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CA vs. Spector – Phil Wants a New Trial

Posted by thedarwinexception on June 11, 2007

The day starts with motion hearings. Unfortunately, the judge isn’t ready to rule on the Caplan issue, and whether or not she is going to be held in  contempt if she continues to refuse to testify. He still has to research several issues related to her refusal, and the judge shelves the issue for the moment.

But the prosecution has a few other issues they would like the court to address this morning. One is the defense witnesses running their mouths. The prosecution would like to bring to the court’s attention that several defense witnesses and potential witnesses have been running around giving interviews. Although the judge has not issued a formal gag order in the case, he has said that witnesses are not allowed to speak about their testimony with anyone other than the attorneys in the case.

Specifically, the prosecution today brought up three defense witnesses and their out of court interviews.

Dr. Henry Lee, convicted madam Jody “Babydol” Gibson, and former defense investigator Bill Pavelic.

In the motion, the prosecutor objects to Lee issuing a press release and giving an interview to a Chinese language paper, Gibson talking to Geraldo Rivera and giving an interview in Marie Claire magazine, and Pavelic appearing on Court TV. Of the latter, the prosecutor wrote, “Mr. Pavelic specifically commented on the Court’s hearing, he issued opinions and conclusions about witnesses yet to be called in this case, and he also engaged in a personal attack on Patrick Dixon, one of the prosecutors in the case.”

In regards to convicted madam Jody “Babydol” Gibson, who claims in a book about her life that she employed Clarkson, is on the defense witness list, but during the hearing this morning, Judge Fidler says he doesn’t foresee Gibson ever testifying in his courtroom, anyway, regardless of whether or not she gave out of court interviews.

“I don’t think she’s going to be a witness in this case, quite frankly,” the judge says. He calls her potential testimony “salacious” and irrelevant “as far as I’m concerned.”

But the defense argues that her testimony is relevant.

“It is not our intent to trash Ms. Clarkson,” defense attorney Roger Rosen says. Her testimony will simply be offered to give the jury a fuller picture of
what was going on in Clarkson’s life, he asserts.

The judge doesn’t have to decide today whether Gibson will testify, as the defense case is weeks away, but Fidler says that he will examine her media interviews and notes that excluding her testimony is one way of dealing with comments that violate his order.

The defense also files a motion for a mistrial, which the judge says will be handled after the lunch break.

When the jury is finally brought in, the next witness to take the stand is Steve Renteria, a Forensic Scientist/Criminalist for LA County Sheriff’s department, and a DNA expert.  His testimony seems to be in direct contradiction to what we know Dr. Henry Lee will testify to, according to Linda Kenny Baden’s opening statement.

Renteria is testifying about where he found blood in Spector’s foyer, and, more importantly, where he didn’t find blood.

Neither side disputes that when the bullet was discharged into Lana Clarkson’s mouth tiny drops of blood were propelled out of her mouth – along with her two front teeth. But just how far his blood spatter traveled is the key scientific dispute at the trial.

Dr. Henry Lee, the defense expert, as outlined in Linda Kenny Baden’s opening statement, maintains that the blood could have gone 6 feet, and the defense’s position is that the small amount of blood on Spector’s white (ladies) dinner jacket indicates that he was across the room near the staircase at the time Clarkson shot herself. They maintain that if he was any closer – say, standing in front of her with a gun in her mouth, that his white (ladies) dinner jacket would be covered with much more blood.

Renteria tells jurors that he found Lana Clarkson’s blood on the handrail of the staircase, but it was a smear, not spatter, seemingly indicating that if there was no blood from the point of her body to the point of the staircase,  then the spatter on Spector’s jacket would have gotten there when he was standing much closer to her – perhaps blocking the spray from going the 6 feet Lee says it would go.

The prosecution also maintains that the reason there is blood on the stair and handrail is because Spector himself left it there when he went upstairs to “clean up” – evidence including a cloth diaper covered in blood was introduced during Detective Lillienfeld’s testimony. The prosecution mentioned in opening statements that Clarkson’s face showed signs of being “wiped”, as did the gun.

“Could the smear on the handrail have been left by a bloody human hand?” asks prosecutor Jackson.

“That’s a possibility,” the criminalist replies.

Renteria says Luminol tests did not turn up blood spatter on the carpet that stretched from Clarkson’s body to the staircase or on the wall by the banister.

“Had there been blood spray that went as far as that wood paneled wall would Luminol have detected it?” Jackson asks.

“Yes,” Renteria replies.

“Is one explanation for the fact that there is no Luminol that something was standing between Ms. Clarkson and the wall blocking it?” Jackson presses.

“That would be one explanation, yes,” Renteria answers.

It’s clear that Jackson thinks that “something” was Spector.

Rentaria also explains all about DNA and Luminol to the jury, telling them that Luminol tests are not only looking for blood – that Luminol is a test that reacts to the presence of metal and that when a Luminol test is positive, that doesn’t necessarily mean that blood is present, just that metal is present. Luminol is efficient at testing for blood because it reacts with iron in the blood – that’s what gives a positive reaction to blood presence, not that the substance is blood, but that it is a metal bearing substance.

Rentaria then goes over PCR testing, describing it as a “Xerox machine for DNA”. The test replicates a DNA sample until there are million of parts of DNA, which can then be tested for identification against known samples. He goes through a list of the items tested, including the blood spots on Clarkson’s arm and wrist, telling the jury that these 2 spots proved positive for DNA samples from both Clarkson and Spector. He also said that  other DNA tests indicated Spector and Clarkson were sharing drinks from two brandy snifters found near the death scene. DNA consistent with a mixture of their genetic profiles was found on the rims of both glasses.

Renteria also contradicted another portion of Linda Kenny Baden’s opening statement to the jurors. She had said then that DNA tests proved that Clarkson herself had loaded the weapon that killed her, because Clarkson’s DNA had been found on the bullets, along with another person’s DNA, and that this “other person” was not Spector.

Renteria, however, told jurors that he never tested the top of the bullets. He said he only swabbed the tips of the bullets, which faced Clarkson’s mouth when the gun was discharged. The tips, Renteria said, showed Clarkson’s DNA and the “foreign” sample.

During the lunch break, while the jury is not in the courtroom, the judge hears the defense’s motion for the mistrial.

The defense is arguing a whole array of alleged injutices  that they feel have deprived their client of his rights and are cause for a new trial. Among them is Judge Fidler’s handling of tinywhitepieceofevidence-gate. Rosen says that rather than commission the LAPD and a special master to do a secret investigation, the judge should have informed the defense and turned the whole matter over to another judge. Additionally, the defense doesn’t like Fidler’s dismissive comments this morning on the merit of Jody “Babydol” Gibson’s possible testimony. They also don’t like the handling of the subpoena of Dr. Lee, which was done by fax.

“I think the court is feeling a particular way about testimony that hasn’t even been introduced,” Rosen complains.

Taken together, he argues, Spector’s equal protection and due process rights have been compromised.

The judge isn’t impressed.

“In my mind, you have not even come close to stating grounds for a mistrial.” the judge says. With regards to Caplan and the whole tinywhitepieceofevidence-gate, the judge says he can’t grant the defense’s motion citing “unfair treatment” when he hasn’t even ruled on the situation yet. With regards to Lee’s subpoena, the judge tells the defense they should have quashed the subpoena if they felt is was improper, which they didn’t do, and with regards to the “special master”, the judge tells them that he was well within the law and his rights to turn the affair over to a special master.

“The motion for a mistrial is denied,” the judge says.

Renteria will begin his cross examination tomorrow.

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