Saturday, May 24, 2008

Phil Spector Pre-trial Hearing, May 22, 2008

I had Mr. Sprocket drop me off at the North Hollywood train station again. I get to the train platform as the security sweep is being performed. I make the 7:30 am train so I know I will be at the courthouse by 8 am.

Our car is almost full and I get a window seat. The young man in front of me in the handicapped jump seat is reading a bible and there are about five other people directly around me listening to music on their iPods.

I'm tired. I was out in the sun all day yesterday helping Mr. Sprocket with a project on a roof. I got a decent burn since I totally forgot sunscreen. I can't stop off and get copies of motions at the Liaison's office: They are closed for two days going through a much needed renovation of their offices. I found that out at the Miura hearing on the 9th.

I pass through security and head into the cafeteria. It's quite empty. There are several lawyer looking types all wearing suits. I only stop in here to get a water and write a few notes. When I went through security, Spector's biggest fan at the last trial, the woman who wore a Hawaiian type shirt every day is in line in front of me. I recognized the shirt right away.

8:15 am. I'm up on the 9th floor at the far end of the hall. As soon as I sit down, the Hawaiian shirt rounds the corner. A slender Asian woman with a juror's badge walking the halls in a loop listening to her iPod. There's a little over a half dozen people on the entire floor. People arrive and head down towards the other end of the hall. Courtroom's 107 & 108 are dark through May 23rd, probably taking a long holiday weekend.

As a congregation of jurors near the center enter a courtroom, the hallway becomes virtually empty again. There's not much to do except sit and wait and hopefully donchais gets back in time to call me.

8:25 am. A nicely dressed young man comes down to Pastor's courtroom with a stack of legal papers and is frustrated when he sees that the courtroom is dark. There's a note on the door for all papers to be dropped off at courtroom 109, which is at opposite end of the hall. Judge Pastor's bailiff, Kirk Richardson, emerges from courtroom 106 and head over to 107. (Dr. Carroll Adams pointed him out to me when I stopped into to observe a pretrial hearing in the Cameron Brown case. I hope to get those notes up after these.) Since no one is in Fidler's courtroom I'm wondering if the hearing was post phoned and it just wasn't reported. It might be at 10 am instead of 9 am.

Richardson greets another deputy in the hallway, "Hey Sargent!" He then tells him that he's in 106 today so hopefully the hearing is on. I could have sworn this thing was at 9 am. A man dressed in a nice suit peeks through the low windows in 106 then heads away to make a phone call. I'm wondering if it's a reporter or maybe another clerk on Spector's defense team.

At about 8:30 am, Wendy, Judge Fidler's clerk approaches and I say hello. She replies, "How are you?" "Pretty good," I respond.

A few minutes later, Steven Mikulan emerges from the men's room at the other end of the hall and my spirits pick up. It's nice to see him and I'm hopeful that the hearing is still on for 9 am. Steven and Hawaiian shirt exchange greetings and chat a bit. Wendy unlocks the courtroom and as we enter, we ask her if it's okay to come in now, and she said yes.

Steven and I talk about the Cameron Brown case (retrial for the murder of his four-year-old daughter) and whether or not Spector's hearing is at 9 or 10 am. Alan Parachini and one of his staff are in the courtroom and they are under the impression that the hearing is at 9 am. However, it's already 9:15 so if it is, it's starting way late. Steven may have to take off since he's got a theatre review story due and he's been struggling with it. I mention to Steven that there are support blogs for Cameron Brown that have reported for some time his continued harassment by the Sheriff's at the LA County Jail. Steven thinks the harassment is quite possible. Steven is quite clear to say that, he's not saying unequivocally that it's happening, just that it's possible. He mentions a case of documented harassment (that I forget to write down and it totally escapes me) of a jail inmate by sheriffs' and one would think that the department would have learned.

As a group, we are eyeing the swivel chairs behind the counsel tables and Alan Parachini thinks that Judge Fidler's chair might be one of the Aeron chairs that AJ and Pat Dixon had during the trial. He gets up to take a closer look at it. I keep shaking my head saying, no, that's not them. They were really strange looking chairs, that when you viewed them from the back they reminded me of the creature in the movie Alien.

Robin and Sheri show up, I motion to them to come over and sit behind us and I introduce them to Steven. It's 9:45 am now and Pat Dixon arrives and chats with Wendy and the court reporter, Dee. 9:50 am Ciaran McEvoy arrives and it's nice to see he's still covering Spector even though his new beat is Federal Court. Guess this show is really getting started. Right after that, Rod Lindblum, Mrs. Clarkson and Fawn show up and take their usual seats in the front row.

Rod and Ciaran discuss the Pellicano case since Ciaran covered the entire trial for City News. That trial really was "just one tawdy detail after another." The Juror Whisperer shows up, sees me, Ciaran, Steven and the Clarkson group in the front row and smiling says, "It's like old home week." And with all the conversations going on, I miss seeing Spector in his brown slightly frizzed wig and the rest of his group enter. I believe he's got the same, humongous refrigerator-sized black bodyguard with him that was at the last hearing. There's also another beefy looking black man sitting in the second row, along with a mousy looking woman with short brown hair. Rachelle's hair looks blonder and blonder with each court appearance.

The Asian AP photographer I saw at the Miura hearing enters and a video camera operator also sets up in the jury box. (I have no idea what news organization taped the hearing.) Pat Dixon greets Mrs. Clarkson. Everyone is now talking about Steven's profile of AJ in last week's LA Weekly People 2008 issue. AJ mentions that Steven's article is following him everywhere with people now coming up to him and whispering. AJ also said that the article made his mom very proud. Then, AJ and Rod discuss the Miura case, and I'm trying to follow several conversations behind me, beside me and in front of me at once. I miss the most of what AJ is telling Rod about Miura, only something to the effect of, that Miura raises issues that have never been visited before. I'm betting that the next pretrial hearing in that case gets postponed.

Wendy addresses the gallery, "Counsel ready for the Judge?" Everyone nods that they are, AJ greets Dee, the camera guys are ready and Judge Fidler takes the bench at 10:02 am.

Weinberg addresses the court first and it's about their appeal to the California Supreme Court. My notes are poorly written here, but what I have is, "When the DA filed it's reply, it launched (?) exhibits and the Supreme Court just accepted the material on Tuesday." Weinberg asks the Judge to wait on setting a trial date until the Supreme Court has ruled. Fidler isn't buying that. His decisions don't rely on that and sees no reason to wait. The trial date needs to be set whether it's with him or with another Judge. Both sides agree on a date of Monday, September 29th, and Fidler sets that as a "firm" trial start date and adds the 0-10 for that date. Fidler then explains to Weinberg about the initial stages of jury selection and how things went at the first trial and that's it's standard procedure in this court. He also explains the 0-10 (which I don't fully understand) but it has something to do with jury selection and how selected jurors can be lost if the trial does not go forward within those 10 days.

Right after the date is set, Linda Deutsch enters along with a young woman who I saw at the first trial. I believe she is a close friend of Fawn.

The people then ask Judge Fidler for one more interim date, just as a check in to see that we're all still on track. Weinberg states that he doesn't anticipate any last minute motions. He's going to work very closely with Mr. Jackson on discovery so there are no surprises. An interim date is agreed on, it's July 29th at 10 am.

And that's it. It's over very quickly. As people get up to leave Spector stops in the front of the second isle and greets Linda Deutsch very warmly. This stops everyone behind Linda from moving forward and we are all standing there in the row politely waiting so we can exit the courtroom. Steven mumbles under his breath, "Autograph time." I think Spector and Deutsch might have exchanged a cheek kiss but I'm not positive about that. Sherri and Robin tell me that Spector gave Linda a CD of Elvis songs and I explain to them that Linda is a BIG Elvis fan and she started one of the first Elvis fan clubs at age 12.

Someone asks from behind me, "Is he wearing make-up?" And Sherri responds, H'e has on eyeliner today and he's wearing an Obama Rocks button." Someone comments, "Is this the type of support Obama really needs?" And I wonder, is Spector trying to channel Pete Wentz? As we finally get out of the courtroom and linger in the hall, the reporters approach Weinberg to ask questions.

In the hallway, I tell Linda how nice she looks today (She's always very professionally dressed.) and I ask if she ever had her knee surgery and how is she doing. She thanks me for asking, but says that her knee is not doing very well.

Rachelle is holding onto Spector, keeping him upright and Spector is staring at me, that saucer like stare he has. When I move to another area of the hall, he's still got his eyes on me. It's like Marty Feldman, he can't stop staring. And then I think, maybe it's my white shirt with the short puff sleeves. Maybe he's focusing on that and he so drugged he can't move his eyes. Maybe he's trying to give me the death stare, lol. It is quite Spectorish creepy, but I'm not frightened. One push and this short, tiny man needing five inch lifts in his shoes would topple over. I say my goodbyes to everyone and on the way to the train station I call donchais and fill her in on the details of the hearing. My only disappointment was that Sandi Gibbons wasn't there. I missed seeing her. When I tell donchais about Spector's saucer eyed stare, I just chuckle and say, "He's on trial for murder; I'm not. Maybe next time he tries to stare-scare me again, I'll smile back and give him a little wave."


Angela T said...

Everyone check out Michelle Blaine's new forum to discuss
all things Spector...

Also check out the new stuff she has to say about Rachelle re: her jealousies!


Sprocket said...

Stomp your feet again Rachelle and throw something. That will get you noticed, lol!

Anonymous said...

Sprocket she's just bound to mess
it up for her hubby even more
this time around. Only a complete idiot would ever talk back to a judge and threaten him online!