene. It appears to me that he's implying that since there are no photographs that show these bruises at the scene, ergo, they did not exist at the scene.)
Now Weinberg is questioning about the fact that Lana's body was turned on it's side at the coroner's office to be photographed. Wow. They put an image up on the ELMO of a naked Lana on her side on the autopsy table. It's an image of the back side of her body, just the top half of her from the low back, up. You can just see the beginnings of her rear. The image is quickly taken down and not referred to.
Dr. Spitz describes the way the body should be turned and states they would have grabbed the arms at the wrists. What I'm gathering from this testimony is that Weinberg will argue that the bruises on Lana's wrists were postmortem and caused by turning her at the coroner's office.
DW: Could the grabbing of her right wrist by a technician...
AJ: Objection! (Foundation!)
AJ: There's no testimony...
Fidler: If you want to come to the bench....?
AJ: If the objection is overruled, I'll save myself the trip.
DW: Is it possible to look at a bruise microscopically and tell when it occurred?
Dr. S: No I cannot.
DW: Can you say anything about the age of a bruise other than recent?
(I'm sure Dr. Spitz answered this question before they took the first break at 10:45 am, but I don't have the response.)
During the break, the defense AV clerk, Tran, Weinberg and Spitz talk in the aisle near the first bench row. Spitz tells Weinberg he wants him to show the photo of him firing a weapon, "in my book." Tran goes over to the defense table where he manages all the defense exhibits and brings up the video on the ELMO of Dr. Spitz firing a weapon. It's played a few times.
10:56 am: Dr. Spitz comes over to talk to Rachelle. Harvey with the white hair talks to Weinberg and then to Spitz.
11:00 am: Fawn, Donna Clarkson's daughter enters 106. A few minutes later we are still waiting.
11:08 am: We are back on the record.
Weinberg asks about the teeth being expelled by gases or recoil. Spitz says the teeth were expelled by gases and not the recoil of the gun.
Dr. S: There's a lot of pressure in a confined space. [...] The recoil shattered the teeth but the gases expelled them out [...] across the room.
Weinberg then puts up an image of the excised tongue up on the ELMO. To me, this is one of the grossest photos. I know that seems strange but to me, it just is.
DW: Do those appear to be blunt force trauma from something being forced into the mouth?
Spitz identifies the large dark area on the left side of the tongue may not be a bruise at all! It may be soot!
Dr. S: No. There's a lot of trauma there. [...] Lots of explosive trauma in the mouth.
To me, it's possible this is not what Weinberg expected him to say. It's interesting that he doesn't go over the autopsy diagrams with Dr. Spitz from the autopsy report to verify or not verify that this area of the tongue may or may not have been caused by the gun. We know for certain that this area of the tongue is a bruise because Dr. Pena dissected it and found how deep it went. For Dr. Spitz to look and a photograph of it and say that it may not be a bruise, but soot, is pretty sad. It sends me the message that it's been a long time since he familiarized himself with the evidence.
11:18 am: Two supporters enter and sit in the second bench row behind Rachelle. They give a quick wave to Rachelle and Harvey sitting next to her.
Weinberg then presents the statement made by De Souza to Dr. Spitz.
Dr. S: I would note it. I would consider it. As I say in my book, 'Eyewitness statement should be taken with reservation.'
(I believe this is a section of his book written by someone named McDowell (sp?) but I'm not sure if I have that right.)
Then Dr. Spitz makes the mistake that many people have made. I've had people email me about this, and I've commented about it in a prior blog entry. It's about the absence of evidence. I don't have all the note, but here's what I do have. It's not clear in my notes but I believe it was a question by Weinberg that Spitz agreed to.
In the absence of spatter on his right sleeve, or right side (of his) body, he would have (had to have had blood spatter on him).
James Kish was the one who coined the term. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
Weinberg asks Dr. Spitz about the supposed wiping of Lana's face and Dr. Spitz indicates that the activity is not an "ominous" activity. Spitz is asked about clotting of blood and the exposure to air and how long to expect it to clot. "Two to three minutes.," Dr. Spitz testifies. I remember he is also asked a question about how long before you can visually see clotted blood, but I don't have that in my notes. It is in my mind that Dr. Spitz answered that question not in a way that was favorable to the defense but unfortunately I don't have any notes on it.
Weinberg asks about the presence of cerebral spinal fluid and Spitz responds, "The juice of that material will enhance clotting..."
Weinberg gives Dr. Spitz a hypothetical. "Assume that Phil Spector waved guns at other people. Assume that to be true. Does that change your opinion?
Dr. S: No. People do things when younger. I would be in big trouble... (and he rambles on a bit about his own life.) [...] In lieu of the physical evidence we have here, I shy away from the prior events.
DW: Because the physical evidence (supports) in your view is that Phil Spector did not fire the gun?
Dr. S: It's inconsistent.
From my notes it's not clear who says this, but I believe it's Dr. Spitz. "Lana Clarkson was somewhat unstable; depressed. She was taking too much pain medication and then she was cut off. She went out and obtained meds from other sources. [...] She made statements to friends about her financial condition which was such that she thought she couldn't afford her rent."
Spitz states he reviewed her medical records and that they are consistent with suicide.
Dr. S: A large number of suicides in my experience are spontaneous; abrupt, without consideration of planning. [...] They do it without consideration of consequences. [...] I can supply you with a ream of paper only.... (I'm not sure if he means cases that support this or studies.) [...] Only 25% leave notes.
DW: Based on all the information you have obtained and reviewed is it your opinion that Lana Clarkson died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound?
Dr. S: Yes.
DW: You have no doubt about that?
Dr. S: No.
It's 11:30 am, and AJ gets up to cross.
One of the first things that AJ says is, "It's not the first time for us (is it Dr. Spitz)? It's round two?
Dr. S: Round two?
AJ asks Dr. Spitz what work he's done on the case since the last trial. He states he took notes since the last trial. AJ asks him if he turned those notes of to Mr. Weinberg. "No," he responds.
AJ asks him if he's generated any formal reports since the last trial. "No," he responds.
AJ presents Spitz with his report. "Is that your report?" Dr. Spitz replies, "The truth is, I have not read the report since I last testified."
AJ asks if he's made any additional investigations or trips out to the crime lab. "No," Dr. Spitz replies.
AJ: Are there any new or formal conclusions or is everything consistent in your mind?
Dr. S: I don't remember the specific details (Wow. That's interesting.)
Dr. Spitz states his opinion isn't different from the first trial. He states that he read in preparation for this trial. "I read some of the record." (Meaning, he read his prior testimony.)
AJ: Other than that, nothing to note?
Dr. Spitz doesn't indicate there is anything new.
AJ asks Dr. Spitz about how many trips he made to California for the first trial. Dr. Spitz states that he doesn't know if he was out here three or four times. AJ asks him how many days he was out here for each trip. "I don't know. I think I was out here [...] a total of one month," Dr. Spitz testifies.
AJ: The bulk of your work predated your testimony, all right?
Dr. Spitz: Yes.
AJ: You stated you generally charged $5,000 a day, correct? [...] Do you remember me asking you how much you made on July 25th, 2007?
AJ then reads Dr. Spitz's prior testimony from the first trial in answer to that question. Part of the reading is, I don't know somewhere in the vicinity of 45,000.
Dr. S: I think that was one of my billings. There were several billings.
AJ confronts him with his testimony in this trial, that he was paid a total of $141,433.66, and the difference between the two. (Approximately $96,000)
AJ: You just stated that you haven't done any testing. You didn't generate any new reports. You didn't do any additional lab work.
Fidler: Maybe we should do this at sidebar.
The jury gets chatty during the sidebar. At the sidebar, AJ is very animated. Fidler now addresses Weinberg. Then Weinberg speaks. This is the crux of why Weinberg fought to the last breath not turn over the fees. It's because with his pathologist who will put the MOD as suicide, there is this big discrepancy as to the figure he told the last time at trial and what we are learning about the amount of money he was really paid.
AJ presents a document, people's next in order, to Spitz that has "some" of his fees detailed. It's a document generated from the first trial. Dr. Spitz looks at it and accuses AJ, "You know I've never seen this before!" He sounds mad. It's not one of his bills, it's a statement generated by the prior defense team with some figures on it covering several defense witnesses fees. The total on that paper is $21,000 (for Dr. Spitz). AJ lists the individual amounts that make up that total. There is a $1,000 retainer, then a $5,000 amount and then I miss listing the rest.
As AJ was starting to question Dr. Spitz about the huge difference in the reported fees, you could tell Dr. Spitz was starting to get irritated.
AJ: This is not your first rodeo is it Dr. Spitz? (This is a phrase that AJ likes to use.) [...] It's not unusual to be asked about how much you've been paid?
Dr. Spitz states that he's asked about his fees about 50 percent of the time.
AJ: You know the theory of being paid an inordinate amount of money bears on the credibility of the witness?
Dr. S: You make the observation. I don't know if it reflects on....
AJ: I don't know of a single prosecutor that could afford you Dr. Spitz.
Dr. Spitz states that he's worked for prosecutors before.
AJ: .....not in this office....
When confronted with that $45,000 figure again, Dr. Spitz rambles on about AJ having $15,000 three times, and that was asked at the first trial and he answered it! His tone is angry and his voice is raised. He is losing his temper. Dr. Spitz states that AJ had his bills. AJ replies that he never had his bills.
Dr. S: Mr. Jackson forgive me. No seasoned lawyer would ask a question they don't know the answer to!!!
And with that remark, AJ is pissed. His voice is raised now, too, in his rapid fire questions to Dr. Spitz.
Fidler: Everybody, take it down a notch.
AJ: Did you provide the bills to Mr. Weinberg?
Dr. S: No. He informed me how much I got paid.
AJ asks another question about the $45,000, and all the billing they are talking about so far and what he "really" billed the defense team. Spitz goes off on him. He's yelling at AJ.
AJ: You testified you billed $45,000....
Dr. S: You've made this statement before.
AJ: Is it your testimony and if it is, that's fine. How did you earn the difference from $45,000 to $141,433.66? Between July 25th & August 23rd, when you came out a second time to testify?
Dr. S: You're aware of the amounts wonderfully. I can't compete with you.
Dr. Spitz screams at AJ. "I was here a second time! How would I know the first time, what the total was going to be?"
AJ: Are you telling me in that month's time...
AJ is trying to get Dr. Spitz to explain the discrepancies in the billing. Spitz claims there are no discrepancies. AJ asks how did you get an extra $90,000 in that months time. Spitz claims that's not what happened. And back and forth it goes with both AJ and Dr. Spitz having raised voices. AJ confronting Dr. Spitz, and Dr. Spitz coming across as a raging, angry man. Several people who observed it told me they though he looked maniacal.
Whether it was $90,000 or ten cents I received! You know exactly how much! Don't accuse me!
AJ: Do you have the billing statements with you?
Dr. S: I don't have them.
AJ: Can you get them?
Dr. S: I don't know.
AJ: I'm not accusing you of anything. I'm asking you questions. I don't have the answer.
Dr. S: YOU KNOW IT! YOU COULDN'T POSSIBLY NOT HAVE KNOWN IT!!!!!
AJ: Did you have any discussions with Mr. Weinberg before you came here. [...] Was the sum (of the fees) given to you?
Dr. S: Correct.
AJ: Have you billed since the last trial?
Dr. S: NO! BECAUSE I HAVEN'T DONE ANYTHING!
AJ: I'm confused. (Please explain to me the discrepancies in the billing.)
Dr. S: I would love to but you have to listen! [...] The billing went on as the trial went along! [...] The entire trial there was billing!
I note that during this last exchange Juror #7 and Juror #9 looked at each other and smiled.
Judge Fidler calls the lunch break.
1:30 pm: I'm finally back inside the courtroom. AJ thinks he "may" be done by today. Several DA law clerks enter 106. Sherri arrives and a woman DDA I've seen before. At lunch, Linda and I both called Sherri and told her she could not miss this cross of Dr. Spitz.
On Judge Fidler's desk, there is a long rectangular handmade card. Fidler states it's from the jurors. At the defense table in front of Spector is a large book he's reading. The book is Doubt.
Before the jury is brought in AJ wishes to bring an issue up before Fidler.
AJ states, "...since a duly STD was served. [...] The witness said the figure $141,000 came from Mr. Weinberg. [...] I'm asking why the witness hasn't provided the billings.
Weinberg says, "The only reason we have an issue here is because Mr. Jackson has misrepresented the record." Weinberg continues to tap dance around Spitz's answers from the first trial. He's trying to say that Dr. Spitz understood the question to be what his latest billing was, or some such nonsense. "This has been turned into a total misleading conversation," he continues. Judge Fidler states, "I had an order to provide (discovery of the fees to the prosecution)." Weinberg states, "It was suggested that we had failed to comply...."
AJ: That's what the court order was. Dr. Spitz was supposed to bring them with him.
Fidler: Fine. Now what I'm asking... provide the invoices.
Weinberg continues to complain about this ruling. He doesn't think it's fair that the defense witnesses have to detail, "....when they got paid and for what and for what time. Not just how much they got paid." Weinberg continues on that "I don't see why the prosecution witnesses don't have to provide it and why the defense has to provide it."
Fidler: I've told you. If you want to subpoena records, call as a witness whoever runs the crime lab and see how they keep their records. I have no problem with that.
Weinberg complains that he shouldn't have to "spend money looking for that. [...] That there's no reason to suspect that Dr. Herold was lying."
AJ: When (should) I expect the records from Dr. Spitz?
DW: After court, I will call Detroit. They are three hours behind. (I) should expect it sometime tomorrow.
The jurors are brought in. Judge Fidler thanks them for the card and that "someone put a lot of effort into it." The jurors reply that they all did. (I can see from my seat, that the card has on it when you open it, all around the edge like, cutouts of 18 people, so I'm guessing that each cut out of a body "looks like" one of the jurors.) The jurors in unison say, "We just wanted to say, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!" Fidler smiles and thanks them again.
When AJ steps up to the podium again, he tells Dr. Spitz that he's taken a step back and I hope that you have too; and then something to the effect about getting through this.
AJ: How many billing statements were sent out by you at that point?
Dr. S: You know, I don't remember. [...] You know, I don't even look at the billing. [...] It's done by my office. [...] I don't even know what it was for. But I'm sure it didn't include anything in August.
AJ: Fair enough...
Dr. S: I did work because I studied for coming here.
AJ: Right. If I gather correctly, somewhere in the vacinity of $45,000, that included everything up to July 25th?
Dr. S: If that was sent out then, it doesn't include August.
AJ: Then you made another $100,000 from July to August?
Dr. S: That's not correct.
AJ: So explain it to me. [...] At the point you testified, you had made $45,000.
Dr. S: That's not correct.
AJ states that, "At the first trial I asked you how much you had made working for the defense. [...] Is it your testimony that you had made $45,000?"
Dr. S: No.
AJ: How much had you made?
Dr. S: I don't know. [...] The $45,000 was a bill in my mind that was fresh in my mind. [...] A subsequent bill was sent afterwards.
AJ: When you came out in August. I asked you a couple of other questions. Do you remember that?
Dr. S: No, I don't.
AJ reads to Dr. Spitz the testimony from his second appearance in August, 2007. AJ questions Dr. Spitz on his second trip during the first trial but Spitz doesn't remember how many days he was out here.
AJ tries to pin Dr. Sptiz down to how many days he worked during that August trip. Two or three, and the amount he would have been paid for those days. There are more misunderstandings between AJ and Dr. Spitz.
AJ: What is your best recollection as to what you have been paid when I asked you that question?
Dr. S: I can tell you, the $141,433.66, that's the total I made in participation.
AJ: You were simply answering a question about what your latest bill was?
Dr. S: All I remember there were several bills.....
AJ: Three bills? (What was the $45,000 for?)
Dr: S: I don't know what that $45,000 was for.
AJ continues to question Dr. Spitz on the fees. Weinberg says, "Your honor, may we approach?"
2:04 pm: More attorney's and law clerks enter to watch the cross of Dr. Spitz. Two men, different people from the morning come to sit with Rachelle. I think I've seen both before.
It's been hard to get all the rapid fire questions. After the bench conference is finished, the attorneys step back. Dr. Spitz is leaning over his bags and trying to get some papers out of his bag or he's working with the zipper on one of his bags. The attorney's and Fidler wait for Dr. Spitz. They wait for about a minute or more, until Fidler asks, "Dr. Spitz?" Dr. Sptiz sits up, startled. Fidler states that we didn't know if you were getting something or not. Dr. Spitz is ready to continue.
Pat Dixon enters at 2:08 pm.
AJ reads the testimony from the first trial covering Dr. Spitz's second appearance.
AJ: And so you told the jurors that you would be billed $5,000 a day.
Dr. S: Well, and then there is the per diem. I couldn't (tell them that) because I didn't know how much that would be.
And then Spitz finally clarifies. "There were other billings on top of that $45,000."
AJ: Why didn't you tell the other jury?
Dr. S: Because I didn't know at that time.
AJ: It was Mr. Weinberg who gave you that (figure)? [...] So, you didn't tell the (other) jury that when you gave them that $45,000 figure that there would be a lot more than that.... [...] We're going to move off (this). That horse is sort of dead.
AJ asks Dr. Spitz, "Part of the reason for (your conclusion) for suicide is because 99% of intra oral gunshot woulds were suicide?
Dr. S: That is part of the analysis, correct. In a chain....
AJ: When you were a coroner, if any time someone in your staff came to you and said that, 'Since intra oral gunshot wounds are 99% suicide, it's a suicide,' that would be irresponsible, correct?
Dr. S: I would suggest to you no single link stands by itself.
AJ then gives an example to Dr. Spitz about right handed people being in the majority and then determining if a juror was right handed or not just by the statistical numbers.
AJ: In other words, you can't go by statistics?
Dr. S: When the chain is complete, that's when you have your conclusion.
AJ brings up the Dean Hawley study report Unexpectedly Homicide, that there are intra oral gunshot wounds that are homicide.
Dr. S: I don't remember the name.
AJ talks about the trajectory of the gunshot wound and Dr. Spitz puts his pen in his mouth to demonstrate. AJ remarks that at the last trial, "he" was the one with the highlighter in his mouth.
AJ: You indicated on direct, a horizontal is typical in suicide. [...] Let me suggest to you that the majority of (intra oral are head to toe).
Dr. S: I don't remember if all the intral oral are horizontal or not. [...] I don't remember.
AJ puts up a diagram from the Zietlow/Hawley study. Dr. Spitz is not familiar with this. AJ asks Dr. Spitz about Dr. Pena's diagram in the autopsy report. Dr. Spitz doesn't remember Dr. Pena's diagram either. While Truc looks to get Dr. Pena's diagram up on the ELMO, AJ moves onto another topic, the damage to the teeth.
AJ: Your testimony this morning, in your opinion, it was the gases that blew the teeth out and not the recoil, (correct)?
Dr. S: I don't remember what I said.
Then Dr. Spitz corrects himself.
Dr. S: The recoil of the gun may have broken the teeth and the gases blew them out.
AJ: And you've told us from your own experience (Dr. Sptiz mentioned on direct, that he had problems personally, with his own capped teeth breaking.) that caps are not as strong as dentin?
Dr. S: I'm almost certain of what I said about the (breaking?) of teeth because I've seen it in traffic accidents.
Truc has found the trajectory diagram from the autopsy file and it's put up on the ELMO.
AJ: Can you take a look at this diagram and do you remember it?
Dr. S: No I don't remember it.
AJ: If I told you this was (from the autopsy report and a front to back trajectory) you wouldn't have any quarrel with that?
Dr. S: No, but it's not horizontal.
AJ asks Dr. Spitz if he knew of Dr. Anselmo's testimony in the first trial, (orodontist expert who testified) "...that once Lana Clarkson had porcelain caps in her mouth that would be the strongest material in her mouth, in fact in her whole body. [...] Would you disagree with that?"
DW: Objection! Your honor....
Weinberg starts to read from the trial transcript. Fidler interrupts Weinberg and tells him to just give him the page number. At this time, another supporter comes in to sit with Rachelle.
AJ: Would you agree that porcelain is harder than natural material?
Dr. S: Porcelain may be harder than dentin, but that's not why the tooth breaks! (Spitz is getting a little frustrated here.)
AJ: The point is, it's harder than any natural material, but it's fragile.
Now Spitz really gets angry and doesn't appear to like the word fragile. "It breaks because.....!!!!"
AJ: The dentin material found on the front site of the gun was pulverized.
Dr. S: NO!
AJ: You're saying the (pieces of dentin material found on the site) was NOT pulverized?
Dr. S: Well, now that you are explaining it.....
Dr. Spitz is obviously getting frustrated with AJ again.
AJ gives an explanation of what happens to teeth, and Spitz responds, "I don't understand what you're saying!"
AJ: so why don't you tell me Dr.?
Dr. Spitz is rambling something incoherent that I can't get and then he says, "There's a large amount of pressure inside that pushes out.
AJ: You're not a physicist are you?
Dr. S: I don't have to be! I see it!
AJ: You know what Boyles Law is regarding cavities?
Mr. Sprocket educates me on Boyles Law which is also known as Ideal Gas Law.
Dr. S: I don't need to know about Boyles Law to know about internal pressure!
AJ: And that cavity is not closed is it? [...] And that cavity has lungs and a nose attached to it?
AJ: Have you ever published anything that intra oral cavities are contrary to Bolyes Law?
Dr. Spitz replies that her teeth flew out of her mouth and landed several feet away. (That's his "evidence" the gases blew them out.) AJ then talks about the one piece of tooth material that landed on her abdomen.
AJ: She had a piece of tooth material on her abdomen, correct? [...] And it could have been blocked (from flying) by Mr. Spector?
Dr. S: It could have been blocked by Mr. Spector but it could have been blocked by her lips and knocked down!
The afternoon break is called.
Two people of Asian decent enter the courtroom and chat with Pat Dixon. One of them is the white haired Asian woman attorney who used to be a man. Apparently the younger, very attractive Asian woman recently passed the bar. Dixon then walks into the well to greet AJ.
Out in the hallway, Dr. Spitz is overheard to say, "He wants me to get dogged! I'm not going to let him dog me!" (I did not hear this. Someone told me they heard this.)
I take the time to note my impressions about Dr. Spitz on the stand. The first thing I think of, is he could be a character right out of a Mel Brooks movie. There was more than once that AJ asked Dr. Spitz a question about his testimony today, in the morning session and he replied, "I don't remember, (what I said)."
Court resumes at 3:07 pm.
AJ moves onto the toxilogical reports. "You made some generalizations. There was a small amount of Benadryl; there was Vicodin that was a small amount. [...] Knowing someone's medical history would be an important (fact) to know, (to determine) how certain (drugs, medications react with them)?
Dr. S: Every drug has an expected effect. Because there is a PDR.
AJ: One drug may make one person hyperactive and may make another person sleepy?
Dr. S: Well, alcohol is a depressant.
AJ: But it might be important to know someone's medical history?
Dr. Spitz replies that you expect a certain result on the majority.
AJ: There are happy drunks?
Dr. S: Yes.
AJ: And there are sad drunks?
Dr. S: Yes.
AJ: And there are angry drunks, correct? [...] Are you aware that Phil Spector had 10 shots...
DW: Objection! (There was testimony that he was served, not that he had drank.)
Fidler: Sustained. You may rephrase.
AJ: And you are aware that Phil Spector was served ten shots of alcohol?
Dr. S: Yes.
AJ: And certainly there was evidence at the house that Lana Clarkson and Phil Spector continued to drink at the house?
Dr. S: Yes. [...] I understand that alcohol was being consumed.
AJ: And Phil Spector had a medical history of getting drunk and getting angry?
DW: Objection! (I'm sorry. I don't have the ruling.)
AJ: Were you aware that several women testified that when he got drunk he got angry and pulled guns out?
Dr. S: Well, if it was eight or ten years ago, I don't know what it has to do with it.
AJ: Because youngsters do stupid things?
Dr. S: Well....
AJ: One of the things that you said that, in your "chain of evidence" was that Lana Clarkson had blood stains on her hands and wrists. What was your understanding that blood stains are on the hands?
Dr. S: Back of the palm.
AJ: What was your understanding of where the blood spatter was?
Dr. S: I'm not sure where the GSR was. (That's right. Dr. Spitz answered GSR. He did similar mistakes later on, mixing a response of blood spatter with GSR.)
I think Dr. Spitz states on the back of the palm again. Then AJ plays for Dr. Spitz to review, Jamie Lintemoot's video taped testimony from the first trial. In the video, it's very clear where Lintemoot is indicating she saw small spatter-like stains. Even the court (Judge Fidler) clarifies for the record where the area is. In both their demonstrations, it's very clear that both Lintemoot and Judge Fidler are making a small two inch round circle on their wrists where a watch would be worn.
AJ: Did you see that demonstration by Jamie Lintemoot?
Dr. S: She said that (she saw blood) on the hand and on her thumb.
AJ is startled for a moment. He then asks Dr. Spitz. "Point with your finger on your hand where you saw (she was indicating)." There is a bit of back and forth between AJ and Dr. Spitz. Dr. Spitz says that he saw where Lintemoot was pointing and it was the back of the hand and the webbing of the thumb area. He's indicating a much larger area that is well beyond the areas shown on the video. AJ still can't believe Dr. Spitz's response. The video is played again for Dr. Spitz to look at!
Dr. S: In my opinion she's talking about the radial side and almost the back of the hand.
AJ: Do you agree with me that she was talking about the part of the wrist (with a sweeping motion where you would wear a watch)?
Dr. S: No I don't.
AJ: If someone told you she said, 'The area of the wrist....'
Getting angry, Dr. Spitz says, "But that's not where she's pointing! [...] I don't know sweeping motions! I know what she's pointing to!
The video is played a THIRD time for Dr. Sptiz. He still stands his ground that Jamie Lintemoot on the video was pointing to a much larger area than what she actually was.
AJ asks Dr. Spitz how he thinks Ms. Clarkson was holding the gun. Dr. Spitz replies that he will show AJ. AJ replies, "Dr. Spitz, I promise you, I'm not going to put a gun in your hand." Dr. Spitz then puts his fingertips together. With his fingertips still together, Dr. Spitz then tuns his two hands on an axis, and shows two other positions. AJ describes the positioning for the record.
AJ confronts Dr. Spitz with Lintemoot's testimony about spatter on the dorsal side of the wrists.
Dr. S: Mr. Jackson! She talks and shows the radial portion of the hands are involved in gun powder!
AJ asks Dr. Spitz if the reason he used that position for the hands, was because that was a position that Mr. Weinberg suggested to him.
Dr. S: We never discussed about spatter. [...] Yes, we talked about testimony!
Dr. Spitz gets angry.
Dr. S: Mr. Jackson! I'm not telling you lies! My name is not Clinton! (There is a bit of laughter in the courtroom after that.) But I did not do it!
AJ moves onto the bruising on Lana Clarkson's wrists and arms. He talks about Dr. Spitz's testimony in the morning session that the bruising on her arms could have been caused when the body was turned in the coroner's office.
AJ: This is the first time I've ever heard this.
Dr. S: Well, this question about bruising was never raised. I don't believe I ever testified to it about it here.
AJ stops. "Do you remember (in the first trial) testifying about thrombocitis? A reduced number of thrombocites (via) medication causes that (bruising) without being subjected to...
Dr. S: I don't know.
AJ: Was it your testimony last year that the bruising could be caused by thrombocites and that she (Lana) was a "free bleeder?"
Dr. S: Well, she was taking Acyclovir.
AJ: That wasn't found in her system. [...] Your testimony today, was that she could have been bruised by picking her up by her wrists?!!!!!
Dr. S: Well, she was 160 pounds.
AJ is dumbfounded. "Do they pick her ENTIRE BODY WEIGHT up by her wrists?"
AJ reads from Dr. Spitz's book on livor mortis and bruising. Livor mortis is the settling of blood in the body after death, inside the blood vessels. A bruise is blood outside of the blood vessels that escapes out.
I believe Dr. Spitz gets angry at this point and is arguing with AJ.
AJ: And that's what Dr. Pena did! He cut into it and determined it was a bruise!
Dr. Spitz disagrees! He then rambles on about turning the body. "There's no question this bruise is a post mortem leakage!"
AJ: And Dr. Pena would have known the difference....
Dr. S: YOU CANNOT TELL THE DIFFERENCE!!!
AJ: Well, Dr. Pena was there when the body was turned?
The colors of bruises are gone over and what colors indicate recent and which ones indicate remote. AJ steps through Dr. Pena's documentation of all the bruises he noted on Lana's body. Spitz sometimes agrees and sometimes he responds that he doesn't remember. AJ points out that Dr. Pena looked at the bruises on a microscopic level.
AJ moves onto GSR and what Dr. Spitz stated in his direct testimony and that Spector didn't have any GSR on him and Lana did and that was significant in his "chain" of evidence.
AJ: (You testified there was a) substantial amount of GSR on Lana Clarkson compared to him (Spector). There are many articles published on how to analyze GSR.
Dr. S: I don't deal with GSR. I don't read the literature. I'm not a ballistics expert or GSR expert. [...] I would expect [there would be] GSR on the sleeve of his coat.
(There are questions that I don't get right, my notes are not clear about the following: the finding of the smokeless powder found on the jacket, and AJ asking Dr. Spitz about testifying that (no) GSR was on his jacket...physical evidence, that would be a false statement, correct?)
AJ: Isn't it true that the scientific evidence cannot tell you who fired the weapon?
Dr. S: I'm saying she had GSR and he didn't!!!! (Dr. Spitz has raised his voice and it has an angry tone.)
AJ: Are you aware that the scientific community at large, is in 100 percent agreement in dealing with the presence of GSR. That GSR will never tell you who was holding the weapon?
Dr. S: It's there, therefore there is certainly is a significance of that! (Now Dr. Spitz is really angry.) [...] It fits into the links of the chain of very significant findings! [...] It would need an explanation as to why one has it and one doesn't!!!!!
AJ then reads a quote from Dr. Spitz's own book. "The presence of GSR does not prove someone fired the gun."
Dr. S: BUT THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE FACTS OF THIS CASE WITHIN AN AREA OF SIX INCHES!!!!
AJ reads from another book.
AJ: A positive finding of GSR does not exclude a finding of someone else firing the gun. What do you think about that?
Dr. S: NOTHING! I NEED TO HAVE AN EXPLANATION AS TO WHY ONE DOES AND ONE DOES NOT!!!
AJ: How about the FBI's standards. (The FBI is considered the premiere investigating agency.)
Dr. S: That doesn't impress me!
AJ: I don't care if you're impressed. I'm just reading something to you, doc. [...] What if one is deceased and the other is walking around, washing their hands and wiping things?
Dr. Spitz, irritated says, it doesn't matter if he was wiping things, the jacket was someplace else. There are several in the gallery that are having a hard time keeping themselves from laughing. AJ replies about the jacket.
AJ: What if I told you that it wasn't tested for GSR?
Dr. Spitz replies with an incredulous tone in his voice, "It was looked at under a microscope!"
AJ then has to explain to Dr. Spitz that you can only see GSR under a scanning electron microscope. And right after that Spits gets even more angry.
Dr. S: Even when you see a (gunshot) you see GSR with the naked eye!!!!!
AJ stands there stunned for a few moments, and I'm shocked too. Even I know you can't see GSR with the naked eye. "Dr. Spitz, can you reference a journal, or a book, or a high school paper, can you point me to ANYTHING that states you can see GSR with the naked eye?"
Dr. S: When I would do an autopsy on a gunshot (victim) you can see it around the wound!
AJ: Do you know what GSR is made of Dr. Spitz?
Dr. S: Antimony, barium and nitrate....
AJ: It's barium antimony and lead, doctor. It's microscopic!
Dr. S: No it's not!
AJ: Are you talking about soot doctor?
Dr. S: Yes. Lead; it's dark. You see it with the naked eye.
AJ: Close contact wounds have soot, which is unburned powder. NOT GSR.
Dr. S: NO, NO, NO, YES!
AJ reads from and FBI symposium on GSR. "The presence of GSR can never prove if it was suicide, homicide or an accident.
Dr. S: I disagree with the application to this case!
There are some more questions before Judge Fidler closes testimony for the day. It's raining hard and I get a ride home. During the long ride home, we discuss how Spitz would argue with semantics. He would argue for the sake of arguing. We both thought he made it so the jurors could not like him. The sad thing is, Spector paid over $141,000 for this guy, and he's still going to send him another bill. That testimony wasn't worth that much.
Court resumes at 9:30 am, February 9th.
A special thanks goes out to Linda from San Diego who patiently went over her notes with me for this testimony. It was a big help in fleshing out the entry and getting as much testimony in as possible. Thank you so much for your time and patience, Linda. I would also like to take a moment to thank the individual who E-mailed me about my spelling "idolation." The correct word is "ideation." I listened to a online pronunciation of "ideation" and it did not sound like what I have been hearing the attorney's and witnesses say in court.