Friday, May 13, 2011
Gold coins and bars
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May 10th, 2011
I’m in 109 almost late. There’s a new family member with Dawn and Scott. I find out a few days later this is another sister of Pamela’s, Gretta (sp?). Terri Keith is here from City News. There are several other suited gentlemen with briefcases and there is another case being heard. Lori, Judge Kennedy’s regular clerk is back.
I don’t see the two DATELINE ladies Michelle or Jessica. Jackson, Harmon, Werksman chat in the well by the jury box. I’ve noticed from seeing Mr. Jackson in the Spector trials (and the Lily Burk preliminary hearing) that it’s a place he likes to stand in the well while waiting for court to resume.
There is a new court reporter at the reporter’s desk. It’s not the two ladies from last week. I try to guess how tall Mr. Harmon is and I’m guessing he’s over 6 feet, possibly 6'2". Meister comes out of the jury room restroom and joins the counsel group in the well to chat.
If I’m reading my notes right, the people are showing the defense a big binder of ATT phone records for Moya, Fayed and Mary Mercedes.
I’m guessing we could be waiting for the defendant or for another pretrial in another case. Jackson is wearing a very dark (black?) faint stripe suit. Harmon is in a dark gray suit, no stripe. Werksman is in a nice gray suit with a faint strip. Meister is in a black suit.
Jackson is showing documents to some in the gallery and I’m guessing it’s his next witness.
The clerk Lori (sp?) says to the court reporter first up, “Lynn (sp?), are you ready?”
9:10 am. Judge Kennedy takes the bench She has a nice tweed? check pattern jacket on under her robes. It’s another case. The defendant is here for a status update on his probation and scheduled payments. Informs the individual he needs to make sure the probation department has an updated number to reach him. Orders back in six months for update.
Another pretrial case that his continued to another date.
Alberta, (Althea?) Judge Perry’s clerk is here for a moment.
Defense attorney Pat Harris is here. He greets Werksman. His client is a nicely dressed woman. There’s a report entered to the court from a doctor, regarding the woman’s treatment. The prosecutor in this case, a woman also was chatting it up in the elevator with Steve Meister when I came to court.
The judge rules the individual’s probation is continued and another progress report in 180 days.
Judge Kennedy tells the room there is an issue with the building. They don’t have water. She’s been told NOT to release the jurors, that they’re working on the problem.
Judge Kennedy informs counsel that a juror called into the court stating a few jurors were discussing the case n Friday after the testimony of (Rivera). The juror did not leave their seat number The juror said that two alternates and one juror were discussing it.
JK: Not sure all jurors are here yet.
Shawn the bailiff tells the court the last juror is almost here. Juror #8 is missing, but they are “close” to being here. The bailiff called him. Lori now says that all of the jurors are out there. (But she ends up being wrong.) In the hallway, I believe the bailiff informally asked the group in the hall if anyone called and no one admitted to making the phone call.
JK: So maybe it was #8 who called.
Kennedy leaves the bench. Bailiff is back on the phone, I believe, calling the juror again. The woman next to me gives her card (to the family?) and moves to the back row.
9:30 am Judge Kennedy is back on the bench. Fayed is brought in. Shawn is out talking to the jurors. No juror is claiming that they made this call.
So now counsel and the court try to decide what to do.
JK: It could be true. It was a male voice. It could be someone else who made the phone call. I really don’t know. I don’t even know who to ask.
Jackson suggests the court do the following: Make a simple inquiry on the record and simply admonish the jurors. Or we could be going down a rabbit hole.
Werksman submits tat we ask each juror individually. I think it’s important if we ferret out any corruption in the jury.
JK: That’s why Shawn did it the way he did. (snip) I’ll (tend to?) be it more conservative.
On another note, Kennedy states she doesn’t see how they can continue to operate without running water. We can’t flush toilets. I don’t make excuses but I don’t see how they can keep the building open with no running water.
(This is basically a foreboding as what is to come.)
The jurors are brought in and Judge Kennedy speaks to them, asking them as a group if anyone left a voice message. All the jurors say no. Judge Kennedy reminds them of the admonition of not talking about the case until the matter is finally submitted to the jury.
Jackson calls his next witness, Special Agent Eidson
#14 STEVEN EIDSON
Jackson takes a moment to confer with Werksman.
Eidson is a special agent wit the FBI assigned to Ventura Co. He’s been wit the FBI for 13 years. His special training in money accounts is introduced. Prior to joining the FBI he was a certified public accountant.
AJ: When the FBI engages in an investigation, do they have a valuable assets procedure?
SE: When we take possession, whether it be cash, cashiers checks, postage, any item of value, jewelry, we are required to have to agents present at all times to seize the items into evidence and package the items in a clear plastic, heat sealed packaging.
Eidson is also required to establish the value on that sealed package. These seized items are held in a separate facility in a vault in Los Angeles.
Jackson puts up photos of a neighborhood house, the Baja Vista way home where Pamela Fayed lived. He then puts up the photo of the Happy Camp Ranch and Eidson verifies that this is a large piece of property in Ventura County. Next up, is a photo of a safe that was found on the Happy Camp Ranch property, specifically in the ranch-hand/guest house where Jose Moya lived.
Eidson verifies that the house is on the main driveway that one takes up to the larger, main residence. Photos are put up of the business location of Goldfinger. Eidson states he did not go into the smaller ranch property (guest house), but he went to all the other property locations.
Eidson testifies he was allowed to participate in the search warrant in the Los Angeles County investigation.
AJ: Did you attempt to aggregate the value of all the precious metals found (in all of the locations)?
SE: Yes, I was.
Jackson asks if he came up with an aggregate value of all that he found.
SE: I wouldn’t say all. I don’t know if I saw every single item (found). (snip) I did try to assign a value and aggregate the value of those items I did (audit?).
AJ: Just (so we’re clear) I’m not trying to give an exact value on that date but to see that it reflects what is stated in the financial statement.
SE: Numismatic will relate to the coin.
Jackson gives the example of a Buffalo Nickel. A Buffalo Nickel has a face value of five cents. However, if that coin was found in President Lincoln’s pocket, then its numismatic value would be way more than it’s face value.
Eidson did not assign any numismatic value (to the gold) he strictly accounted a bullion value.
SE: The FBI only uses face value.
The face value of the coin(s) and not the weight of the gold coins.
Eidson brought examples of the precious metals seized from various safes at Fayed’s company and on the Happy Camp Ranch property.
AJ: Agent Jensen, could you join us please?
Jackson lays down a white sheet of butcher block type paper down on the dark brown top of the prosecution’s table.
The other FBI agent leaves the gallery and brings with him some cardboard boxes on a rolling cart. Fayed doesn’t look at the jury or the box. Eidson explains what’s happening for the court record. Agent Jensen is removing items from the smaller blue boxes and placing them on the white paper.
Jackson puts up a photo we’ve seen before, one of the opened safes and all the contents laid out in neat rows.
SE: That is the items of bullion and coin seized at the ranch property by LAPD. (snip) It was placed in FBI custody.
Some of the items pictured there are presented today. Jackson states he asked Agent Eidson to bring in a sample of what was found in Mr. Fayed’s house.
SE: These gold coins are canadian gold coins. (snip) The face value is 5.00 (CANADIAN) each. (snip) They are one-tenth of an ounce each. The value would be placed at 5.00 Canadian times the rate of exchange at seizure.
Jackson recently asked him to place a value on the precious metals. He calculated the valuation of the metals as to what they were worth when they were seized in 2008.
Another coin is presented. It’s Australian gold bullion coin, one ounce. One ounce of gold at the time traded for $1,400. to $1,500.
Another coin is presented, this one of pure gold. It’s a Krugerrand, from South Africa. It doesn’t have a face value amount stamped on it. Jackson asks why the coin looks “more brassy” than the other coins.
SE: It weighs more than an ounce (other metals) but contains one ounce of gold.
Another coin is presented; it’s a full one ounce Canadian coin. The same image on this coin is on the one-tenth of an ounce Canadian coin. The face value of the one ounce coin is 50.00 (CANADIAN) but the actual value is close to $1,500.00.
More evidence is brought out. A white bucket, containing many gold bars shrink-wrapped in clear plastic is poured out on the table. These gold bars are 1 kilo bars that weigh 2.2 pounds.
Jackson asks the court if the jurors can take a feel of the weight of that gold bar. Judge Kennedy agrees and Jackson passes a gold bar to the jury box and it’s passed around so that each juror gets to feel in their hand, the weight of that gold bar. Jackson also presents another gold bar. It’s an “ingot of gold in a special holder. The bag that was inside the white bucket and poured out on the white paper contained 31 gold kilo bars.
The gold coins are stored in a “sleeve” of many coins and those sleeves are inside a box. There are multiple boxes.
SE: That’s the majority of bars found in the residence.
Jackson presents into evidence more photos of evidence just presented. The jury has returned the gold bar. Once the bar is handed back to the agent either Jackson or Judge Kennedy says, “And the agent is now smiling again.” Several in the courtroom laugh at the comment.
Another photo, People’s 121 is presented, and it’s of large silver bars.
SE: Each bar weighs 70 pounds.
There are seven or eight bars in the photo.
AJ: Is that why you didn’t bring any of those?
Small laughter in the courtroom.
More photos of different coins, photos of different bars, and a photo of all the kilo bars contained in the white bucket brought into court.
Alan Jackson then gets the agent to tell the court what the value of the kilo bar was that the jury got to hold.
AJ: On the table, what is the approximate total (numismatic) value?
SE: On the table probably 1.7 to 1.8 million dollars.
AJ: Just a couple of feet away.
A bit of laughter in the courtroom from Jackson’s comment.
People introduce a spreadsheet, 122 of all the different precious metals found and their individual value. I note at this time that Fayed has turned around and is looking over towards the prosecution side of the long table. Is Fayed looking at the jury or is he looking at the gold? I believe he’s looking at the gold.
Before the agent starts to pack everything back up, Jackson passes a gold bar to Judge Kennedy.
AJ: Your honor, you only get so many chances to hold (one of these).
Judge Kennedy smiles and holds the bar for a short moment to feel the weight.
Then Jackson gets into a discussion with the agent about the value of the precious metals. The US gold coins are valued at face value. The Krugerrand’s have no face value. I think the agent states something about an exchange rate. He states that face value is just the way they value seized property. Then Jackson asks about the spread sheet. It’s an approximate valuation of the bullion seized and valued at the time of seizure. These documents were actually found at Goldfinger, representing bullion in Goldfinger’s and Fayed’s possession at one of three locations.
The grand total value in 2008 at the time it was seized was 6.3 million dollars.
The people have nothing further.
Jackson asks if the gold can be left out for cross. Werksman has no questions.
JK: I guess you’ll have to make sure you don’t leave anything behind.
Fayed whispers with Werksman. The agents pack up the gold. The jury watches the money being packed up. The agents are efficient and the quickly leave the courtroom. Jackson then rolls up the white butcher paper into a tube.
#14 MIGUEL SANCHEZ
Harmon presents the witness. Sanchez worked at the Happy Camp Ranch. He verifies that he worked for the defendant, and identifies him.
He states he was hired in December, 2007 by Pam. But that can’t be correct since Pam and Fayed were already in their bitter divorce by then.
EH: Who hired you?
Sanchez identifies a photo of Pam. He explains how he came to be hired. It was through another handy person he knew, Amber.
EH: What did Pam ask you to do on the ranch?
MS: Finish the barn being built.
Photos of the barn are up on the overhead screen. Sanchez says there was a lot to do on the property. There were horses. He was hired to finish the interior walls of the barn. They were bare and he lined them with knotty pine.
EH: Did you remodel a guest home?
MS: Yes, at the lower end of the property.
Sanchez identifies a photo of the house.
EH: Did someone live in the home?
MS: Joey (Jose) and a guy named “Mollie” (sp?).
Sanchez identifies a photo of Moya. He met Moya the same time he started working for Pam.
EH: What work did Joey do?
I believe the witness states something to the effect that Moya was in charge of the ranch property or it’s upkeep.
EH: When you first got there, (he) was just doing that? (snip) Did you see his responsibilities grow and help James Fayed?
MS: Once I got there he was doing ranch work (then office work).
EH: Did you live there?
MS: I lived in Oxnard.
Eventually he was hired to do more things around the property. He was hired to paint the interior of the lower house, then hired by Fayed to maintain roads and wells on the property. He eventually took over the duties of Moya at the ranch, and Moya helped Fayed.
Photos of the ranch are introduced; the upper main house and the lower guest house.
People’s 34, a photo of the first gate to the property. This is an easement gate.
EH: That gate had to be locked at all times due to the adjacent property (owner)?
MS: Yes. The first gate to enter, kept locked at all times.
This gate is two to three hundred feet from the main road.
EH: Is there another gate just for Mr. Fayed’s property?
MS: Yes, about 1.5 miles
Usually during the day, he would open the gate (for people coming and going) and at night Joey (Jose Moya) would open the gate. He was notified to open the gate by cell phone.
So, anytime during the day, (he) might get a call from someone to open the gate. He drove a company truck, a Chevy Silverado extended cab. It has 2 doors with extended cab.
EH: Mr. Moya drove a similar truck?
MS: (It was) pewter, GMC Sierra four-wheel drive.
EH: Drove it every day?
MS: He also drove a blue truck that I used to drive on the property.
Harmon asks about July 28th.
EH: Somehow, you got notified?
MS: Actually, I saw it on the news.
He had left work early that day to go to the doctor. He cannot recall who else was on the ranch when he left. He heard something on the news at a boisterous restaurant in Oxnard, “BJ’s.” He was with a friend, Debbie Chavez (sp?).
MS: At first, I saw something on the screen. I saw her face. Then saw LAPD. It was a big restaurant, big TV but I can’t hear. (snip) Then I got a phone call.
EH: Later (that night) you got a call from Mary Mercedes, James Fayed’s sister?
She asked him if he could open the gates. It was late, around 11 pm. He didn’t want to go back to the property from home. Night duties at the ranch were Moya’s responsibility.
In the phone call, he was given instructions by mary. He was supposed to wait for lawyers at the gate.
EH: How long did you wait?
MS: One hour.
He waited in the truck. Now it was close to midnight. Around that time, the people that he was waiting for arrived. He opened the second gate then led the other vehicle up to the house.
EH: Was James Fayed there?
MS: I believe so.
EH: Was Mary Mercedes there?
MS: I think so.
He drove to the main house, up to the stairs area. He was in that vicinity. He walked them up to the stairs and let them in. He wasn’t told anything. He just waited in his truck then went back to the driveway, back to the bottom of the driveway. He waited until about four hours.
EH: Did you go to the white house and try to find Jose Moya?
He tried to call Moya on the phone first, and then went to the door to knock and call out his name. He didn’t speak to him. When he called, all he got was Moya’s message on his cell phone several times. He believes Moya’s truck was there (at the time).
EH: Did you have any suspicions...
EH: Did you ask...
EH: Did anyone tell you....
EH: Did you talk to Mr. Fayed? (snip) Did he explain to you what was going on?
EH: Where did you see the truck Mr. Moya drove?
MS: I think I seen it parked there, in front of (the white house).
Harmon now puts up a photo of the red SUV.
EH: Is that a photo of the SUV you saw at the ranch in 2007-2008?
MS: (Yes.) It was a rental, a company rental.
EH: Did Rob Tokarcik (drive the vehicle)? (snip) Did you drive that car on the ranch?
The car was for Rob, It was for Mary’s son.
EH: Did you see Jose Moya drive this car in the weeks before (the murder)?
MS: We all drove it. Jose. I drove it. I think Mary drove it.
EH: Did you see Jose in the front seat of the car on the day after the murder?
MS: I believe I was in the blue Silverado. Joey was in the red car near the small house. Somewhere, there is a road to the left of the house.
Jose asked him if he could help him return the rental car. One-half-hour went by and then we went off to return the rental car. Joey was in the red car. He swapped his truck with his dad’s van. They went to a place on Los Angeles Ave. in Moorpark. It took about 15 minutes to get there from the ranch. He doesn’t recall who was in front of who.
EH: Was anyone with you driving the van?
New evidence photo, people’s #124.
EH: Is that the car wash across the street from where you were filling up your car with gas?
He said he was going to the car wash. He agreed that he was going to the car wash.
They dropped off the car. It wasn’t immediately ready so they went to pick up mail for several locations. Then they went back to pick up the car at the car wash.
MS: It was at least a couple of hours.
EH: During those couple of hours, did you talk to him? (snip) During the time, the couple of hours you were with Mr. Moya, did the subject of Pam’s murder ever come up?
MS: Just, ‘that’s crazy,’ just, crazy what..... (snip) Just briefly.
EH: You didn’t question him Mr. Moya to find out what he knew?
MS: No. (snip) To me, I did care about (the) woman, but to me, it wasn’t my business, so I didn’t (ask about it).
EH: What was the condition of the red SUV (when picked it up from car wash)?
MS: It was clean.
EH: Was it detailed?
MS: I couldn’t say. It was clean.
Then they went to AVIS. Joey returned the SUV to AVIS. They returned the vehicle in the evening. The business had just closed and there was no one to give the keys to. Joey dropped the keys off ( in the drop box?). Afterwards, they went to eat. We waited for his father to get home so they could swap vehicles.
MS: Dad showed up with the blue truck. Joey took the truck back to the ranch.
EH: During that time, over dinner, did the subject of the murder come up?
Direct is finished and cross begins.
Werksman starts off trying to clear up the discrepancy of when he started working at the ranch. At the time he started working at the ranch, no one was living there regularly. Questions about whether or not Mary was living there. It was several months, six months, that he was working there before Marry moved in.
Mr. Fayed and Mary lived at the ranch. Rob also lived at the ranch.
MW: How old was Rob?
MS: At time, nineteen, twenty.
Werksman asks if he ever went to the Goldfinger offices.
MS: Just once, just as a passenger. I never went inside.
Mary had him run errands, move heavy things, go grocery shopping.
MW: Do you remember when this vehicle was rented?
MS: Dates and times? No. (snip) No, but it was when Rob was there.
Werksman asks if Rob lived there.
MS: It was obvious he was sleeping there. It was more than two weeks.
He would arrive at work around 9 am and leave at 5 pm.
MW: Was there something that always had to be done?
MS: Yes. All the time.
The witness is vague as to when Pamela Fayed was killed.
MW: Did you take Mary to Costco once in the red SUV?
MW: Rob did start driving another vehicle?
Werksman asks about what happened to the red SUV.
MS: It sat around for a while at the top house.
MW: Do you remember opening the fence that day? (snip) Was a limo driver waiting for Jim to pick him up?
MS: Saw Mr. Fayed get into limo to take him someplace, around 10 or 11 am.
MW: Did you see Mr. Fayed again anytime that day or night?
MW: You got a late cell phone call from Mary?
MW: Did Mary tell you she couldn’t find Joey?
MS: I don’t know if he wouldn’t answer phone or if she couldn’t get a hold of him.
Werksman asks more questions about what he did to try to find Joey at the small house. Several questions about how he knew Joey lived and slept there.
MW: To your knowledge, how did you know that Joey slept there?
MS: He would be asleep there when I arrived in the morning.
That’s it for cross and there is no redirect.
Werksman asks to have him remain on call, but the witness asks if he can go home. He works out of state. Judge Kennedy asks for a sidebar. After the sidebar, Mr. Sanchez is excused.
It’s 10:50 am, and everyone is still at the sidebar. Jackson and Harmon whisper.
It’s announced that the building is closing. There’s no water in the building. If the building is open tomorrow, back at 9:15 am.
Judge Kennedy tells her jury, “As far as the court is concerned, it’s a (certified?) day for jury service. You might have shopping to go to, beaches to see. The jury laughs. Two witnesses are ordered back. A police officer and Ed Dixon from AT&T.
While I wait around in the hallway to ask Jackson a question, I see one of the jurors go back into the courtroom and get a notepad from the bailiff. He goes out into the hallway and sits on a bench and writes a note. When he’s finished, I believe he goes back in and gives the note to the bailiff.
The following day the court building was still closed. Court resumed on Wednesday, May 11th.