Monday, March 23, 2009

Phil Spector Retrial: Closing Arguments Day 1

Closing Arguments (unedited, draft entry)

The battle over what the evidence proves began in closing arguments today.

I get to the 9th floor around 8:00 am and there are several people I know already there. Linda from San Diego, and Sherri are sitting on the bench at the far end of the hall. Linda tells us that she called the Public Information Office (PIO) and asked if it was at all possible for seats to be reserved for the three of us. Linda has always been the gutsy, outgoing person in the gallery and not shy about talking to new people who would show up in the courtroom. I would not have even thought to call the PIO and ask because my experience at the first trial and at the Muira hearings I attended, I could not get on their reserved seating list because I'm not an accredited journalist. Needles to say, I'm glad Linda did call. I would have to say that besides myself, Linda and Sherri are the other two people who have attended the largest portion of testimony.

Also at the end of the 9th floor hallway when I arrived was Ron, a very nice man I met last Monday who had driven in from Phoenix for a week of testimony only to have the trial end in the afternoon session. He told us that last Monday was his first time in Los Angeles and he drove down many of the main, well known streets such as Hollywood, Sunset and Wilshire Boulevard's just to see the sights. As more familiar gallery faces showed up, we were trying to think up other noteworthly landmarks for Ron to visit in his down time this week. Soon the hallway was filled with many of the die hard public faces I had come to know over the past five months (such as the young man studying for the bar, Mr. Cane, My2Cents, Katie and Lisa) and a new face or two like the pretty young woman, an actress who flew down from San Francisco to hear the closings.

While we are all waiting, the prosecution team shows up and the sheriff's unlock the doors for them.

When I saw spied Juror #9 from the first trial down by the elevator bay, I said excuse me to the person I was speaking to and walked towards him to give him a hug. Like me, Juror #9 is a sensitive person and hugging to us just comes naturally. While we were waiting for the PIO to show up, another trial watcher I've come to know confirmed that it was Dan Kessel who has shown up several times at trial to support Spector.

When the PIO staff do arrive, they tell us there are 30 news organizations on the reserved seating list but assure us that most of those won't show up. At 8:58 am I'm inside the courtroom. I don't get to sit in my regular seat because the second row is being reserved for the DA staff and friends of Lana Clarkson. The third row is for the public and those reporters on laptops. I get a seat close to the far right in the third bench row. Over on the defense side of the room I see Spector's #1 fan, Teresa and the very thin Anita Talbert staring at me again.

Miriam Hernandez is here and I ask someone in the back row if they know what organization the still photographer is with. It's the LA Times. More and more reporter's show up and the courtroom is already three quarters full.

Soon, Lana's friends show up and sit right in front of me in the second row. I get to meet Pattie and Nili, who thank me for the trial coverage. They tell me they were barred from attending any of the trial because they were on the official witness list. Over on the defense side of the room sitting with Anita Talbert is a tiny, older blond woman who is a possible close match for Joyce Danelen, although I don't know if it is her or not. (During the first trial, it was speculated among the accredited press that Spector had loaned Ms. Danelen a large sum of money and that's why she was so vocally supportive of him.)

9:09 am: Tawni Tyndall arrives and sits in with Anita and the older woman. A moment later, I see Jackson, Truc and Weinberg enter Fidler's chambers. The Associated Press reporter is in the row in front of me on the end, her usual seat. More press arrives and the PIO staff are trying to get people to move down to the left so they can squeeze more bodies into the seats. Aphrodite Jones arrives and gets squeezed into the third row on my right. I find out that it's KABC who is filming the closing arguments today. Dr. Baden's brother, Robert Baden is in the second bench row on the defense side of the room.

9:22 am: John Taylor, Donna Clarkson and Fawn arrive and sit in the front row. Several people from the DA's office are sitting to the far left in the second bench row. I see Richard Gabriel, the defense's jury consultant is barely squeezed onto his seat next to the aisle in the second bench row. Also on the defense side is a large man that somewhat resembles David Crosby.

9:25 am: Mrs. Weinberg arrives and right after that all counsel enter Fidler's chambers again. Truc and Jackson enter and I believe that Weinberg's paralegal, Susan has to find him because he comes into 106 and goes straight to Fidler's chambers. Looking around behind me I notice Steven Mikulan from the LA Weekly has grabbed one of the plastic chairs against the back wall and is opening his laptop. But the question that's on my mind and the trial watcher to my left is, Where is the defendant? The attorneys are back out of Fidler's chambers just as quickly as they went in.

In the far left back corner of the courtroom are the video camera as well as the still photographer. I see Harriet Ryan on her laptop in that far corner as well as a member of the PIO staff. Some of the other reporters I recognize, others I do not. Right behind me is My2Cents and next to them is the reporter for CNN who asks me a few questions and I give her the information on how to get to the blog.

9:29 am: The rest of Mrs. Clarkson's legal team is finally here: Rod Lindblom and Bill Ferguson. Weinberg stops to speak to the AP reporter and I overhear him tell her that he just received a text message (I'm betting that was from Rachelle) that there was an accident on a freeway. Maybe this is why the defendant is late.

Two minutes later the defendant arrives to a very tightly packed courtroom. Spector is wearing his regular get up, one of his long, Edwardian frock coats. A few people ask me if his garb is unusual and I tell them that he always dresses like that. Rachelle is wearing skin tight, bright white pants and a matching jacket. From where I'm sitting, the jacket and pants almost look like they are leather, but they are probably a type of spandex material. The short-waisted jacket has a 3" point-tip collar with an offset zipper on the far left front side. There are also zippers at the sleeve cuffs, and several zippers on the front of the jacket. What's interesting to me is the top she is wearing underneath. I can just see small a portion of the print that is peeking out from underneath the jacket at the cuffs and waist. It appears to be a "reverse leopard" print of black spots on bright yellow.

9:31 am: Wendy calls the jury. Louis Spector and his companion Frieda enter and try to find seats. The PIO staff asks the third bench row to try to squeeze together some more, but Louis and Freida do not get seats together for the first half of the morning session. I see Pat Dixon at the far left, climbing over the video camera tripod legs to get to his reserved seat in the second bench row.

Fidler takes the bench. He tells the jury he is going to take a couple of minutes to talk to them. They've spent six months together going over all the testimony from both parties. He reminds them that everything they are to consider is to come only from the courtroom. He reminds them that they are not to use computers or cell phones to research information on the case. I almost miss it, but Fidler states that either a juror pointed it out to him or that he's talking about a recent article in the news of jurors researching cases on their cell phones. He goes onto talk about this is especially problematic if a juror does this research and then passes it onto other jurors. "If it be radio, television, or the internet, or if anyone tries to influence you please let us know. [...] Let me just ask you, has anyone read anything? (There is a short pause while Fidler waits for an answer from the jury.) No positive responses." (It's very interesting this talk with the jury. This is the first time I've ever noticed Fidler mentioning the internet, in fact, I believe it's the only time.)

Fidler then goes onto explain the closing arguments. He states that the prosecution gets to passes to argue their case. They will go first, then the defense and then the prosecution again. He reminds the jury that the purpose of closing arguments is to sharpen the evidence and how to persuade you to view it. He informs the jury that it's important to remember that the arguments are not evidence. The evidence is the witness testimony. Closing arguments are an attempt to persuade you; it's not evidence. He tells them that in a trial this long, it's possible that both sides might misstate the evidence or testimony in their closing arguments. The thing to remember is, we can always go back to the trial transcript and have it read back if you have a question. He states again that the arguments are not evidence and with that he asks "So with that in mind are the people read to begin?"

Truc Do, dressed in a subdued charcoal gray suit gets up to present the first argument. She speaks in a pleasant and authorative voice. A KABC has a short clip where you can finally see and hear Truc Do in action. Isn't she as pretty as I've described? The lights are dimmed in the courtroom and as Truc starts to talk to the jury, a very detailed and well produced video presentation will play throughout her entire argument. For over two hours the jury will stare transfixed at the screen as she takes them through the state's evidence and what it proves.

Truc thanks the jurors for their sacrifice of spending six months together. "We have spent six months in a world that most don't belong to. [...] A world where people are treated golden." Truc goes onto describe this world of power and privilege where someone can be dismissed by putting them on a train. (Stephanie Jennings) "A world where an assault with a gun can be overshadowed by the awe of a John Lennon guitar. (Dorothy Melvin) [...] It's a world where you can buy a defense by paying $419,000 for expert testimony."

Then Truc switches to Lana Clarkson's world. "In Lana Clarkson's world, she worked a lifetime to pursue a life of fame. And as it is for most of us, it's a life of struggle." Truc mentions that Lana was not ashamed to consider putting on a costume for a part at an amusement park, to play the role of Zena. She was willing to work at the House of Blues. "Lana saw no shame in those jobs, because she was willing to work."

Truc goes onto talk about how deals are made in the entertainment world, over drinks, because it's who you know. "All Lana knew on February 3rd, 2003 was that Phil Spector was a VIP. He was told by her supervisor to treat him as golden. [...] She was reluctant but willing to go have a drink with him. [...] In three hours her dream ended with a single gunshot. [...] She didn't know about the "All women are fucking cunts who deserve a bullet in their heads. [...] She didn't know about a man with an impulsive rage and impulsive anger. [...] She didn't know about five other women. She would be the last in a long line. She didn't know any of that."

DW: Objection! This is character evidence!

Fidler: Overruled!

Truc doesn't miss a beat and continues after Fidler rules. " This truth is not complicated. [...] It's about a man who has a history of playing Russian roulette with the lives of six women. Lana just happened to be the sixth woman to get the bullet."

Truc then goes over the three charges that are before the jury: second degree, involuntary manslaughter and and a gun charge accusation.

She starts off with explaining the law regarding murder. While she's talking non stop without looking at a single note, the wording of the law is up on the overhead video screen. She outlines the two categories of second degree murder, and that the key to understanding it is the "conscious disregard" for someone's actions causing the death of another human being. Truc Do explains how the law defines malice. It can either be an expressed intent to kill (and this case is not about that) or it can be implied malice via certain conduct. The key is a conscious disregard to human life. With implied malice, there's no requirement that someone acknowledge an intent to kill.

Do then gives the jury an example of something everyone is familiar with, drinking and driving to explain what second degree murder looks like. A man is arrested twice for drunk driving. From those two arrests, there is no injury to himself or anyone else. The third time he crashes into an SUV and kills a family of four. The man is charged with four counts of second degree murder. She explains that it doesn't matter what his excuse is. It doesn't matter that he says he didn't mean to harm anyone. She explains that it doesn't matter that he says he was swerving to avoid hitting another vehicle. "Under the law, that man who drank and drove will be charged with second degree murder no matter what the excuse is."

"In this case we have something that everyone knows is a danger: A loaded gun. Even children know that." Truc then put's firearm expert Jim Carroll's testimony up on the screen. "...want to treat all firearms as if they are loaded at all times. We don't want to point firearms at anything we are not willing to kill or destroy." Truc reminds the jurors that when every single witness in this case who handled the weapon, they never pointed it at anyone even though everyone knew that the bailiff had ensured that the weapon was rendered safe. "Everyone in this courtroom knows a gun, a loaded gun is dangerous."

Truc explains the involuntary manslaughter charge. "This is a lesser offence that the judge is required to instruct under the law. [...] Lana's death is nothing less than a second degree murder. [...] Phil Spector took a loaded gun and pointed it at Lana Clarkson. That's second degree."

Truc then gives an example of what would be involuntary manslaughter. A man is sleeping and he is woken up by a crowd of teenagers standing 25 yars from where he is. He waves a weapon around so they see it, trying to scare them and the gun goes off. (Next to me, my seatmate to my left whispers to me this is exactly like the Clint Eastwood movie, Grand Torino.) "That is not what we have here," Truc explains. "There is a line between second degree murder and involuntary manslaughter and Mr. Spector has crossed that line." She goes onto explain that that (in their deliberations) they must decide on the and eliminate the second degree charge first before they can get to involuntary manslaughter.

And last, Truc goes over the gun accusation charge.

Now, Truc puts up on the overhead screen the law for second degree murder and what must be proven to get there. She starts off with the fact that Spector confessed (to his driver) that he fired the fatal shot. Moments later Adriano De Souza called 911. "The physical evidence proves he held the gun when it went off." Truc then tells the jury afterwords, Spector "acted with a consciousness of guilt" by attempting to clean up the scene and never calling 911.

Truc then puts up an image of sand dunes on the screen. She tells the jury that this image is not a "screen saver" image. It's a photo of from South Vietnam, where her family came from. It's a beach of sand dunes. In reviewing the accredited press reports, it's only ace reporter Steven Mikulan from the LA Weekly who correctly copies down the name of the South Vietnam beach that Truc identifies: Mui Ne. "(These) sand dunes are shaped by the winds off the South China Sea. [...] They are never the same. [...] You would be lost if you relied on them to know hwere you are. [...] Nothing the defense has presented to you has been constant."

Truc goes onto state that the defense's case has been like these shifting sand dunes. It's a theme she presents over and over again in her argument. That when the defense was unable to deliver on the promises they made in their opening statement, they continually shifted strategies to try to discredit the prosecution witnesses, or have the evidence prove something it didn't.

Truc states that the shifting sands started with the testimony of Adriano De Souza. She reminds the jury what Mr. Weinberg promised in his opening statement what he would show about De Souza's testimony. And when he failed to discredit what he saw and heard, the sands shifted and he put on Dr. Loftus to testify about how lighting and sound can affect eyewitness testimony. But the law tells you how you can look at those issues.

"Adriano De Souza has been constant with what he saw and heard." Truc continues to detail each and every observation De Souza made and statement to police. "He's been constant, consistent and unwavering." Truc explains to the jury that "...the law will tell you how to interpret eyewitness testimony, and lets go over those points. [...] At 5:02 am, he called 911 and immediately gave a statement. [...] 8:35 am he was interviewed by Pineda and Kennedy. [...] 9:45 am he was interviewed by Fortier and Tomlin."

Throughout the presentation, Truc plays various audio clips of Adriano's 911 call and his video taped interrogation. Up on the screen is either the text or a visual of what she is discussing. "In that last (one) he gave specific details (to) the 911 operator," Truc clarifies for the jury. She then plays the tape from the Tomlin and Fortier interview. "Those are the salient facts that Mr. De Souza saw and heard."

Truc then goes over what the law states they should consider in eyewitness testimony with the words up on the screen. How well did he see or hear? How closely did he pay attention. How was the lighting and how far away was the witness.

Truc mentions that Mr. Weinberg brought up in his opening statement that the fountain was so loud that De Souza couldn't have heard what he heard. He even played an audio recording for the jurors that was part of a video tape of De Souza explaining what he did in the motor court in the rear of the residence. She reminds the jurors that they were there at the scene and they saw that they could have a conversation. And all while she is discussing these points, up on the screen images are slowly put up one by one of the rear entrance and the lights on in the sconces outside and the overhead light on the porch.

Then Truc goes over in detail, De Souza's testimony on cross examination where Weinberg tries to get De Souza to admit certain things. She explains that he wasn't under any kind of stress when Spector stepped out of the house. And all this testimony she is reviewing is up on the overhead screen.

ADS: Sir, I was not confused (in answering a question by Weinberg).

DW: When did you go into a little bit of a shock?

ADS: You know, it wasn't until I realized that somebody like could be dead inside the house.

There's a question about him being scared.

ADS : I didn't say I was scared at that moment. I didn't know what happened at the -- I saw the legs and stepped aside. [...] I was not scared.

"This is key to you understanding that Adriano De Souza was spot on with what he observed. [...] He was spot on and never went back," Truc details for the jury.

Weinberg makes another objection and Fidler overrules the objection.

"You've head testimony that Mr. De Souza was not allowed back in the crime scene," Truc continues. She then explains that De Souza describe what Spector wore the moment he stepped out on the porch. He knew that even though the last time he saw Spector being led away by police, he wasn't wearing the white jacket. She points out that De Souza told police in the interview that he believes there was blood on Spector's hand, but he's not positive about that. Truc asks the jury how would De Souza know that there was blood left on the door knob, or blood left on the banister.

The next issue Truc addresses is the audio interview with Kennedy and Pineda and how Weinberg suggested to the jury that De Souza was "fed information" by those officers. She specifically goes over where De Souza correct Pineda, putting his hand up to his face, on the right side of Lana's face. She reminds the jurors that Lana's head was moved from the left to the right and that had to have happened after De Souza saw Lana's body. "Was he consistent? Is he certain?" Truc asks the jurors. (These are two more of the statements on the list the law gives for how to interpret eyewitness testimony.)

The last item on the law list for eyewitness testimony is the question whether or not De Souza is confident in what he saw and heard. "He (Weinberg) brought in a last minute hail Mary witness because he couldn't shake De Souza's testimony. He brought in Dr. Loftus to tell you about memory because they couldn't shake De Souza."

Truc then goes over the testimony of De Souza where he is being asked how certain he is of what Spector said, and Truc tells the jury, "But the law tells you you can consider confidence (of the witness)." Truc talks about those who learn second languages they learn by parroting. "they couldn't shake his confidence so they bring in Dr. Loftus to tell you that (the connection to confidence and accuracy is weak). [...] They couldnt prove those things they told you so the sands shifted."

There are words up on the screen now that are overlayed onto a booking photo of Phil Spector on the left and Lana Clarkson, dead, on the right. It's the words that are consistent in each of the statements De Souza made to various individuals.

911 call: "I killed"

Officer Cardella: "I killed"

Kennedy & Pineda: "I killed"

Fortier & Tomlin: "I killed"

"In each one, De Souza said the same thing. "I killed. [...] So when you have directly Phil Spector confessed, that's evidence of guilt."

Truc then moves onto the physical evidence in the case and how the law instructs the jury to interpret it.

The backspatter. Dr. Herold testified that it was within arms reach of Lana Clarkson. Dr. Pena testified that bruises were on Lana Clarkson's hands and wrists. Backspatter was on Lana Clarkson's wrists absolutely proves that Lana could not have been holding the gun. Dr. Herold testified that the blood spatter tells us Spector was within arms reach. Truc goes over more of Dr. Herold's testimony. She also details that Stuart James confirmed the backspatter came from the firing event, and that he was within one-and-a-half to two feet from the gun going off.

Truc goes over next the blood stain on the leading edge of Spector's left sleeve cuff.

The next thing Truc addressed was the shifting sands of Weinberg's questioning of Dr. Pena about how Lana could have gotten bruises. He first suggested that there was some other cause. He suggested he got bruises on her arm from her job. He asked Dr. Pena if a patron at the House of Blues could have grabbed her arm asking Lana to "get me a beer." Right after Truc says this, Lana's friend turn to each other and laugh. Weinberg then asked Dr. Pena if Lana could have gotten those bruises when her arms fell from in front of her face at hit the arm of the chair she was sitting in. After that, through the testimony of Dr. Spitz, the defense suggested that the bruises on her hands and wrists were received at the coroner's office when her body was turned to be photographed! "The truth shifts with whatever direction the wind blows. [...] This should tell you it's not truth; it's evidence of convenience."

"Mr. Spector's DNA was found on her wrist. [...] In those three swabs, the profile was consistent with a mixture of Lana Clarkson and Phil Spector's DNA."

DW: Objection! Absolutely no evidence of DNA on bruises!

Weinberg objects again that an image up on the screen is not an image of her hand that contains a bruise. I believe the objections are overruled.

Truc Do states that Dr. Pena testified those were bruises on those wrists. The next thing that Truc goes over in detail is Jamie Lintemoot's testimony as to where the blood was on Lana's wrists. She plays the video again from the first trial of where Lintemoot demonstrates she saw spatter. "I expect Mr. Weinberg to argue that you can't rely on Jamie Lintemoot's testimony. [...] However, this is what (he said) in his opening statement, when they started. They were fine with her testimony from the first trial when they thought that she would present testimony of blood on hands. [...] That Lintemoot said, "That's spatter. That's spatter that I saw.

Fidler calls the morning recess. Some people get up to leave the courtroom because they need to go to the restroom but the PIO office tells them they might not get their seat back because there are other people waiting in the hall that they are still trying to seat. There are a few more people who show up and sit on the defense side. Spector gets up from his seat to whisper to Rachelle. I see Spector's bodyguard in the back row against the wall, stand up and motion to Williams who is in the bailiff box. Williams gets up to see what he wants. A few people who were waiting to get inside the courtroom sneak in when people leave their seats.

11:08 am: Wendy calls the jury. During the break, this very thin, homeless looking man (he looks like a ghoul right out of a Wes Craven movie) partially balding with a shock of white hair slips into 106 and sits on the defense side in the row of plastic chairs. He was in 106 a week or so ago and people commented on how strange he looked.

11:11 am: Fidler retakes the bench. Truc continues back on what Weinberg said in his opening statement. "When we started this trial, he was fully going to accept her (Lintemoot) testimony. That it was going to be "here" and not "here." Truc demonstrates where Weinberg thought Lintemoot would describe where she saw backspatter on Lana Clarkson verses where Lintemoot said she saw it. I believe her testimony is either played again or her testimony text is up on the screen. "1 swab backside of right wrist. [...] I saw mist like drops. [...] Three areas swabbed. The watch area, the smear on the left wrist and the right wrist."

Truc goes over the series of events where they had to bring Lintemoot back in the afternoon because Truc did not see exactly where Weinberg was pointing when he was cross examining her on where she saw the blood. She goes over in detail how Lintemoot in error, was accepting of Weinberg's demonstration and that she "misspeakes" and says hands in answer to Weinberg asking her if it was Lana's hands where she saw the spatter. Truc reminds the jury that Weinberg then asks Lintemoot if she is familiar with the concept of blood spatter, and questioned her extensively on that. "(He) completely accepted that testimony whe he thought it was convenient. [...] There were questions about her training and he accepted her testimony."

Then Truc goes over how Lintemoot was recalled in the afternoon. "And Jamie Lintemoot testified that it was NOT where Weinberg indicated and she clarifies that. Now Lintemoot's testimony is not convenient."

DW: Objection! That was not testimony! That was outside the presence!

TD: That's not correct.

Weinberg asks to approach and there is a sidebar off to the side of Fidler's bench. A couple of minutes later, the sidebar is finished.

"Once it became clear that spatter on the backside of Lana Clarkson's wrist was inconsistent with Lana Clarkson holding the gun (up on the screen is the image from James Pex's power point demonstration of a woman's hands holding the gun), you saw the biggest shifting sands just change the hand position. [...] Now she's just a toxicologist. [...] Let's use Dr. Lakshmanan to confuse what Lintemoot meant by wrists. [...] Then, you can't even believe your own eyes. [...] Even after playing the pate on cross of Dr. Lakshmanan, Weinberg still says that it's "here" (the webbing of the thumb) and not "here" (the area where a watch would be worn).

Truc now plays in slow motion the video of Lintemoot demonstrating in a circular motion the area on the backside of Lana's wrists the area she saw spatter. She then plays the judge clarifying for the record the same area. Truc then tells the jury that the defense shifted again and Weinberg states that no expert can rely on something that someone saw. Shifting sands. "But Weinberg told you in his opening statement that you could rely on her testimony. [...] Then, they agree it's there. [...] Then, what do they do, is make blood travel around corners. [...] Dr. Di Maio testified, stating "blood, looping over and hitting the back of the hand. [...] You had Weinberg say in opening statement: Blood doesn't travel around corners. You'll hear that from every scientist. [...] Shifting sands."

Truc then sums up again the physical evidence. "We could stop here. That is overwhelming evidence that he killed her. But we also have a confession. And we also have consciousness of guilt. [...] The law tells you that you can consider evidence that shows consciousness of guilt. [...] What was Spector doing (upstairs while Lana was downstairs? [...] He didn't call 911. [...] He goes up to his room and takes off the jacket and drops it on the floor. He doesn't use the phone that's there in the room. [...] He gets a diaper rag. The same type of rag that was found in this room." Up on the screen at this time are several different images. One is the bloody diaper next to the other diaper that was found. Another image is of a phone in the room and on the file cabinet below the phone is a classic sign of a gun pointing at the observer that says, 'Forget the dog. Beware of the owner.' "What did he do? He smeared blood on her hair and face. Forty minutes. [...] Everything he did shows consciousness of guilt."

Truc asks the jurors, how dies the gun get to that location (photo of the gun by Lana's left calf) after Adriano De Souza saw it in Spector's hand. "You know from Dr. Herold the gun had been wiped. The next image up on the screen is a close up of blood on the hammer of the gun. "You should look at, also, there's blood on the hammer. That's Mr. Spector, wiping the gun down. Did he do a good job? Of course not. [...] When he touched the door knob he put her blood there. When he touched the banister, he put her blood there. [...] When they did the GSR, what didn't they find? Her blood on his hands! He washed his hands! that' shows consciousness of guilt. He can wash his hand of her blood, but he can't wash his hands of her murder."

Truc tells the jury that Weinberg told you what does history teach us. But look at what history? Let's look at the history of Phil Spector. "All women are fucking cunts and deserve a bullet in their heads." Images of the five 1101(b) witnesses are up on the screen. [...] And Lana Clarkson happened to be the last woman who happened to get the bullet. [...] So you can add that to the totality of the physical evidence and then you've got the history."

"Judge Fidler will instruct you on how you can use the testimony of these witnesses." Truc gives an example of an arsonist who is accused of starting seven fires, and that he was in the vicinity of other fires that were set. "Are you going to say that it's a mere mistake? A mere coincidence? [...] You should know that you have a different level of proof with the 1101(b) witnesses. [...] That there is only a preponderance of hte evidence. [...] The evidence is a pattern that Phil Spector is a demonic maniac who assaults a woman with a gun. [...] So let's listen to their voices."

Truc Do reads statement after statement of the 1101(b) witnesses. They are not in any particular order. They are all mixed up. The text of the statement is up on the screen with a photo of the woman who said it. When it comes to Dianne Ogden's testimony, clips of the video tape of her testimony are played for the jurors. Truc tells the jurors that Spector is ignited into rage "bu the loss of control." The victim's statements are shown and read to the jurors about wanting to go home, from every witness. Then Odgen's testimony is played where she described Spector during her assault. "Ht was like he was demonic. It was scary. [...] It scared the hell out of me."

Again and again and again, statements by the prior girlfirends are put up on the screen with their photo. Devra talks about feeling and remembering the cold gun against her temple. More statements, over and over. Truc tells the jury, "Five voices. Same story. [...] In everyone of these incidents, Mr.s Spector demonstrates a concious disregard for human life." More of Dianne Ogden's testimony is played for the jurors. "And then I couldn't even listen any morey. What was I going to do. I was thinking, he's going to kill me." More and more statements are up on the screen. More expressions that Truc explains that show a "conscious disregard for himan life."

Truc then shifts to Lana Clarkson. "The defense is so desperate to ignore the man's history that they've taken Lana Clarkson's life and rewritten it. [...] They took a few words she once said and distorted it out of perportion. [...] They took from this person's life, a few emails, a few traffic tickets and a few hard times and reduced it. They ignored the 12,000 other pages of emails available to them. [...] Who could [...] anyone of us survive that? We'd all end up looking like Lana."

Truc then puts up on the screen letters that Lana wrote in the last month of her life. The first up is a letter she wrote to a friend on December 31st, 2002. Truc reads sections of the letters. "I've got a new job. [...] So glad to put 2002 and these trials and tribulations behind me." Then another letter, this one written on January 2nd, 2003. She's talking about standing on her feet all day at work. "She's busy, she's living her life, she's doing a work-out boot camp, she's got a new job. She's going (forward)." Then another letter is put up. "What you see of this woman's last few days are normalcy. [...] The last thing she ever wrote, was to reserve a place at a birthday party. Her words were, "Can't wait!" Then she goes shopping with her mother and buys eight pairs of shoes. I'm a woman and I'm kind of biased about shoes. And she gives her mother her love and goes off to work. [...] The fact tath will never change is Lana Clarkson died within three hours of meeting Phil Spector. [...] They will never change the fact that he cleaned up the crime scene. [...] They will never change the history of Phil Spector, that there has been the history of Phil spector holding a gun."

"If we could go back, and tell Lana about the other five women. If we culd tell Lana about Phil Spector playing Russian Roulette with the lives of women. So when we go back, and see her getting into the car with him, not knowing the real Phil Spector." Truc mentions the history of Spector drinking that night at the various places he stopped. The history of Spector drinking at his residence with Lana. And Lana wants to go home. "She's got things to do the next morning. She's got to get her car. she's got her purse on her shoulder. She's sitting at the back door. [...] so when you think about these women, they have one voice [...] And that her death was a murder waiting to happen in his world and that her death was foretold."

Truc then is silent as she plays up on the screen more statements by the 1101(b) witnesses with their photos. And then Lana Clarkson's photo, dead in the chair above them."

And that's the end of her closing argument. It was powerful. I saw some of Lana's friends weeping at the end of the presentatio, right at the lunch hour. Fidler tells the jury that the defense thought the prosecution would be up all day. They will continue tomorrow morning with their opening statement. Their presentation is not finished and is not here so the jury is released for the day and ordered back tomorrow morning at 9:30 am. When Fidler tells the jury this I'm dumbfounded. Weinberg had at least a week's notice as to when closing arguments would begin. I heard the prosecution state outside the jury's presence last week that they would only be arguing for an hour total between Jackson and Truc. You have to wonder, was this a ploy by Weinberg to delay, so that he could change his closing argument to address many of the issues that Truc Do brought up? That's my opinion.

After the jury files back into the jury room, it's no surprise that Weinberg has some objections. Weinberg once again requests a mistrial because he states the prosecution went far afield of what the 1101(b) witnesses can be used for. He states the prosecution alleged everything was identical. "What we got was a history of the extreme disreguard and a loss of control. [...] This goes far afield from what you allowed. [...] That's pure character evidence. It's nothing to do with the original basis they were to be presented to the court. [...] This goes so far beyond the parameters the court presented." Weinberg says that again after a few more arguments inbetween. "This goes far beyond...."

Truc responds to Weinberg's allegations. "I believe I stayed completely withing the parameters the court states."

Weinberg argues again, "In no other instance was there ver any evidence that in all those other incidents (Mr. Spector fired a weapon)."

Fidler rules. "In any event, I don't beleive there is any legal grounds for a mistrial."

I hang out in the hallway waiting for the prosecution. When Truc finally emerges, I tell her that I thought her analogy of the "shifting sands" to describe the defense strategy was brilliant. Every time she described a shifting strategy by the defense, there would be that image of the shifting sand dunes of Vietnam on the screen, but this time in black and white, instead of the first, dramatic image in color she showed the jury. And I tell her that now we know her nationality, as to where she's from. I told her that my readers had been asking. It's then that she tells me she was born in Vietnam.

Court resumes tomorrow at 9:30 am

FoxLA has a report by Terri Keith of City News Service.

KNBC has a story up on this morning's closings by Truc Do.

Here is KTLA's coverage and CNN.Crime's story, which has some inaccurate information. They state the prosecution called a suicideologist, but it was the defense who called Dr. Seiden.

49 comments:

donchais said...

Fabulous reporting!

Thanks for being there for us.

Liz said...

"was this a ploy by Weinberg to delay"

But of course - there has been nothing but delay for the past six years - perhaps he wants to delay the start of deliberations by the jury.

After months of ignoring the trial I find it amazing that CNN couldn't get their report vaguely correct.

Linda D seems to have written about 6 lines - it will be interesting to see how many she writes tomorrow!

It is as well we have bloggers to report what really was said

many thanks Sprocket

Christine said...

I can't believe I stayed up this late and read all this tonight. Just by chance my husband had a deadline that had to be finished, so saw the story tonight. Great reporting!!!! Sounds like Truc Do did an unbelievably clear and good job. I will be interested in hearing how Weinberg does indeed shift the sands tomorrow...

Thank you so much, Sprocket for being our eyes and ears.

Anonymous said...

I thought AJ would do the close? Do you think he will go after the defense?

Anonymous said...

Weinberg= Desperate.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much Sprocket! A terrific job of reporting and it made me feel as if I were there. It sounds like Truc did a fabulous job too. I really hope this jury does the right thing and convicts him of murder.

Kathlb

Anonymous said...

Thank you Sprocket for another great review of the day. Truc Do did a beautiful job, can't wait to hear the rest.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Truc Do knocked it out of the park! And how ironic that it is a WOMAN putting the nails in Spector’s coffin, he must hate that. Ha.

Sprocket, again, many thanks for your riveting and masterful account of this trial.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I’ve seen too many horror flicks but after seeing Spector in court yesterday, I could’ve sworn a serpent was trying to crawl out of his mouth.

GuiltyIndeed said...

Great job by Truc and great reporting by you.

Thanks a million times over.

Can't wait for A GUILTY verdict.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for being there for us. You know the journals/new media are hurting when they can only cover the closing and (presumably)the verdict.
I wonder if PH will really have a cyanide pill at the ready, as discussed by at least one media source last time.
Wes J.

Anonymous said...

I definitely agree that he will revise his closing to address Truc Do's. But, I also think that he wanted there to be more time between their statements so that it is not quite as fresh in the jurors minds.

Fortunately, the way it is set up allows for that; the prosecution gets to go last. You watch, Weinburg will make sure to finish his closing early in the day so that his is still fresh when the prosecution does their rebuttal closing. Hopefully, they will employ the same tactic and not start theirs until the next day.

Thank you, Sprockett. I could visualize everything that was happening. Great job!!

Anonymous said...

Bless you Betsy for your dedication.

The memory of Lana deserves the light of day and you have been that shining ray.

M-2 in two days.

bearwds

ritanita said...

Sprocket, Thank you for the vivid picture of Ms. Do's closing. I appreciate the time it took and the amount of work involved in transcribing all your notes.

I will be interested in hearing about Weinberg's presentation today (and possibly tomorrow?).

He is certainly sandwiched between two eloquent, organized speakers who don't have to rely on constantly flipping through their notes the way some attorneys do.

Have a good day in court.

Barry said...

Sprocket,

I was on pins and needles waiting for your report! I was in New York for the weekend and kept checking my iphone, not just for your reports, but also for the very interesting comments, questions and answers.

Truc Do did a great job! Did she grow up in the USA or Vietnam? I ask because of the comment made by the Hispanic juror from the first trial. He convincingly pointed out that even if English was not your first language, it does not affect your ability to hear and remember statements made in English. I wondered if Ms. Do had experienced that herself, or certainly through her family.

Sprocket, I'd also like your observations about how well Ms. Do connected with the jury and how they seemed to be responding.

Finally, as our media shifts from traditional sources to internet sources, I hope that the Courts will consider accrediting bloggers. It makes no sense (to me) to allow more rights to a CNN reporter who shows up for the first time than to an honest, hard working blogger who has attended every day. You are a terrific journalist!

Anonymous said...

Great job Sprocket; many thanks.
From Ms Talbert's reaction, it sounds like the Spector camp reads your blog. Surprised they have not offered you a bribe to come over to their side.
Looking forward to your next report.
Bill

Tubilidentata said...

Sprocket . . . what can I say . . . if I couldn't be there (and Austin is a wee bit far away) you are the next best thing right down to your famous fashion comments. DW bailing on his closing until today is typical of how he's approached the whole thing. I had woindered if his objections would throw off Ms. Do in her closing but it appears that she did not miss a beat and the overhead operator was able to pause the presentation during DW's incessant whining. Many thanks, Chris

Anonymous said...

Without you I couldn´t have followed the trial frim europe. You are doing a great job. Thank you for that!
Luckyluka

Djohnr14@yahoo.com said...

My friend Betty and I are unable to "Thank You" enough for the honest and most credible reporting of the Spector trial! Because of you and your reporters, we have been allowed to follow this pursuit of justice for Lana Clarkson.Court tv had said they would be there for the re-trial,but renigged, must to the dissapointment to its followers here in Florida. God Bless ya'll for bringing us the truth.

Anonymous said...

After reading Sprocket's report, I too was very impressed with TDs close. But after watching the video clip from the KABC coverage, I'm not as impressed.

For me TD seemed nervous and tentative in the clip shown. The words she was saying were dead on but the way she was saying it left something to be desired.

Don't get me wrong, it still should be more than enough to get PS into jail but its far short of how AJ speaks and as sorry as I am to say it, I think it'll be far short of how DW will speak.

I hope the brief clip I saw was not representative of her overall presentation. Also, we couldn't see the AV presentation and this probably helped a lot.

Anonymous said...

I wish we could have seen more of Miss Do's closing. The little clip that KABC showed was not impressive to me. I would have liked to have seen AJ instead. Sprocket your coverage is first rate. You make this old Georgia girl feel like I'm right there. You deserve an award. I noticed in the clip Phil was really shaking. I don't think he will last long in the big house. Too bad, he should have been there long ago. Keep us posted on todays closings.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant coverage, Sprocket! I am visualizing every element that you describe! I totally agree with the comment that a blogger like you who has been there for the entire trial should have more "authority" than a credentialed reporter who is there for the "glamor shot" at the end of the trial.

SeniorMoments

Anonymous said...

Thank you Sprocket so very much. I watched the first trial but few months ago I moved with my family to Europe and your blog is my only way how to find out what's going on. Thank you thank you for your awesome job and such dedication!!

Also I'm wondering if I missed it but has anyone asked how would've Lana got the gun? Did Spector just say "hey and if ya feel like killiing yourself over there is one of my guns..."? I just can't imagine how she would look for a gun to take her own life... if nothing else he had to take the gun or show her where it is... and I don't know about you but do you show people your guns when they come visit? I don't think so unless they are your hunting buddies.

Anyways thank you so much Sprocket!

Anonymous said...

thanks sproket
wonder if phill will do little dance in cuffs when he is led away
paul

Anonymous said...

I have to agree that the clip that was shown was not that impressive. However, after reading the content of the closing, I can envision Ms. Do getting into a groove and presenting a coherent, believable argument. It will be hard for me to read and try to comprehend what tap-dancing the defense will present without seeing the "shifting sands". I am impressed with that word picture. It is extremely effective. So, if DW is stalling and I think he is, whatever he decides to answer in Ms. Do's closing, he will have to very carefully craft his words to not shift the dunes.
Thank so much Sprocket. Its almost done, I'm really going to miss you. I presume you will be continuing to blog, more trials?
Tess

Anonymous said...

Now, those comments about Truc Do are interesting--- especially the ones that say she is nervous and doesn't come across well. I Don't Agree!!!!!! Have never seen her before but she comes across to me as a highly intelligent woman with an organized mind. I think she's really very impressive, neither too aggressive or too shrinking. May the critics dress up and get up in front of an audience not not be perceived either as a Bimbo, sex object, or hardened harridan. Would you prefer, Linda Kenny-Baden? Or Marcia Clark? Leslie Abramson? No, I think I would prefer Truc Do as a model of what it is to be a professional, strong AND a woman.

Anonymous said...

I don't see how delivering something with too much confidence and passion are seen as having anything to do with feminity.

AJ speaks with both of these traits and based on the brief clip, she was lacking in both of these traits. I'm sure AJ would never state that being a man helps or hurts his ability to deliver closings convincingly to a jury. I'm sure Marcia Clark wouldn't say being a woman was a factor in her speaking ability either. Poise is something either sex can excel at.

Anonymous said...

The bottom line is the EVIDENCE. And the presentation of facts is important. The most important thing is truth, trustworthiness, lack of deception on the part of an attorney. The rest, male, female, etc etc. is irrelevant in the long run.

Anonymous said...

If using the five prior incidents (involving guns and women) to argue that Phil Spector is a "demonic maniac"--a "murder waiting to happen"--does not explicitly invite the jury to draw inferences about Spector's "character" or propensity to act in a certain way on the morning of Lana Clarkson's death it is hard to imagine what would be.

Referring to someone as a “demonic” or a “maniac” (in this case both) is only a reference to character.

Calling Spector a “murder waiting to happen” means that he has a propensity to murder.

Ms. Do has handed Phil Spector a free “get-out-of-jail-card.” This could prove to be a very expensive mistake if the jury convicts of anything, because Los Angeles County (read, the taxpayer) will then have to pay for yet another retrial.

The Court exacerbated the prejudicial impact of these improper character and propensity arguments by overruling defense counsel’s objections to same in front of the jury—thereby sending the message that the argument was proper, and by not contemporaneously instructing the jury to disregard Ms. Do’s erroneous argument.

katfish said...

Sprocket,
Thank you once again for taking us into the courtroom with you, even though we didn't have our "regular" seats for the state's closing, I still felt as if I looked off to the side I would see Mr. Weinberg playing with his lip...stategizing the things he was going to need to change for his closing and can picture Rachelle with her eyes closed and I'm imagining her counting the days until she has the castle to herself.(Not because you reported this today but from your MANY reports throughout this trial, it's my visual as I seat myself next to you.LOL)

Thank you for the links to the clip of Truc Do (I find her beautiful and articulate)and the articles. Although I must say every article I have seen from the accredited press in this case I have thought, "Oh I already knew that, Sprocket reported that yesterday." I will say it again, thank you for your great coverage. One thing I haven't had to imagine was the feel of those hard seats for hours on end, because you endured that for us!

I do want to comment on Linda from San Diego and Sherry, they are women I admire as well...not only for being willing to set their lives aside to travel to court, but I'm pretty sure they were good moral support when some of the times got tough during this trial. Kudos ladies...wish I could have been there with you!
Sorry this comment is so long.
Just one more thing,I am not worried about Weinberg's close, regardless of how articulate he may be....he is followed by Alan Jackson. ;~)

Anonymous said...

sprockett, I won't be presumptuous enough to say "God Bless You". He already has..long before and long after this trial. I would like to thank you.

If I may, I have followed this trial from the beginning, 2 years ago. I also have avidly read your coverage. I have also read from some posters/bloggers that they feel you are biased. HELLO? Are we not all humans? Are we not all allowed opinions/feelings? Of course the answer is: ABSOLUTELY.

What I love about your blog is that you bring a very human touch to your writings. But when the gavel drops, your reporting is spot on - no sides, no bias - just the facts, ma'am.

I consider myself fortunate to have been directed to this site. And I DO tell anyone who will listen about it.

I'm out of work now, so I dare not go on to your sewing site. But soon..soon.

shari said...

Sprockie, I am blown away by your commentary. Everyone else has said it better, but THANKS so much for the insight and great reporting. I am glad that the system is set up for the prosecution to finalize the process. I hope AJ is th one to do this. GREAT WORK GIRLFRIEND!!!!

Logan said...

Did i understand right from the news this morning that the jury has the case? How long does everyone think it will be out? and will you update as if they come back with a question?

Anonymous said...

Ms. Truc Do appeared nervous. It may have been as a result of a larger media presence than prior days. We onlt saw a minute or 2.

Look......everyone is comparing her to AJ or assuming that she must be just like AJ. THAT is unrealistic, impossible and not fair to her. AJ is the best of the best and she has a great teacher. Lets wait for the verdict before we are so quick to judge Ms. Do

Anonymous said...

The guy from the LA Weekly decribes Do as:

"tentative and nervous."

Let's hope Jackson ends on a really good note tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Steven Mikulan of the LA Weekly also though that Ms. Do was nervous for the hour or so that Mikulan watched her closing:

"Yesterday I wasn't feeling the star power of Deputy District Attorney Truc Do, after watching the first hour or so of her closing argument....And yet Do appeared tentative - almost nervous - as she began her peroration to the jury."

"Weinberg, nevertheless, has been a somewhat more effective presenter than Truc Do....Debonair, straightforward and seemingly candid, Weinberg is at ease moving around the podium instead of letting himself become anchored to it..."

But, Mikulan concluded, just wait for the real star of the prosecutgion team tomarrow:

"Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson will finish the trial Wednesday with a rebuttal argument. Court audiences have come to relish the Texan Jackson's drawling summations - storytelling that falls somewhere between Horton Foote and Jim Thompson. It will be interesting to see to which summit Jackson takes us. Despite his folksy demeanor, I doubt that it's going to be on top of Old Smokey."

Anonymous said...

What are the odds on Sprocket being too busy with house work tonight to post her notes on Weinberg's closing argument?

Anonymous said...

I don't feel that anyone is judging Ms. Do. It was a comment on a very brief clip. Reading the transcript speaks volumes. I think that between the facts of the case and the word pictures painted by Ms. Do, justice will prevail this time.
I am thankful that I am not Mr. Weinberg tonight. How many ways can you spin the web....the sands shift again. Boy I would hate to follow that.

Anonymous said...

Dear 4:57:

Weinberg followed that with this:

"I was born in Haifa," Weinberg had said, "at the foot of Mount Carmel. We have rock-solid mountains, they don't shift."

Anonymous said...

"Debonair, straightforward and seemingly candid, Weinberg is at ease moving around the podium instead of letting himself become anchored to it..."

--LA Weekly 3-24-2009

Anonymous said...

I just saw an 8 minute segment about the trial on the Jane Velez-Mitchell show on HLN. I saw Truc Do for the first time. I thought she did very well. The argument she made was what counts. I have a feeling that Alan Jackson's rebuttal will the best of his career.

David From TN

Sprocket said...

"What are the odds on Sprocket being too busy with house work tonight to post her notes on Weinberg's closing argument?"

I normally don't approve such disrespectful posts such as this one, but it gave me such a belly laugh (I just had to share that laughter with my readers); and because it totally ignores the time, energy and personal sacrifice I've made to cover a trial that the mainstream media has completely ignored.

I took over 80 pages of notes on Weinberg's closing summation today. So much for the continual accusation that I don't spend equal time on the "defense" side of the case.

Barry said...

While we wait for the straight dope from the only reporter who understands all angles of the case - our beloved Sprocket - here is Harriet Ryan's take on Weinberg:

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2009/03/phil-spectors-a.html

Anonymous said...

Sprocket, as I told you New Year's Eve when I had to honor of meeting you at an on-line/court party: you are my Heroine. And you continue to be.
Many smiles back at you :-)
flere

Anonymous said...

Can't wait for AJ to finish up with closing arguments. He can hammer home what he needs to.

PS I love u Sprocket, if it wasn't for I wouldn't a damn thing that has been going on in the trial

Anonymous said...

From the brief segment of Truc's closing that I saw on the ABC website, I thought she did fine. I think some of us are getting a little carried away with hero worship of Alan Jackson. The jury will make their decision based on facts, not personality. Even thought I saw only a small portion of her closing, I think Truc Do probably did a very good job. It sure sounded like it from Sprocket's coverage.

Ray

Liz said...

Sprocket - you're amazing - thank you so much for being there

Linda Deutsch seemed to take alot more notes today as well - if the size of her post compared to that of yesterday is a reflection of this.

Anonymous said...

While Truc Do and Alan Jackson are both competent lawyers, it is Ms. Do whom gently leads Mr. Jackson back to his job when he starts going off on tangents.

It is Ms. Do who has gently corrected him when he has made factual errors - particularly during the cross examination of Elizabeth Loftus.

Ms. Do is brilliant, and although LA often expects 'charisma' in its trial attorneys - competence is what is expected in most other jurisdictions > which is why LA jurisprudence has become a joke to the rest of the nation.

I personally would take Ms. Do over any of the other attorneys involved in this case as my advocate in a court of law.

Anonymous said...

Sprocket, I can't begin to imagine how you can commute to the court, take notes, travel, give up your own precious time to do this, then come home and write them up, usually on the same day. Anyone who makes some remark about your not getting them done just doesn't understand what you've accomplished day after day throughout this grueling trial. You are much appreciated.