Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Phil Spector Retrial: Day Five of Testimony

November 12th, 2008

Prosecution Witnesses:
#5 Devra Robitaille (1101(b) witness, testimony completed)

I think this was the most excruciating day of testimony to date. In the afternoon session, the witness had to ask Judge Fidler for a break because she said she felt like she was going to faint. During the break she sat on the steps leading up into the witness box. It appeared like she might have had some difficulty getting to her feet.

Back and forth it went, back and forth. The cross examination and recross by Weinberg was relentless, digging up every minute discrepancy between Robitaille's interviews with several reporters, her initial interview with law enforcement and her testimony on the stand today. It was long, tiring and I'm wondering if he lost the jury with the points that he was trying to make.

I have to say that I believe Robitaille held her own against Weinberg's consistent attacks on her memory and what she testified to on the stand. Weinberg is doing what he's paid to do and it certainly wore down several of us in the gallery. The only significant point I felt Weinberg made all day was during cross examination of Robitaille on the single interview she gave to law enforcement that was tape recorded.

On the taped interview by the two detectives, Robitaille is heard to say something to the effect that she couldn't remember what was said at the second incident. It is Detective Frayeh who asks Robitaille if Spector said, "I'm going to blow your f***ing brains out." If I'm remembering correctly, Frayeh asks her this twice, on the tape. Weinberg is doing his job, bringing this point back up again and again, several different ways. This contradicts what she told Caroline Graham (sp?) and later, Mick Brown. Robitaille told Mick Brown that when Spector was holding the gun to her head he said, 'If you try to leave I'll pull the trigger.' "(Page 299 of the hardback edition of Tearing Down the Wall of Sound.)

Robitaille explained that at the time, she didn't want to use profanity or for her friends and relatives reading about her using profanity. She goes onto explain that in Brittan, it's a different culture, and things like this are handled differently.

At one point in the morning session during the beginning of cross examination Weinberg is grilling her on her early history and when she came to the United States. Weinberg is splitting hairs about when she came to the US and Robitaille says to Judge Fidler on the stand, "Why is he badgering me?"

The other comical moment during the trial happened right after the lunch break. Robitaille takes the stand and she's still under cross.

DW: Did you talk to anyone over the lunch hour [about your testimony].

DR: Yes. Ms. Do.

DW: Did she tell you how to answer?

DR: No. She said you were not sticking to the rules.

Laughter erupts in the courtroom.

DW: You never know what answer you're going to get.

Judge Fidler also has an amused expression on his face and says something similar.

When Robitaille is finally off the stand, Weinberg asks the court, "Move to strike the testimony of Robitaille. She was clear it's not about sex. [...] All we know is that a gun was displayed. [...] It's beneath the lowest denominator that the court said must be met.

Judge Fidler turns to AJ and his comment is so brief I don't even catch it.

Fidler rules: Denied!

Weinberg may have brought to the attention of the jurors that Ms. Robitaille's statements in her interviews were not 100% consistent with the testimony on the stand today and last week. But there's one thing in my mind that he wasn't able to shake her on. Spector pulled a gun on her twice and pointed it at her head. A gun she had never seen before and was so large it took two hands to hold it. Jon Scott on the drive home told me that he heard Weinberg say at one point in his cross examination the word "allegedly" in regards to the gun being pointed at her head. I missed it.

I will continue to work on the detail entries from last week, and put up an new entry with the link back when I have another one completed. Although the first order of business this morning was ordering Rommie Davis to report back to court tomorrow, I believe Stephanie Jennings will be the next witness on the stand tomorrow.


Unknown said...

Thanks for the update! You are terrific. Are you pooped yet?

Anonymous said...

From your great reports, it seems Weinberg and Riordan have much in common - wear out the listeners (and it seems the witnesses).

Has Riordan appeared at all - or do we wait for Jury instructions to see (or hear) him again?

many thanks again for your detail.

Sprocket said...

I'm totally pooped lol! I will sew a little bit and then try to get another detailed entry up from last week.

I don't expect Riordan to be back to cross examine witnesses. It's all Weinberg. I predict that he will be back for jury instructions, but I have no inside information to confirm that.

shari said...

Sprocket, your energy must be tireless...bravo !! Are you getting any kind of feelings by watching the jury? Any hints as to how they are perceiving this whole thing. Witnesses must be so bedraggled by the time they exit the courtroom after this kind of questioning by the defense. UGH! Does Phil seem to be holding up well or is this starting to show on him??? Just your thoughts>>>

Sprocket said...

My energy is not tireless. I'm exhausted trying to keep up with Weinberg's cross exams.

I can not get any kind of feel for the jury.

Anonymous said...

Sprocket, I saw a clip of "The Agony and Ecstasy of Phil Spector" which was broadcast on BBC. Am really sorry I missed it when the BBC still had it on. I think you can download it if you get this special player, but I'm afraid to do that. What I saw made me think he is really cracked, even more than from what we learned at the last trial.