Sunday, August 12, 2007

Michael Bay & Lunch at the Chateau Marmont

Monday, August 6th, 2007

The first time I went to the Chateau Marmont ~to drop off some printed materials for Mr. Dunne~ my husband and I were driving around shopping and running errands, and at first we didn't realize that the short driveway was actually how you enter. It looks like it's just the entrance to the parking garage. We drove past it up to the top of the hill and had to turn around when we realized our error.

This time, I knew right were to go. I had offered weeks ago to show Dominick how to find the various blogs on the Internet that were covering the trial as well as the Court TV message boards, but this was the first day that worked out for both of us. Court was not in session until the afternoon since Judge Fidler and counsel were to visit the Castle to see if the scene of Lana Clarkson's death had changed enough to prevent the jurors from seeing it.

The Chateau Marmont is often identified as "Hollywood's Castle." It sits on the north side of Sunset Blvd., a little over a short block west of Crescent Heights Drive. The old hotel is built into the Hollywood hillside and has six floors as well as various bungalows and suites with patios. Once you enter the glass double doors beside the parking garage, you need to take the stairs or one of the two tiny elevators to what is considered the first floor to reach the lobby. Walking into the Chateau Marmont is like taking a trip back in time into old Hollywood. There's so much rich history here, and the Spanish influences are striking. Naturally lighted spaces contrast against the dark wood antiques and upholstered fabrics via the highly arched windows and walkways, and the overall feel is that you have stepped back into a different era. I have always been drawn to old wood antiques of virtually every style, and have collected a few myself since I was eighteen. There are other writers who have described the place much better than I ever could, so I encourage you to click on the link to read about the place and see some images of Chateau Marmont for yourself.

After I showed Dominick how to get to the various blogs and message boards, I signed onto Court TV and made a post with a quote from him. This caused quite a flurry of postings on the Spector Forum daily thread, mostly from posters sending hellos and kind words to Dominick. I know that later that evening, he did read the greetings. Afterwards, Dominick treated me to lunch on the patio where we both chose the same salad, except I ordered mine without the crutons and the dressing. Sitting on the patio is like being in a small intimate garden, where you can look up and see the balconies of the upper suites. Dominick was kind enough to again autograph the latest issue of Vanity Fair for my sister, Jane. I know she will be thrilled when she gets the August and September issues.

Driving back to court, I get hung up in some traffic and Dominick gets there before me. At first I hear rumors that the reason there is no court on Tuesday is because Spector has a doctor's appointment. (Later, we learn that Judge Fidler had two doctor's appointments that day.) Inside the courtroom and in my regular seat I see that Lisa Sweetingham has finally made it to the trial. She had told me months ago that she was going to stop by. I met Lisa during the Blake trial, when she was the Court TV corespondent and blogger covering the trial. A tiny, pixie of a woman, she is a delightful person to spend time with, and I really enjoyed hanging out with her at the Van Nuys courthouse. Lisa sat all the way at the end of the second bench row so she could turn around and get caught up with Beth Karas.

Sitting in the front row is the family attorney Rod Lindblum's cute young girlfriend, as well as several other friends to support Donna Clarkson and Fawn. Miriam Hernandez is in the back row on her laptop. Looking on over at Rachelle I see she has on a loose fitting black top. Keep wearing black, Mrs. Spector. You'll need to get used to it with where your husband is going. I see Spector talking to the white haired guy. I know Ciaran McEvoy found out his name and I wrote it down in my notebooks but I can't seem to find it now. According to Ciaran, white haired guy never worked with Spector, but he is a friend and has come by the courthouse for support. Spector's son Dante is here again, and there are a few other people on the defense side today, showing their support for the accused. The back row is packed with press and trial watchers.

1:45 pm the attorneys come out of an in camera meeting with the Judge. Nick Terzian is back on the stand under cross by Roger Rosen. CCA and I are struggling with the correct spelling of his last name, and Donna Clarkson, turns around and corrects my attempt with the correct first few letters and gives me a smile. Rosen crosses Terzian on Lana's income for 2002-2003. Rosen asks Terzian about a word he thought he called Lana on Thursday. "Bible." Terzian gets this look on his face that almost says, I can't believe you actually passed the CA bar Rosen. Terzian says, "I said she was extremely marketable. She was "viable," not "bible." Rosen asks the witness what research he's done to support his percentages of working actors, and Terzian responds that the SAG (Screen Actors Guild) puts out newsletters with this information. Terzian is clear that it's not just one issue, but a compilation, but Rosen wants the exact issue.

Rosen asks the witness about the Brentwood Blondes production and her firing, and Terzian states that he didn't know anything about it. Two court interns enter and sit in the third row. Rosen asks more questions about the firing, trying to get him to say that her getting fired from this tiny, tiny theater production would have affected her career. Talk about "reaching" Rosen, lol. This is a ridiculous insinuation. When the witness gives a different answer than Rosen wants, he responds with, "I didn't ask you that." Immediately, the Judge slaps him down reminding him "It was unnecessary to say, "I didn't ask you that.""

A Juror is resting their head on their right hand, slightly slumped over to the side of their chair. Stan Goldman the law professor enters. Terzian says he did not know who Lana's other agents were.

Q: She loved the spotlight and always maintained her passion?

A: Yes. For the time that I represented her.

Terzian saw her about a half a dozen times in 2001 and in 2002.

Q: Were you aware of the fact, well, maybe we should approach. And the attorneys approach the bench for another sidebar. Beth and Lisa Sweetingham chat. CCA talks to Stan Goldman. The gallery starts to get a bit loud with it's whispering. A few of the jurors lean in to talk to each other. Some of the jurors watch us in the gallery. The jury is told they have to step out of the courtroom for a moment. Plourd and the white haired guy talk.

The Judge goes over a few issues regarding the jury visit to the Castle. Someone from the press will be present. There will be no photographer, and the press gets to choose the representative. Then Rosen stands up and says they want to recommend Linda Deutsch. I'm struck dumb. I've never heard of this ever happening before. Then the prosecution says they have no problem with that selection. The Judge makes it clear that the press will be the one who chooses who gets inside the Castle.

Outside the presence of the jury, the defense is printing out off of their computer at this very moment, emails they want the witness to read to himself. The room has cleared a bit. I look around and I don't see Peter Hong, and I could have sworn he was in here a bit earlier. I see that Dante is now sitting in the second row bench on the defense side beside the white haired guy, who keeps getting up to speak to Chris Plourd. Brunon and Spector chat, although Spector is actually slumped in his chair. Another Spector friend I've seen before is in the next row. He's a barrel chested man with salt and pepper hair. Peter Hong comes back in. The bailiff tries to get the room quieted down, and calls out to the gallery, "Quiet! Court is in session!" But the room is still somewhat noisy.

The witness is still reading the emails, and the printer at the defense table is clacking away printing out more documents. CCA leans into me and says that Rosen is purposefully confusing the national SAG numbers with the Southern California stats. Nationally, SAG has approximately 120 thousand members and So. California about 40 thousand members. Most years, about 18% of So. California members qualify for SAG health benefits. According to CCA, about 10-15% actually make a full time living. CCA says nationwide, only 4% don't have to supplement their income.

At 2:30 pm, the witness is finished reading the emails. Scratch that. More documents are presented to him. I see a few of the Court TV staff whisper and stifle laughter in the back row. Dante leaves the room. The courtroom is getting antsy. Rod Lindblom exits the courtroom and comes back in a few minutes later. The white haired guy gets up again to speak to Plourd. Spector is being animated again, talking to Brunon. He often uses his hands to talk. Beth Karas reads the paper, and Lisa Sweetingham and Steven Mikulan appear to be talking about the case.

I over hear a conversation near me. A gentleman whom I've seen in the courtroom quite a bit is talking to a regular trial watcher in the room. I don't know who he is, but I can guess. In a voice I can barely hear, he says, "Rosen is nice to your face, but he will easily stab you in the back. With Cutler, at least you know what you're getting."

Dixon leans into someone from the DA's office and says in a joking manner, "Is there any trouble going on? I just wonder the reason you're here." Meredith from the court's liaison's office, calls out my name from the back row. Several pieces of paper are passed up to me. It's the Media Advisory about the press meeting tomorrow morning. She has passed up four pages, so I keep one and hand the rest on down to my seat mates in my row.

Dante comes back into the courtroom. It appears Terzian has finally finished reading the emails he was given by the defense, and Rosen is going to cross him on the material in the emails. Rosen asks if after reading those emails, did it change his opinion about Lana's "marketability." Terzian answers in a firm voice, "No." The jury is brought back in the room. It looks like the defense will not get to enter these emails through this witness.

Q: Are you aware of Ms. Clarkson having training with weapons?

A: No.

Q: Did you know Jennifer Hayes Reidl?

A: No.

Q: Did you know Punkin Pie?

A: No.

Rosen gets the witness to admit that Lana's only booking in 2003 was the Chesterfield piece.

Jackson stands up to redirect his witness. The reel wasn't marketed by him because that wasn't what he did. He didn't need it to promote her. It's a 30 minute video. It was a work in progress, and she had been working on it for many months. This was a video that was only supposed to be viewed by industry executives. It was never meant to be shown to the public. Jackson asks Terzian, about what is "early" in Hollywood, regarding when he gets up in the morning. The witness replies, "Eleven to 12 noon." And the courtroom erupts in laughter.

Q: When you were trying to give that information to Lana (about a booking), she had already been shot, correct?

A: Yes.

The witness explains about the print advertising, and why it is commissioned at 20 percent. They are not SAG related work. SAG work is an industry standard of ten percent. Jackson gets the witness to explain about the play. Since it was a smaller showcase, with a small budget, and probably a small, under 99 seat theater, it wouldn't make an impact on her career. The witness goes onto explain that, if you're talking about a play that can't afford costumes, I think you're talking about a low budget play.

Q: What if I told you the playwright was now a bartender?

Objection! Sustained!

Terzian explains that in his work, his communication with his clients is mostly done over the phone verses meeting them in person on a regular basis.

Q: As you sit here today, do you still feel that in 2003, she was a viable, upbeat actress.

A: Yes.

Jackson is done with his redirect and Rosen gets up to recross. Like a dog with a bone, he can't let go of the video. He keeps going over it. This whole attack dog line of questioning is not the right tactic to take here.

Q: What if she had an alcohol problem?

The Judge steps in after this question and says, "I've already ruled on this."

Rosen: Can we approach?

Judge: We don't need to approach. I've already ruled."

There's no more redirect and we are all excited because we know Michael Bay is up next. One of the jurors is smiling at Michael Bay's name being called. Michael Bay states his profession is film director. He directed the following movies. The Island, The Rock, Bad Boys, Bad Boys II, and Transformers. He also has a commercial company where he directs commercials, from Victoria's Secret to car commercials. Bay met Lana in his early years around October, 1989, when he directed commercials for Mercedes. He was responsible for hiring at that time. Mercedes would look for a "type." He knew Lana. He would see her at Propaganda Films events, parties as well as auditions she would come in for. He invited her to a party at his house once. She was one of the few who would send him chocolates at Christmas.

Q: You would recognize her if she walked into a room?

A: Absolutely. She was six foot two. She was funny.

He is firm about the fact that he knew her. Bay states that in January 2003, he attended a party at Jeff Franklin's house. It was a Saturday, the third weekend of January. He went with Craig Katz, who was not his date. There were about 350 to 400 people at the party, and he was there for about two to three hours. He never saw anyone that looked like Lana Clarkson at that party. When he opened up the paper and saw that Lana Clarkson was dead, he thought, "Oh my God, when was the last time I saw her. It was eight to nine months previous, while he was working on Bad Boys II. Bay says that if he had seen her two or three days before, he would have remembered that. "If I had disrespected her, she probably would have slapped me. She was like that; kind of saucy." Bay says that if he had seen Lana, he would have definitely gone over to her to say hello.

Brunon gets up to cross the witness.

Q: Before you were a director, you were an actor, and that got you into directing?

A: No. Photography got me into directing.

Bay recalls when the first time he met Lana. She came into the room dressed like Marilyn Monroe. He's sure he did one Mercedes commercial with Lana. It as in October, 1998. The other one was later, but he's not sure if he used her in another commercial or not. Then Brunon tries to make a big deal about the fact that Lana was only on the screen for six, maybe seven seconds out of the 30 and 60 second pieces, as if this is a reflection of her acting abilities for a non speaking part. Brunon asks if between 1998 and 2003 he made about three movies, and Bay replies "That sounds about right." Brunon wonders why he never offered Lana a part in one of these movies, even a part of an extra, and Bay replies, "I would never offer her an extra part, because that would be demeaning."

Q: You never offered her a speaking part.

A: I never offered Tom Hanks a part either.

That answer seems to stump Brunon and he tries to go for a bit of humor saying, "Maybe he wouldn't accept?" But Brunon's attempt at humor is about as good as Rosen's. So he goes for the tactic that Bay never offered Lana a part in other commercials. Bay states that he knew he was going to be a witness mid week last week, and he testifies about the last time he thinks he saw Lana, which was at a Masquerade party that he gave at his house in 2002. "I know she was there." When asked about Jeff Franklin's party, he says he knows it was in the Hollywood Hills, but he doesn't remember the street or how he got there. Right afterwards he says that a friend took him to the party. From what I can see of Spector, he has this blank stare going. Bay says he stayed outside by the tent area and was there at the party two to three hours. Brunon puts up a photo of the Pie and two unknown men and Bay states that he doesn't recognize anyone in the picture except Lana.

On redirect, Bay is firm. "I did not have contact with that woman. I did not see her. She did not have contact with me." Bay identifies a photo of him and Lana together at the Mercedes shoot. And that's about it. Bay is off the stand. There are no more witnesses.

Once the jury leaves the courtroom, the Judge goes over a bit of business. He has two medical appointments. We hear that after the jury visit to the site, there will be testimony in the afternoon. The Judge orders Paula Rosenfeld back to court for Wednesday. Plourd wants to call as an expert a nuropathologist at this, the eleventh hour and the people object. Discovery was not given until last week. Spitz and DiMaio both testified to these involuntary breaths Jackson states, and to me, it looks like the defense is pulling as much crap out of the outhouse as they can. It's desperate. Two trial watchers behind me, tell me that they read my blog, and I thank them. The defense tries to get the Pie's prior statements in ~that they try to argue are consistent with her later ones~ but the Judge shuts down that motion. And that's all the notes I have for this day.

I already blogged about what happened at the press meeting in my entry titled Reporting on the Reporters...from outside in the hallway.

I'm putting up this entry totally unedited because it's way past my bedtime. I'm really looking forward to seeing houdinisback tomorrow, as well as a few other Court TV posters who say they are going to come.

A special thanks to Court TV member kellabeck for helping me finish the edit on my entry, Mr. Sprocket follows me to court.