Thursday, May 19, 2011

James Fayed Verdict Watch Day 3

UPDATE: FAYED FOUND GUILTY OF FIRST DEGREE MURDER with special circumstances of financial gain and lying in wait. Also found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder in the death of Pamela Fayed. Penalty phase to begin tomorrow at 10:30 am.

Update 6:22pm: Text editing finished from 12:05pm on covering the reading of the verdict and motions presented afterwards. Sprocket.

7:46 am: Miracle! Mr. Sprocket got me to the Red Line station by 7:45 am even though we left the house at 7:28 am, so I made the 7:49 train early enough to get a forward facing seat. I’ve been trying to get some extra writing time on the train and it’s working out well. I write in Apple Works and as soon as I get an Internet connection, I transfer my notes to Blogger.

I wanted to get downtown a bit earlier because I know the Lazarus case is having a pretrial hearing down towards the center of the hall in Dept. 104, Judge Robert Perry’s court. I was hoping we would have a verdict before this hearing but no such luck.

If you scroll down the blog, you will see I posted a few short entries last night, one regarding Phil Spector and his never-ending attempts to get a do-over with his second degree murder conviction and second, to let all of T&T’s readers know that THE DARWIN EXCEPTION IS BACK! If you’ve never read Kim’s unique brand of wit, you are in for a real treat.

I also wanted to let you know that my entry covering the first day of closing arguments in the James Fayed case has been corrected to include Alan Jackson’s moving closing argument. I don’t know what happened when I initially tried to upload my draft notes but somehow, his closing did not get included and some of my time dated notes were repeated. Although it’s all fixed now, the entry is only partially edited. I will work on that throughout the day on verdict watch.

During the second day of closings, I learned that the Bell city counsel scandal, as well as the Grim Sleeper serial killer case are currently assigned to Judge Kennedy’s docket, and that Mark Werksman is representing one of the many former Bell city counsel members charged in that case.

I’m sure many of you are wondering what’s going on in the Sheriff’s investigation regarding the several attempts to derail the Fayed jury. I don’t know that the results of that investigation will return to Judge Kennedy’s court as a part of this case. I will ask around though and if I find anything out, I’ll report it.

8:15 am: We’re just now stopping at the Pershing Square station; the next stop is Civic Center. I’m closing up the laptop to get ready for my stop. I’ll see y’all on the other side, after the Lazarus hearing and get settled into Judge Kennedy’s court.

8:40 am: What an idiot I am! Lazarus hearing is TOMORROW, not today. I'm inside 109 and Sean told me the jurors have not buzzed that they've started yet.

8:49 am: The DATELINE camera crew was here before 8:30 am and as son as the courtroom opened they were efficiently setting up the camera. It takes three guys to do this.

8:50 am: A late juror entered the jury room. But since I didn't hear a buzz, they might be waiting for one more.

8:55 am: One more juror just entered the jury room.

8:56 am: A few minutes ago, Scott Goudie and (I believe) his wife entered 109 and are sitting in the back row. We still haven't heard the buzz that they've started yet.

8:58 am: I'm listening to the camera guys talking about the poor design of the Staples Center and it's lack of a media center on the ground floor. I've never been to the Staples Center.

8:59 am: Another juror just entered the jury room.

Call to order, there's a pretrial hearing being presented. Held over to another date; counsel joined? That's it.

9:01 am: The camera crew exits 109. I'm wondering if the jury started and forgot to buzz. Nope. One more just walked in. And I see an alternate, two alternates standing at the court entrance to let the clerk or Sean know that all the alternates are here.

9:03 am: BUZZ!

9:13 am: Jessica from dateline is here. She takes a plastic chair near the door. I think she has her laptop with her. There's hardly anyone here. There is a new temp clerk, but I think it's because Lori the regular clerk is late. I could be wrong on that. Marjorie isn't here and I miss having the company.

9:27 am: Looks like a domestic dispute sentencing asking to be held over. The wife has some medical conditions that need to be addressed and I think they want the husband not to go to jail until some of those things are addressed. There's also a civil lawsuit. The people state this is the first they've ever heard of a lawsuit. Interesting. It's the woman who is facing prison I think. I think that's it, not the husband. Maybe it's both of them? Wish I paid more attention.

9:34 am: Judge held over sentencing one more time until July 11th.

9:47 am: Marjorie from the Ventura Co. Star is here. We talk about the latest news regarding our former Governor, "Ahnuld" that some are now calling "The Sperminator." I heard a short clip on our local news this morning that there could be six more children out there.

10:07 am: As I get up to go down to the snack machine to get myself a keep-me-awake snickers bar, I see Mr. Werksman walking towards 109 with another gentleman. Trying to keep on my healthy eating plan has been shot these past two weeks. As I passed Mr. Werksman he said, "Nothing's going on. I'm here on (another matter.)" When I get back to 109 he's in the ante chamber deep in conversation. As I pass, he asks, "How's it going?" I reply, "Quiet. They started a few minutes after 9:00 am this morning."

In the hallway, I pass two of the cameramen. One is reading the paper. Some judge's don't let you read the paper at all in their courtrooms, even if court isn't in session. Others are not as strict, and will let you have a newspaper as long as they are not on the bench.

10:30 am: BUZZ! BUZZ! The jurors all file out for a break.

10:35 am: This is interesting. This is the first time they've taken a break and left the courtroom.

10:45 am: A few of the jurors wander in. They will be on their break until 10:50 am. The extern from Judge Pastor's court came in for a few minutes to see what's going on.

A few minutes ago, an attorney who sat in on some of the testimony came over to ask if they had the closings. I told him that the jury was on Day 3 of verdict watch. He mentioned he was here for the riveting, heartbreaking testimony of Edwin Rivera who came to Pamela's aid right after the attack.

10:50 am: The jury is back deliberating

10:57 am: BUZZ! BUZZ! BUZZ! We have a verdict!

11:01 am: The bailiff came and and nodded to the court reporters and the court clerk. We do have a verdict.

11:04 am: I think I heard the temp clerk say that they would take the verdict at 12 noon. Scott Pamela's brother comes back into 109. The clerk is making a flurry of phone calls.

11:07 am: The camera guys are gearing up, getting their equipment ready. They've hooked up a little noise baffle over their "record deck" that is connected to the video camera. It's not as loud as it was a few days ago.

The reporters are getting ready. Jessica the DATELINE reporter/producer is back.

11:11 am: Another sheriff has entered 109, the gray haired woman who dropped by a few days ago. Sean and her now are leaving 109. I'm sure there are procedures they have to follow when a verdict is reached.

11:17 am: A flurry of activity with the court staff. One of the cameramen is putting a microphone at the judge's desk. I think the alternate jurors are put someplace else to wait.

11:19 am: Greg Fisher, CBS 48 Hours producer arrives. He was in an area of the Federal Courthouse where he wasn't getting good phone reception. He had a premonition that he wasn't getting phone service and stepped into a better area and "Boom, boom, boom," his phone is hit with message after message about Fayed.

11:22 am: Dawn, Pamela's sister arrives in 109. When the jurors all filed out for a break, I had a gut feeling something was up. Pamela's other sister Gretta also arrives. At the time, the first thing that went through my mind was, they are taking a break, maybe they are breaking right before they are going to sign the verdict forms. But then I pushed that thought off as just wishful thinking.

11:31 am: We just get the message from the bailiff that on our laptops, we cannot transmit messages when the verdict is read. "Is everybody clear about that?"

Teri Keith from City News is here. Other reporters are coming in. Local ABC Channel 7 comes in with a camera but the bailiff tells him that only one camera is allowed. So they are trying to put together a work around to get a feed from their box to his camera. Pat Kelly and two more of the PIO staff are here. Elizabeth is going over the paperwork rules for applying for media coverage with Greg. I don't think it's for this case, but for something else.

11:38 am: I move down to a chair right by the door so I can exit the courtroom quickly and press send to get the verdict published first. ANOTHER camera guy comes in to try to set up!

11:39 am: Mr. Werksman and Steve Meister arrive.

Pat Kelly is checking on the transmission issue for me. The former PIO employee, Vanja? I can't remember how her name is spelled, is here for the verdict. Claudia from KFWB is here and Judge Pastor has entered. He is in a white shirt and black slacks.

11:44 am: Most of the reporters are in the second row, sitting close to the jury box and beside the pool video camera. Pat comes over to verify that there is no transmission from inside the courtroom. The bailiff makes another announcement. "No transmission. No texting, tweeting of any kind." This will be my last posting until the verdict is read.

11:46 am: The detective Abdoul Salaam arrives. He's got a very sharp suit on. Faint tweed pattern, a grayish color with a white shirt and gold tie. And a hat. He looks sharp!

11:48 am: Another bailiff arrives.

11:49 am: Another bailiff arrives and stands in the back corner. There's group of people here in the seats reserved for detectives that I believe are court personnel.

I just stepped outside for a second to transmit and see that Jane Robison from the DA's public relations department is going to be here for the reading. I overhear that Judge Kennedy is allowing the cameras to continue recording after the verdict is read. If the mitigation continues into tomorrow however, they will have to put in another request. I'm going to step outside one more time to transmit.

11:56 am: The courtroom is almost full. Still waiting on Alan Jackson and Eric Harmon to get here. A gentleman sitting to my left asks me if I'm one of the bloggers and I tell him yes. He asks me what my blog is and after I tell him he says, "Oh yeah. I've read your blog. Very good." I thank him. It's always exciting to meet T&T's readers.

11:58 am: Still no prosecution team. Mona the sketch artist is here. Desiree, Pamela's oldest daughter arrives just in time. Mark Werksman leaves for a moment but stops to shake the hand of the gentleman to my left.

11:59 am: Still waiting. Dawn has brought a small hand fan and is slowly fanning herself. More bailiffs come and go. The prosecution team arrives. Jackson greets the family. So does Harmon. Desiree hugs Jackson. One of the DA's staff is sitting next to me. He said he didn't work on the case but is here as a friend to support. Jackson and Harmon sit down at the prosecution table. Mr. Dixon is also here.

Lots of nervous bustling in the gallery. The man sitting next to me now says he is part of Major Crimes. More people enter. Two nicely dressed ladies. I've heard that they might be part of Jackson's campaign. Lisa is here.

12:05 pm:
Judge takes the bench at 12:05 pm. On the record. Fayed is here. Jurors have reached a verdict. I don't want any reaction, visible reaction .... and I don't want the jury to be influenced by any way (because if it is a first degree verdict and because of the special circumstance) so can we please bring the jury out.

The 4 alternates are brought in. The jury is brought in.

Bailiff: Please be sure all cell phones are turned off!

JK: We now have all of our jurors and alternates. Juror #3 is the foreperson. Hand the verdict forms to the bailiff please. They are handed to Judge Kennedy.

I will ask the clerk to please read the verdicts at this time.

(Clerk reads the verdict forms. I've summarized them; there is more legal language that is included but I just typed the most pertinent part.)

Guilty of first degree! Further find allegation was intentional, for financial gain. Further find the allegation was committed by Fayed, intentionally killed by lying in wait.

We also find the defendant guilty of the crime of conspiracy to commit murder, further find of carrying out the objectives and committed at least one of the following overt acts to be true:

1. payed Joey Moya to kill
2. person drove rented SUV to Watt garage
3. person approached Pamela Fayed in garage and stabbed her, killing her
4. person left the immediate area and entered rented SUV
5. person left the Watt tower parking garage
6. person drove a rented SUV to Happy Camp Ranch
7. Jose Moya returned the rented SUV

Signed foreperson Juror #3 . Are these your verdicts? Yes.

Werksman asks the jury to be polled.

Are these your verdicts? (The clerk calls each juror number in order and they are all saying "yes.")

JK: All jurors answered in the affirmative. Let me see counsel at sidebar please. The verdicts are entered into the record.

12:14 pm: I just stepped outside to publish. I'm back inside 109. The sidebar is still going on.

12:18 pm: JK: because of the verdicts that have been reached by you, (snip) the witnesses will be available tomorrow, so we will be starting tomorrow. Because you are still under an admonition, so don't discuss this case with anyone. You are not allowed to talk about your verdict yet because there is another part of the trial to finish. (snip) Since I have another matter tomorrow morning, you are ordered back at 10:30 am tomorrow to begin the second part of the trial.

The jurors file out.

12:20 pm: JK: All the jurors and alternates have left the court at this time....

SM: The standard motion is made at this time, is the standard jury is dismissed and that a new jury be called at this time. (snip) And the alternates did not render a verdict yet they will be seated to bootstrap a guilty phase verdict they didn't arrive it. Dismiss alternates, ....

(I'm sorry. Mr. Meister spoke so fast and I wasn't ready when he started to speak. I don't get all of what he asked. He first argued to get a different jury to hear penalty. He mentioned several first amendment rights to support his argument. Then he argued that the alternates be dismissed because they will be possibly rendering a penalty when they did not participate in rendering a verdict. )

JK: Since you don't want any of the jury to be part of the penalty phase I don't understand (snip) denied as well. Counsel all ordered to be here at 10:30 and defendant is remanded at this time.

Jackson hugs Desiree again. Judge is off the bench. People are getting up to leave.

1:41 pm: I had to run out of the courtroom because I was meeting a friend who works in the DA's library for lunch. As I was rushing to the elevators on the 9th floor, I saw Desiree hugging her aunt, (Steve Goudie's wife) and crying. The major part for them is over. Fayed is now convicted. All that's left is the penalty phase. I'll be heading back home in a bit. Tomorrow morning at 8:30 am, there is a pretrial hearing in the Stephanie Lazarus case (for certain this time) in Dept 104 and I don't want to miss that.

Thank you everyone for your support and stopping by to read T&T's coverage of the Fayed case! More to come tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

What is the SM, did defense ask for a new jury to do the guilt phase? That would be odd.

Glad the jury reached a verdict.

Sprocket said...

SM is the defense co-counsel Steve Meister. I believe Meister is handing the mitigation phase. Yes, he made a motion for a new jury for the penalty phase, but was rejected. I could not type fast enough to get all of Meister's arguments.

JellyBeanLowe said...

Wonderful news! It has been a long time coming and I am so glad that the family has some answers!

Anonymous said...

Reading your account makes me feel like I'm there. Thank you for your work.

David In TN

jeff said...

i am a lawyer for the family and i've been unable to attend the trial every day. your blow-by-blow coverage has been really helpful for me to keep up with what's been going on the last couple of days. thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all your hard work and commitment in covering this case for those who're unable to be there!

Great job by DDA Jackson in presenting and winning this case! He is NEEDED for the Conrad Murray case!