Friday, February 27, 2009

Phil Spector Retrial: Question & Answers III

Back by popular demand, it's Friday's weekly Q&A. Ask, and I will try my best to answer.

Yesterday, I did another radio interview on Talk Radio One. I'm on at about 9:15 pm or there abouts.


Alan Jackson's cross of Dr. Di Maio has been added to the end of the entry for Day 47.


Tubilidentata said...

Sprocket: As one of the trial junkies from Spector I, I can only say THANK YOU for your Herculean efforts. I'd be lost without your talented efforts. Question: What was final resolution on the fountain? Will AJ just be able to argue that it might have been quieter on the night in question? Can he perhaps argue that the fountain was "tampered with" to generate maximum noise in an effort to discredit De Souza? Thoughts and again, many thanks.

Underdog said...

Regarding the chair Lana Clarkson died in: Do I remember correctly that Spector replaced that chair with a replica because it was part of a matching set?

That's part of something that creeps me out about Spector's living arrangement. If I had his money and that kind of death happened in my house, I would want to leave to get away from the memory of the event (even if I weren't responsible). But not only has Spector not left his precious castle, he's merely replaced the chair (if I remember correctly) and moved in his now blonde (like Lana Clarkson) wife. Am I the only person who finds that sick? Imagine walking by that foyer everyday with the memory of what happened. I think that speaks VOLUMES about Spector's character (or lack thereof)>

Anonymous said...

Ditto to all of the words of praise for your fine work, Sprocket! Are you in contact with Juror #9? If so, does he feel that the testimony of the "experts" that was ignored by the jury last time has been any more effective this time around? For that matter, do you think it has?


Jo Anne said...

Does Spector still have the book "Doubt" sitting out. When I watch tv court dramas, they usually send out a court deputy to get the next witness, why do you suppose Judge Fidler allowed DW to get Ms Tyndall. I suppose everyone can deduce he spoke with her. You mentioned the Judge had changed, do you think he is finally going back to his old form from last year. This is such fascinating stuff, I cannot wait for the next chapter! Thank you. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Did Spector actually carry the gun with him when he went out to talk to De Souza? And if so, did De Souza ever say he saw it?

Anonymous said...

what consequences were the discovery violations against the defense.

GeeMama said...

I am surprised that witnesses have been able to walk in and out of the courtroom at free will. I thought that witnesses had to stay out before and after testimony. Does this vary from court to court or perhaps by state?

Anonymous said...

How much of the trial is left? Is it
expected to finish in a few weeks?

shari said...

Hey Sprockie, what a dam fine job you are doin' girl. I would have loved to have seen JHR taken down by Truc Do. Sure hope Ms. Pie gets the same treatment and I hope your commentary is as vivid also. I guess my question is "also" what kind of sanctions do you think are going to be used for these discovery violations? I can't believe Fidler will let this go quietly.

Anonymous said...

Has the "fountain' expert testified in court to the condition of the pipes and filter on the fountain. Do you know the experts name and if he testified for the state or defense? Was the noise level tested by this jury at the scene by voice? Also I agree with the opinion of Underdog, I find Spector's life since the death of Lana, sick and at the very least cold hearted.Thanks for all the time you spend in court for those of us that can't.

beachball said...

Any word on Pumpkin Pie? she almost has to take the stand after the whole Sims debacle, right?Please describe her physical appearance this time, as she looked really un- well the first trial. Puffy eyed and not thinking clearly etc. Curious to hear what she has been working at the past year since her testimony in Spector's first trial. I am still a little blown a way by this whole Sims thing.

Anonymous said...

I am glad to see someone else noticed that they thought it was wrong for the Defense to walk out in the hall and call Tyndall back in the court room (what's the point of making her leave is she has a chance to talk with DW)
Maybe Judge Fidler needs to watch LA LAW

Liz said...

My apologies if you have explained it before - but what is a 402 hearing?

I seems to the lay reader that there is more time spent in the courtroom without the jury than with the jury - is this happening more or less frequently than for PS1?

many thanks for being there

Sharon said...

Does the jury know about the 40 minutes that Phil had to "clean up" his mess and stage it as a sucide before the police came and arrested him?

Sprocket said...

Tubilidentata: The Fountain

The prosecution tried hard but they could not come up with and solid "evidence" that the fountain had been altered. Before the jury visit, Fidler ruled that the jury would be instructed that this was not to recreate the scene, and told counsel that the fountain would be on for the visit. I can't remember specifically if the fountain was mentioned to the jurors. I think not. The instruction was to take into consideration the whole scene, not just the fountain.

AJ doesn't have any "evidence" that was submitted before the jurors at this point to argue that. I think the other evidence, testimony, that a conversation could easily be heard near the fountain, and their own visit will be enough.

Underdog: The chair

I think you are correct Underdog, that he replaced the chair. I think you have a very keen observation that Spector and his wife, Rachelle don't appear to be affected at all that a spot they pass by at least once or twice a day was where a woman died.

SeniorMoments: Experts

Although I occasionally hear from Juror #9, he is working now and has not been able to attend the retrial. He did come on opening statements in the afternoon and he did come for part of DiMaio.

As far as what I think, I think the most effective expert the defense had was James Pex. Unfortunately, he may be facing perjury charges at the end of the case.

Jo Anne: Spector's book DOUBT & retrieving witnesses

I have not seen the book on the defense table since that date.

It's interesting that Weinberg stepped out himself. Usually, the prosecution sends out their clerks to get the next witness. I've seen the same thing with the defense. Sometimes, Jennifer Barringer or Tran Smith has been the one who has retrieved a witness.

Courtroom dramas on TV are notoriously inaccurate regarding what usually goes on inside a courtroom. That's one thing that attending the Robert Blake case and these two trials (as well as the hearings for the Muiura case I've attended) have taught me.

The Sheriff's in the courtroom may not know who the next witness is. It's usually someone from each side, getting their own witnesses.

Anon @ 12:05 pm: Did De Souza see Spector holding the gun?
Yes. First, he said that he had a gun on the 911 tape and second, he demonstrated for the jurors several times during testimony how Spector was holding the weapon when he stepped outside and said, "I think I killed somebody."

Anon @ 12:10 pm & shari: What were the sanctions?

None that affect what the jurors will hear and consider.

Unfortunately, like Fidler ruled from the stand, the Calif. Evidence Code regarding discovery does not address prejudice. Fidler ruled that the prosecution was not prejudiced by the defense action.

To me, it is a significant event that Fidler ruled the defense violated rules of discovery. That goes against Weinberg and is more evidence of his "gamesmanship" at trial. He did argue as best he could that this was "not" a violation.

GeeMama: Witnesses

You are correct GeeMama. I thought it was interesting that he came into court during a hearing and one of the issues being decided had to do with his testimony. The Sheriff's don't always catch everything immediately, but he was ejected soon after he came in.

Anon @ 1:21pm: How much longer?

I'm guessing that at most, there will be 2 more weeks of testimony left. The defense still has to call Punkin Pie and Dr. Sieden. There might be one more forensic expert, but I'm not positive about that. Then there is the prosecution's rebuttal case. I believe the prosecution is going to call three witnesses.

beachball: Punkin Pie

My best guess is, Punkin Pie will be testi-lying right after Jennifer Hayes Riedl. However, I don't know that for certain. If she takes the stand I will try to describe how she looks and her demeanor as best I can.

I'm sure either under direct or cross we will find out how she is supporting herself.

Liz: 402 Hearing

It has to do with the admissibility of evidence:

Here's the code:

402. (a) When the existence of a preliminary fact is disputed, its
existence or nonexistence shall be determined as provided in this
(b) The court may hear and determine the question of the
admissibility of evidence out of the presence or hearing of the jury;
but in a criminal action, the court shall hear and determine the
question of the admissibility of a confession or admission of the
defendant out of the presence and hearing of the jury if any party so
(c) A ruling on the admissibility of evidence implies whatever
finding of fact is prerequisite thereto; a separate or formal finding
is unnecessary unless required by statute.

I think these hearings that are delaying the trial just show that both sides are doing the best they can for their client.

Anonymous said...

adding to my post in the last testimony thread ... I think Fidler is one step ahead of the defense ... without prejudicing himself ... he's getting it in the record that Weinberg is making discovery violations one after the other ... I think Fidler's leniency on these matters, if Spector is found guilty, will leave very little room for Spector to find any cause for a new trial.
Weinberg is a lot of things ... but dumb isn't one of them ... there has to be a reason that he continually argues with Fidler and keeps throwing pretty blatant discovery violations into the mix ... perhaps a last ditch effort at trying to peeve His Honor enough that he erupts and Weinberg can once again claim he's prejudiced against his client? Spector would love a mistrial ... and another year or two of freedom.

Sprocket said...

Anon @6:25 pm:

I have never thought for a moment that Weinberg was a bad lawyer. I don't believe I've ever said that.

I think Weinberg is very clever in the way he has worked the law to his client's advantage. Problem is, this doesn't necessarily win you friends in a District Attorney's office. On that point, I don't think he cares.

My example is the fees issue as well as not letting the prosecution, or anyone from the crime lab who is testifying for the prosecution "know" which of his experts went to the lab and examined evidence. All in an effort to keep the prosecution from knowing until the last moment who he will be calling to the stand.

In fact, I think Weinberg is doing an excellent job for his client. At the same time, I also think what he has is a difficult client. I also get the sense ~and this is just a sense, I don't have anything to support it~ that Spector is not running the show as much as he was in the first trial.

It's my opinion that, I think Weinberg is very much in charge of what goes on, what evidence the defense introduces and what witnesses get called.

Anonymous said...

To this reader, it sounds like Weinberg doesn't have a ghost's chance of hell in winning for his client. His tactics sound ugly and will not win the respect of his fellow lawyers.

Methinks that he regrets having taken on this case in the first place. My bet is that he thought it would be televised again. Except for you, Sprocket, he's basically playing to an empty press box.

Sprocket said...

I don't know that Weinberg was thinking the trial would be televised. Most retrials are NOT covered by the media. That's pretty standard.

I think he saw it as an interesting case with specific challenges.

Anonymous said...

I am not so sure DW is doing a good job for his client. I think he must be alienating many of the jurors. Although, Spector has no chance of being acquitted and all DW has to do is get one dumb juror to buy into the testimony of one of these hired guns. DW clearly has no him the law is just a game. I know defense attorneys are required to be the best job they can for their clients, and they all will try to gain an acquittal for a client they know is guilty. But, they are supposed to do it ethically within the law and rules. He is under no obligation to pull the kind of shenanigans he does.

My concern is that there is another idiot like juror number 10 from the first trial on this jury.


Christine said...

Sprocket, perhaps this has been made clear earlier, but can you give a timeline from the time de Souza heard the pop, to the time Spector came out of the door and then the time when the police came? I know there was supposedly 40 minutes between the time she was killed and the arrival of the police, but is there a timeline of this anywhere? I am still unclear about this. Maybe I should go back and read the testimony again.

Re Weinberg, I am not sure he really is doing such a good job as a defense lawyer-- as I believe from what I've read that he has been involved with getting his witnesses to embroider the truth more than a little, and has prepared them for what he wants them to say in order to sway the jury or muddy the waters. This is definitely not the way things are supposed to work in the justice system and it has gotten them discredited. This doesn't help the case much, to say the least. Had Pex actually done the tests as he claimed, then there would have been a different take on him. As it is, Pex has I believe hurt his career and perhaps will lose a chunk of that large fee in legal expenses.

So for my part I don't think Weinberg is doing such a great job.

As for Judge Larry Fidler, he has been provoked numerous times and has not risen to the bait. He is a remarkable judge. I think in the long run Fidler and AJ as well as Truc Do will be rewarded for their integrity.

Re Alan Jackson, he reminds me of Elliot Ness going after Al Capone! AJ's a real hero, not getting paid the huge amounts that Weinberg is, but I think perhaps he's getting paid something else as someone who cares about justice. There are few real heroes in this day and age, I really admire this remarkable person.

Best, Christine

Sprocket said...

Christine: Timeline

I'm sure there is something better out there but I'm too tired to look. Here is a rough outline.

Adriano heard the "pow." He steps out of the car and walks around looking for the sound. I think he walks completely around the fountain and went over to the HVAC system.

He got back in the car. This walk took about 1-2 minutes, IIRC.

About 1 minute after he got back in the car, Spector emerged out of the back door and made his statement.

After Adriano leaned around Spector and saw the body, he started to run down the drive then remembered that the car was right there. He ran back to the car. While exiting the property he called Michelle Blaine. Right after that he called 911. That call is dated at 5:04 am.

Police met him on the street about a minute later. However, they took their time to secure the scene before police entered the premises. They entered the residence and subdued Spector approximately 40 minutes later.

katfish said...

Did Dr. D'Maio in his "jack of all trade" expert witness testimony expound this trial, as he did last trial, about Lana not being able to get jobs because she was too old to compete with Paris Hilton? I also am wondering, did he say again that she was so big compared to PS she could have just taken the gun from him? I remember he said a lot of crazy stuff first trial and (tried to) wear many expert hats this time but did he stick to forensics or was he an agent as well?
Another wrote that Jennifer HR said she hasn't spoken to Punkin or any of the people from her "past life". Did she explain that at all? just curious. ;~)

Christine said...

Thank you Sprocket for clarifying the timeline. In all the time I have read about the case, it was never clear to me before that Spector came out just a moment or two after the pop, and then the police securing the scene took that amount of time before entering the residence.

One would think that a normal person, who had witnessed a suicide, would have come out immediately asking that someone help and explain what had happened. It seems to me that this lack of his coming out and the way he acted and the need to taze him needs to be clarified to the jury-- of course maybe it's just that I haven't heard every word. Perhaps it was abundantly clear to the jury already. Best, Christine

Anonymous said...


I think Lana's friends tales of her depression before her murder has been the defences best chance. It won't be nearly enough to get an aquittal but it could create some doubt in a juror that becomes fixated on a tree instead of a forest.

We need to put Lana's depression into context. She was a woman who experienced some sucess years before and who was committed for the better part of her life to the dream of making it as an actress in Hollywood. As she became older and the dream hadn't materialized and the other dreams she had (motherhood, etc) also had problems, it was inevitable that she would sink into depression as time and went by and the reality of making it as an an actor when your in your 40s sinks in.

Does this make her suicidal?

Does this make her seek out a gun in a strangers house and put it in her mouth?

Does this negate the fact that this man has pulled weapons on many women in the past when he gets drunk?

Does this explain why he said "I think I KILLED SOMEBODY"?

Does this explain why the forensics show that he was so close to her when the shot was fired?

The defense would have the jurors believe this.

At the end of the day, the few trees do not change what the forest of fact makes clear:

Phil Spector is guilty of murder

Anonymous said...

"I think I killed somebody."

Case closed.

snowbird01 said...

I do believe he said "I think I killed somebody" and - on top of that - with all his fussing and fighting with the police and saying "I'm sorry" and "I can explain" - he never once said that she did it herself. I think, if it were true, he would have shouted it from the rooftops in a very accusing and rude manner. But he didn't - that idea had to be thought up by his ttorneys later on, didn't it?

GuiltyIndeed said...

JHR is the classic, textbook example of BITCH. Is she working? How old is she?

Is there any chance michelle Blaine could be called as a rebuttal witness about the fountain email? If AJ asks just one question of MB, would she be open to any questions by Lie-berg?

Bill said...

I followed the first trial daily and now the retrial through your excellent work. One thing that got my attention in the first trial was the testimony given by Hays Riedel and Pie. In that trial the first one on the stand said that Lana had to pull out chairs for people that she had auditioned with and was humiliated by this. Then the other so called friend took the stand and used the same phrase about pulling out chairs for people using almost the same words. Now in the retrial Hays Riedel is using the same words again. This would seem to me that these two have discussed what testimony they were going to give before hand. Do you have any thoughts on this.

Sprocket said...

katfish: Dr. Di Maio & Hayes Riedl

Di Maio did not state this time that Lana could have taken the gun away. He DID say, in redirect that because of the size, age, and weight disparity, Lana would have had the upper hand in a "struggle" like the one demonstrated by the prosecution with Dr. Herold.

The defense tried to get Di Maio accepted as a ballistics expert (he is an accepted wound track expert) and a blood spatter expert during direct, and as an expert in TOUCH DNA on redirect. They failed. Testimony and questions were stricken.

Regarding Hayes Riedl. She is not off the stand yet. She is still under cross. So far, all she has said is that she hasn't spoken to Pie since the first trial.

Christine: Timeline

Spector did not mention suicide until much later. If you can find a copy of Officer Pineda's report, (It's in PDF format somewhere.) the first time Spector mentions suicide is many hours later at Alhambra Police Station. I'm still trying to find a report online in any format that has the complete transcript of what he said at the house. I'm not positive, but he may have mentioned suicide in his rantings at the mansion while he was being arrested, but I don't believe so.

It has been made clear to the jury through officer testimony that Spector was not following officer commands, had to be tasered and then tackled to the ground to be arrested.

Anon @11:28 PM: Tales of Her Depression

I think you described that accurately. "Tales of Her Depression."

I don't necessarily agree that Lana was in a recognized clinical depression. I lean more toward the belief she was an overly dramatic individual prone to extremes in how she expressed herself.

I think the whole meltdown at Hayes Riedl's house had to do with a single incident with a particular actress that came into the House of Blues that Lana had to attend to. Jennifer said as much on the stand on Thursday, that it had to do with a particular actress, who arrived at the HOB in a Bently, had a 20 million dollar home and a huge diamond on her finger.

snowbird01: Suicide Accusation

At the Alhambra Police Station, before Spector had the opportunity to speak to Robert Shapiro, he claimed Ms. Clarkson killed herself.

GuiltyIndeed: Hayes Riedl's age & work status

Hayes Riedl testified that she is in a new career, currently working as a chef. She then said she has been working as a chef and a designer for over 20 years. I have no idea how old she is. Her last child was born in April, 2002, so at that time she was still in child bearing age range.

I don't see the need for the prosecution to call Michelle Blaine on rebuttal about the fountain. The Judge already ruled that the jurors cannot use the visit as a "recreation" of events, and that would include the fountain. Besides, under cross, Weinberg would have the right to go into several issues unrelated to the death of Lana Clarkson, such as the civil suit Spector brought against Michelle, and won.

Bill: Pulling out chairs

Hayes Riedl testified to this again, but we got a bit more testimony surrounding it. From my take on things, it had to do with a single incident.

We will have to wait and see what Pie will testify to, if she is called. I can't imagine she will not be called.

Pie and Jennifer were interviewed by the defense investigator, Tawni Tyndall together on December 28th, 2005, at a restaurant, for about five hours. They were friends. I'm sure they discussed this incident among themselves long before they spoke to Ms. Tyndall.

Liz said...

Phil's Rants - the PDF files seem to go offline at times. In this long link
(apologies I don't know how to shorten it)

One that has all the early statements is
10/06/2005 - 42 pages

I think suicide is first mentioned when he is talking to Officer Gilliam, at the police station - p24 of the report

He repeats it all with Officer Pineda in a rather more beligerant manner p. 34

Both statements are before PS spoke with Mr Shapiro.

Anonymous said...

On the front page of the LA Times today (2/28)there is a feature story about a Dr. Edwin Schneidman who is apparently a well-known suicidologist who has written extensively on the subject. He is, however, 90 years old and unwell. Do you know the name of the suicidolgist that Weinberg has referred to? Surely not this one?

shari said...

Sprockie, PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE and you have won the "purple heart" for PATIENCE for all your answers to our questions and your exemplary knowledge of courtroom procedure and legalese. I (and I'm sure all of us) thank you for the coverage of this trial and the endless time you give up to inform all of us. When this is all over, we are all going to miss this part of our lives we have shared with you and the other bloggers. Rock on !! and thank Mr. Sprockie for sharing you with us....luv ya S.

Anonymous said...

Is it too late for the prosecution to use Spector's statements, perhaps in rebuttal to discredit the suicide theory being advanced by the defense experts (Dimaio). I don't see how Spector's initial statements can be reconciled with suicide. He was saying it was an accident. He did not start talking about suicide until later after he thought about it.


Sprocket said...

Liz: Spector's Rants

Thank you for the link Liz! I have one document, Officer Pineda's fifteen page report. I'll copy and paste the link and see if I can download the entire 40+ pages.

If I can find a way to easily copy and paste the entire text of his statements, I'll put them up on T&T. If anyone is able to send me the text in an email, accurate and in it's entirety, I would certainly appreciate it. It would make it easier on me.

SeniorMoments: Suicidologist

The suicidologist is a Dr. Richard Sieden (or Seiden) who is in the Bay area. I "believe" he did a study of people who jump off the Golden Gate, but don't quote me on that. More people commit suicide at the Golden Gate Bridge than any other location (in the US, I believe). I saw a documentary on it from the perspective of a man who happened to have his camera on the bridge when a man jumped.

I believe Dr. Sieden will be able to educate the jury on suicide in general and what the true statistics are that are known (and unknown) about it. At this time, I don't believe he will be able to opine on Lana Clarkson, specifically.


Thank you Shari. I will be so grateful to go back to my regular life for awhile and sleep in in the mornings. Well, that is until the civil case gets started. I hope to cover that trial, too. It will depend on several factors at home and whether or not I will have to buckle down and go back to work.

Ray: Spector's statements

I don't think so Ray. Here's why. If they did then the defense could put on a sur-rebuttal case of everything Spector said that was self serving. Everything.

When it comes to the prosecution using a defendant's statements at trial (except for those that are specifically ruled as excited utterances within minutes of the charged event), you don't get to pick and choose which statements the jury hears. You can't present a couple of statements and not others. See?

If you enter one statement as part of your case, all statements come in,(via the defense case or through cross examination) even the self serving ones and voila, Spector doesn't have to take the stand.

Spector's statements about "she committed suicide" would come before the jury (via the officers who heard them & via the police reports) and Spector could sit at the defense table and never say a word.

This is why the prosecution has chosen this particular trial strategy in trial 1 & 2. If Spector wants to get before the jury his story that "she killed herself and I saw it" he will have to take the stand.

I will try to find out some more information on this next week and the rules governing hearsay testimony.

texas girl said...

Does the jury know about the 40 minutes that Phil had to "clean up" his mess and stage it as a sucide before the police came and arrested him?

Sprocket said...

texas girl: Timeline

Yes. This was brought out via the timing of the 911 call, and when officers first arrived on the scene, approximately 1 minute after the call.

The officers took approximately 40 minutes to secure the property and tackle Spector after they arrived. Officer Brandon Cardella testified on Day 11. He was one of five officers that comprised the "entry team." He testified to every action and observation the team made. Another Alhambra officer, James Hammond also testified to the actions they took on Day 12.

my2cents said...

Sprocket: I know you have recently posted this, but I can't seem to find it now. (So I apologize for asking you to repeat this.) Could you share the BLOCKED out DATES, if any (or partial court dates), that you are aware of, that remain for the next 2-3 weeks of this trial? (Except for Fridays, which I know are always "black".) THANKS

And thank you again for all the great coverage and detailed, time consuming notes and feedback. MUCH, MUCH APPRECIATED and ENJOYED. Please thank Mr. Sprocket as well - he must be a very supportive and great husband. IMO, . . . he's a "keeper"!

Anonymous said...

In the update of AJ's cross I had a good chuckle at this little vignette of an anonymous person which you provided:

"It's about 3:30 pm and Spector's #1 fan, Teresa (sp?) enters. She's wearing what she usually wears when she arrives this time of day: sweatshirt and sweatpants."

JD said...

Sprocket: I am also a trial junky from the first Spector trial, and first saw your posts on the boards at (miss that channel!). Your posts on this trial are fascinating and I am another who greatly appreciates that you make the time to share your insights with us.

Sprocket said...

My Two Cents: Dark Days

As far as I know, right now, there are no dark days in the next two weeks. Be aware that this can change at any moment. The jurors sometimes forget to notify the court with more than a day or two notice that they need time off. I think it was last Monday that we first learned they wanted Wednesday afternoon off for Ash Wednesday.

Anon @ 11:07 am: #1 Fan Attire

I apologize. In no way do I mean to degrade this woman who has supported Spector all during the first and now second trial. I should have added more context.

From my understanding she is a school teacher, possibly a Physical Education teacher. That's just a guess. The last trial was held mostly over the summer and she came to to court many times for the full day dressed in nice casual wear. She mostly wore Hawaiian themed shirts and or nice blazers with jeans.

What I am saying is, she takes the time to come to court, even if it's for only the last half hour of testimony. I'm guessing that she is coming directly from work to the trial and doesn't take time to change. To me, that's a dedicated fan.

~Corrina said...

Hi Girl!
Excellent job you're doing.
I do want to know the significance
of the Kessel Bros. to this trial and how they tie in to Pumkin Pie? I mean they used to co-own the Backstage Cafe..would they ever be called to the stand in relation to Greg Simms' huge gaffe?

Sprocket said...

Corrina: The Kessell Brothers

I don't believe a connection between Punkin Pie and/or Greg Sims and the Kessell brothers has been proven. It's just been alleged in cross examination of Sims.

Anonymous said...

I think Corrina was trying to figure out how the Kessels figure back to PS: They have "done" music together (not sure what/when), have known PS since childhood and are vocal supporters of same. So the inference is that Pie and Sims are getting work/staying in good graces by coming to the stand with these speak-ill-of-the-dead stories. I find all these people to be snakes, but thats show biz.

Sprocket said...

Anon @ 3:25 pm: The connection

First, I've been spelling the last name wrong. It's Kessel; only one "l" not two.

Second, the Kessel boys have been associated with Spector for a long time. That's because their father Barney Kessel was a hero of Spector's at an early age.

From: Tearing Down the Wall of Sound by Mick Brown: pages 25-26:

"On Phil's fifteenth birthday, Bertha and Shirley (mother and older sister, respectively) took him to see Ella Fitzgerald performing a concert in Hollywood. Playing in her backing group was the guitarist Barney Kessel, and Spector watched transfixed as his fingers flew effortlessly over the frets. Born in Oklahoma in 1923, Kessel was a child prodigy who had left home at fourteen to go on the road, playing with big bands, including those of Charlie Barnett and Benny Goodman.


Phil had found a new hero. He collected every Kessel recording he could find, and in an act of homage pinned a photograph of the guitarist on his bedroom wall, alongside the pictures of Albert Einstein and Abraham Lincoln. (When Kessel died in 2004, Spector would describe him to one friend as "the Quintessential. The greatest musician I've ever known; the greatest guitarist that ever lived--well ahead of Segovia whom many; wrongfully, think was the greatest.")

----- End Excerpt

The Kessel boys grew up knowing Spector because of the close friendship between Spector and their father.

Sims testified that he booked gigs at the Backstage Cafe. He testified he did not know the Kessel brothers or that they were silent partners in the Backstage Cafe.

I believe, well, I'm remembering that the Kessel boys worked as bodyguards for Spector at one time. I believe that is somewhere in Brown's book. I will have to check with him to verify that verses trying to skim through the entire 433 pages.

I am also remembering that Alan Jackson mentioned that as part of a question posed to Sims on cross, but I'm not positive.

Anonymous said...

Dear Sprocket

I was expecting AJ to rip apart DiMaio during his testimoney... I read your report of their exchange and I'm not that sure it happened, at least not as much as during PS1. What is you general perception of how VDM got perceived by the jury?

Thank you so much for all.


Sprocket said...

Nanouk: Dr. Di Maio Cross

Hi there Nanouk!

I know I mentioned this already in the cross of Dr. Di Maio and in the comments on that entry, but I will say it again, just for you!

Dr. Di Maio was a much more "subdued" witness on the stand. It was like night and day. Dr. Di Maio conceded on the stand that every one of the four major points he used to determine MOD, (manner of death) could ALSO be used to determine homicide. He also agreed that, if it was proven that Ms. Clarkson couldn't have been holding the gun, then he would have to change his MOD to homicide.

That was, imho, a big win for the prosecution.

At the end of the cross, Dr. Di Maio came up to Mr. Jackson and very quietly complimented him on his cross. I almost didn't believe I heard it and got a confirmation from another trial watcher who heard it also.

Anonymous said...

I refuse to believe Sims' testimony that he did bookings at Backstage for "no money". Who the hell works for free---in that or any other business?

Betsy thanks for the mention of; I went there and read many of the dozens of filings on the case. One motion, filed by the attys in PS1, make some shocking allegations about Lana's drug use as found on a "hard-drive autobiography"; that she was encouraged by her mother, an RN, to experiment with any and all manner of drugs. I assume this was squashed and not allowed in evidence.
I also looked up 2 of PS's meds: Klonopin, a central nervous system depressant, not to be taken with alcohol since "depressant effects will be intensified", and Neurontin, which is used for either seizures or pain from shingles(herpes). Every police officer who filed a report mentioned his extreme state of intoxication and in one case the "horrible" odor of same.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Dr. DiMaio has mellowed out because he knows PS is going down and doesn't want his own career to go down with the sinking ship.

Liz said...

I notice in one of the police reports, when first at the police station PS refused to take a breathalyzer test. At the same time (actually earlier) a gunshot residue test was administered to A De Souza. Would ADS have been able to refuse? Given the scene, I would have thought PS could have been compelled to have the test. Did this ever happen?

many thanks

Carol L Beck said...


At the end of the first trial there was a San Francisco attorney who helped with the jury instructions. He was both in the courtroom and spoke with Judge Fidler over the phone. He was an appeal lawyer or something of that sort. Was he Mr. Weinberg?

Keep up the good work. The reason we all get on you about hurrying up is because we can't wait to hear what you have to say. It's priceless!


Speedo said...

Thanks for your reporting- I was reading the police reports in the evidence file and noticed in one Spector admits to accidentally shooting Lana. Why hasn't the prosecution used this in the first and present trial?
Keep up the great work!

Anonymous said...

Message/Response for Carol L. Beck:

I believe you're talking about defense attorney, Dennis Reardon. (Not sure about the spelling of his last name?)

He is the attorney who (apparently) has expertise in the area of appeals.

I've also inquired with Sprocket about him.

Has Dennis R. resurfaced in Spector II ?


Liz said...

Tis I think Dennis P Riordan - he shares an address in SanFrancisco with Weinberg, but separate practises. Search here

Sprocket said...

Anon @ 8:00 pm: Sims testimony & Court documents

Greg Sims
From what I'm remembering, he had trouble answering at first and didn't really have a good explanation as to why he set up these gigs for the Backstage Cafe and didn't make any money or made little money on it. I seem to think that he was trying to present it as if he never made a profit but don't quote me on that.

Court Documents, Lana's medical history
During trial one, the "hard-drive autobiography" was ruled too remote in time (the last time she had logged on to add to it was, IIRC, 2001) and inadmissable.

However, the information you stated was introduced because it was on that "new patient, self reporting history intake form. This was part of her medical records.

The information was written in an ambiguous form and Weinberg made a big deal about this, asking several of the ME's about it in cross or direct, depending on who was on the stand.

It was written in an area that was supposed to be "personal history" but it appears (to me at least) that she was talking about her parents "taking psychedelics since the age of 7." Weinberg would read the incomplete statement to the witness, and each time the prosecution would object and Fidler would rule that the entire statement had to be read to the witness for the jury to hear.

Court Documents, Spector's Medication
I believe both of those medications were detected in the urinalysis that was taken at Alhambra Police Station. Spector's alcohol level was tested via the urinalysis. It was .07.

It's interesting that in trial #2, this jury did not hear Rommie Davis testify that she questioned Spector's alcohol consumption on those three nights because she knew he was on medication that shouldn't be mixed with alcohol. The issue didn't come up on direct or cross.

Anon @ 9:36 pm: Dr. Di Maio

I don't know Anon. I'm not positive, but I believe Di Maio excluded some of his reasonings he presented in the first trial in this testimony. That's what helped him "save face."

Liz: Breathalyzer test

As far as I know, Spector was never given one. They did not draw blood at Alhambra, either. Just took a urinalysis. I'm guessing Adriano De Souza quickly agreed to a GSR test. I think he "could have" refused, but, why would he?

Carol L Beck: The appeal lawyer

Dennis P. Riordan's practice is in the same building as Weinberg's, although their partnerships are with different people.

The LA Daily Journal reported that Riordan introduced Spector to Weinberg; recommended him to the music legend for his retrial.

Riordan is a highly respected appellate attorney. Last trial, it was noted by the press in the courtroom that Riordan was one of the attorney's chosen to sit on the panel to rewrite CALCRIM, which is the set of rules governing jury instructions. CALCRIM has been updated since that revision.

Speedo: It was an accident

The reason this was not introduced is because of two things. First being the prosecution does not get to "pick and choose" which statements of Spector's get introduced as part of their case-in-chief. If they introduced incriminating statements, then Spector's self-serving statements (She killed herself.) can come in through the defense case without Spector ever having to take the stand.

The exception to this rule is if a statement is ruled an "excited utterance" (I believe that's the right term; someone can correct me if I'm wrong.) immediately following the event. The two "confession" statements (one heard by De Souza; the other by an officer) were ruled admissible without having to also enter all the other self serving statements.

If I'm remembering correctly, the prosecution fought hard to get admitted the statement that only the one Alhambra officer heard and then strategically decided not to use it. It totally threw Bruce Cutler for a loop in his opening statement. It "denunded" (sp?) him.

Second, the prosecution adopted the trial strategy of not introducing these incriminating statements to prevent Spector's self serving statements from getting in front of the jury without Spector taking the stand. If Spector wants the jury to know that she killed herself, then he would have to get on the stand and tell them himself.

I hope that answers that for you.

Anon @ 5:08 pm: Has Riordan appeared yet?

No, not yet. But I expect he will when jury instructions roll around.

Anonymous said...

A couple of small amplifications:

Cutler said he was "denuded" in the court.....stripped bare (of claims that he had planned to make about PS's declarations of suicide).

Yes the urinalysis showed .07 but from reading the motions online, this was many hours later. There are apparently formuli (is that a word?) that allow calculations that show at the time of the incident, it was much much higher.

Sprocket said...

Anon @ 7:19 am: Urinalysis

If I'm recalling correctly, calculations as to what his blood alcohol "might have been" at the time of the firearm discharging from the urinalysis was not entered into evidence.

I am closing this Q&A and requesting further questions be left on Day 50 or 51. Thanks!