The Darwin Exception

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CA vs. Spector – The Stormtrooping Henchmen Take the Castle

Posted by thedarwinexception on July 17, 2007

Phil Spector gave an interview after his indictment by the grand jury on September 27, 2004. In this interview he stated that “actions of the Hitler like District Attorney, Steve Cooley, and his Stormtrooping henchmen, to seek an indictment against me, and censor all means of getting my evidence and the truth out, are reprehensible, unconscionable, and despicable.” In his opening statement Cutler also roared to the jury that these stormtrooping henchmen “stormed the castle, quite literally and figuratively”. Today we had a witness on the stand who explained exactly what those stormtrooping henchmen did when they entered Spector’s home on the night Lana Clarkson was shot.

But before the henchman, James Hammond, takes the stand, we have to finish our Pie.

And I finally figured out why Pie seems a little uneven on the stand, sometimes lucid, clear and self assured, and sometimes foggy, hazy and confused. It becomes clear today that when she is asked questions that have been gone over with her by the Defense, she “knows” the answers and what is expected of her and she is able to appear at least sane. When someone hits her with a question that is meant to elicit something that she has not been forewarned about, she gets extremely rattled, because she doesn’t know how she is supposed to answer.

This is best illustrated today when Alan Jackson asks Pie about a statement that she allegedly made at the wedding reception of Ann Marie Donahue. At this reception, someone has reported to the prosecution that she was overheard to say to Rick Brody “We need to fry that bastard for killing Lana”. She denies making the statement, and tells Jackson that it doesn’t sound like something she would say because “I didn’t believe that.” On re-direct Rosen asks her to elaborate on what she meant when she said “I didn’t
believe that.”

And because this is obviously a question she hasn’t been prepped on, and she doesn’t know exactly what he wants her to say, she responds by asking him “Can we move to another question?”

Judge Fidler, obviously fed up with Pie, rebukes her sternly and tells her she must answer the questions as they are asked. Rosen, sensing that she doesn’t know what the fuck he’s talking about, wisely moves to another, more prepped area of inquiry, that of her deference to Ann Marie Donahue, her father the lawyer, and why Pie decided that she should do as Ann Marie suggested and lie to the first officers who visited her after Lana died.

She again explains that this was all out of loyalty to her friend Lana, and her fear and confusion. Although neither side questions her about why her fear and confusion would allow a seemingly innocent man, if what she believed to be true was , in fact, true, to be apprehended and charged with murder.

Rosen then wraps up the Pie by asking her if what she has said on the stand has been the truth, and she says “yes it is”. Jackson then gets up and reminds her that this truth, of course, is a different truth than what she told the first officers.

Next we have the stormtrooping henchmen, James Hammond, who was a police officer for the City of Alhambra, now a detective. He went to 1700 Grandview in the early morning hours of February 3rd. He testifies about the 5 officers who responded to the initial call for assistance, and explains how an Officer Cardella, who was watching the rear entrance of Spector’s residence for any signs of movement or occupancy, radioed that he saw movement in the area and the other officers all gathered in the back courtyard near the parking area and the fountain. Hammond testified that the officers identified themselves to Spector, who was standing on the porch area with his arms crossed. They instructed him to raise his hands and move towards them, and Spector raised his hands and then immediately put them in his pockets. He then said to the police officers “You’ve got to come and see this”, a phrase that got all the attorneys to a sidebar.

Hammond described Spector’s expressions as “blank, emotionless and unresponsive”. Rosen tried to get the witness to testify that Spector was “dazed and confused” but all Hammond would say was “blank and emotionless” – and unresponsive to the officer’s instructions.

Spector then turned and went into the house. Hammond testified that since the responding officers did not know how many people at the scene could be victims – or suspects, that the commanding officer on the scene decided to elevate the officer’s position and level of protection and he armed himself with a ballistic shield and a taser gun. Hammond said that they also requested a canine unit, but that one was not available.

The officers made a flank behind the lead officer, who was armed with the shield, and they rushed the entrance to the foyer. They tasered Spector, which was unsuccessful, as one of the contact leads did not penetrate, a situation that happens perhaps 60% of the time, according to this witness. This also contradicts Cutler’s opening statement, wherein he referred to the fact that the stormtrooping henchmen stormed the castle and “fired a dangerous taser gun” at Spector. I don’t think that a taser gun is necessarily dangerous if the leads don’t even penetrate the suspect.

This scenario does, though, bolster the testimony of prosecution witness Michael Brown, who testified “I saw the barbs of the Taser clipped into his shirt … the Taser barbs were not attached to the skin,”

Hammond then went on to describe how the officers on the scene immediately tried to control Spector, and that the lead officer pushed Spector towards the stairs and knocked him to the ground, where Hammond and the lead officer each grabbed one of Spector’s arms to get him into a position to cuff him. Hammond says that the officers then did a search of the residence to ensure there were no other victims or suspects in the house.

Alan Jackson brought out on Cross examination that if Spector had complied with the officer’s instructions that no force would have been necessary and that none of these tactics, such as the taser gun would have been used if Spector had cooperated with the police and not resisted arrest. Hammond agreed that this was true.

Hammond also testified that when the officer’s entered the house that none of them disturbed the body of Lana Clarkson, that none of them moved the gun from its initial position that he noted it was in when they entered the house – he made a note in his report that the gun was under her left calf.

During the break the judge explains on the record the contents of an in camera hearing held yesterday. He informs the court that he has received a sealed proffer from the defense as to the body of testimony they would like one Baby Dol Gibson to give to the jury. We know that what she wants to say is that Lana was a high class hooker in her stable of girls, and that she has a “trick book” which proves it. Although from all reports and pictures of said trick book, it’s obviously a doctored piece of crap. The judge announces that *at this time* he has ruled that Miss Gibson’s testimony is inadmissible, irrelevant and without value. Unless future actions merit, she will not be testifying. Also, since the proposed testimony is so inflammatory and prejudicial to the prosecution and Lana and her family he has sealed the proffer until the end of the trial.

The judge also announces that he has received reports that Baby Dol has been emailing and reaching out to members of the press and has been giving interviews despite the fact that she is still under subpoena. The judge warns her, through her counsel who is present in the courtroom, that if she continues to do so she will be subject to the appropriate penalties under the law.

The defense then passes on calling the undercover officer – who was referred to only as Officer Pee (as opposed to Pie), during Hammond’s testimony. They tell the court that Hammond was able to testify to all the things that Pee would have testified to, so he is released from court.

Next to take the stand is Dan Anderson, who works for the coroner’s office as a toxicologist and criminalist. He testifies that although it is certainly unusual for them to get a urine sample ante-mortem, they received Phil Spector’s urine sample in this case because the Alhambra department could not handle the tests that they were asking the coroner’s office to perform. He tested Spector’s urine for a long list of drugs that the investigating officers determined that Spector had access to, including opiates, cocaine, alcohol barbiturates and specific drugs that Spector had prescriptions for.

Anderson reports that the tests were positive for Topiramate, a generic name for Topomax, which he describes as an anti-seizure medication, as well as Prozac, and that he wasn’t able to test for the presence of Viagra, although it was on the list of drugs he was requested to test for, since his lab didn’t have the capability at the time to do so.

Anderson then testifies about the toxicological screening done on Lana Clarkson’s blood sample – which screened for basically the same drugs as screened for with Spector’s urine sample. The testing found elevated levels of Hydrocodone, commonly found in Vicodin , with a result of 0.7 micrograms per milliliter. Testing also revealed that Lana’s BAC was .12 from the heart blood and .14 from her femoral blood.

On cross Jackson inquires as to Phil Spector’s alcohol levels according to the test done on his urine sample, and Anderson reports that it was .07%, (and this test was taken 13 hours after the shooting). Although Anderson warns that extrapolating backwards from sample to time of event occurrence is never reliable and seldom done. (Although it doesn’t stop me from doing so.)

Next witness for the defense is Robert Alan Middleburg, another forensic toxicologist and Laboratory director for NMS Labs in Pennsylvania. This is the lab that did the toxicology tests on Anna Nicole Smith – and you know that this case has to be a snap compared to that one.

Amazingly enough – I don’t mind this witness. He loads better than that creepy DiMaio guy. I think he’s easy to understand, he’s friendly and unassuming, he seems to testify as to his findings without a dog in the fight and he’s likeable. I also find it ironic that the one witness that the defense offers that I could actually believe is also the least helpful to their position and theory of the crime. They seem to want this expert to testify that urine samples are notoriously unreliable as to alcohol testing,  that urine should be collected in certain standard test tubes with certain colored tops with certain preservatives (giving me nasty flashbacks to the OJ trial and their whole EDTA and purple colored stopper vials arguments),  that yeast can grow in test tubes and contaminate the results and that Phil Spector is diabetic so he pees yeast and sugar. And OK, if this witness testifies to that, and I believe that, then what? What is the defense trying to have the jury believe? That Phil Spector was stone cold sober when he shot Lana Clarkson? Actually, I think it would be *better* for Spector and the defense team if they promoted the fact that Spector was absolutely flat out drunk – that might be a better thing for the jury to believe when they are looking at “lesser included charges”.

So Dr. Middleburg testifies that urine is a waste product, that you should void before giving a sample, that sodium oxalate is an anti coagulant and that drugs and alcohol break down in the system and there are byproducts and that you can have stuff in your urine that you aren’t being affected by – like an aspirin. If you take an aspirin today for a headache he can test your urine three days from now and find aspirin in your urine even though it is not affecting your body pharmacologically today, and you headache went away three days ago.

He agrees with Anderson about all the drugs that were found in Spector’s system, and really only goes into the adverse effects of these particular drugs on someone’s system. He explains that the prozac, neurontin and Topomax are known to cause tremors, and that these tremors are involuntary. And now I wonder if the defense is going to argue that Spector shook too much to pull the trigger, or if they are hinting that the shaking caused the gun to go off as he held it.

Middleburg then describes the testing of Lana’s blood and bile. He agrees with Anderson that there was vicodin in her system. that it tested at a level of 0.07 micrograms per milliliter, and that this is a drug that causes lethargy, tiredness and sedation of the central nervous system. which, by the way, it absolutely does not do to me. I am on Vicodin and it never makes me tired. In fact, it relieves so much of my pain, I get more energetic –  leading to my doing more and sometimes “overdoing” it, which leads to more pain the next day. I have to be careful not to allow the energy I feel when my pain goes away to cause me to suddenly decide to mop the floors or bend and lift, even though I now feel like I can do that.

Linda Kenny Bade, the defense attorney questioning this witness, then tries to sneak in a veiled question about a loose pill that was found in Lana’s handbag, and what the side effects of this drug might be, and about Lana’s platelet count. She asks about a pill marked “zenith 4266”, as if she just has *no idea* that this drug is acyclovir, and what this drug is used to treat. Her implications are clear, but thankfully the judge shuts down this area of questioning after a hurried objection from the prosecution.

Alan Jackson, on cross examination, asks the witness to “assume” – assume that we know from receipts and witnesses that Spector drank a daiquiri, then some rum, then another daiquiri,….” etc. He asks the witness if he would expect that person’s BAC to be .07% after 13 hours. The witness concedes that this would be possible. Jackson also asks the witness about “smelling alcohol on someone’s breath” and the witness explains that what people are really smelling when they say that someone “smelled of alcohol” is just the actual drink, and that there are lots of non alcoholic drinks that can smell like alcohol – and by the way, since Spector is diabetic, he can smell like alcohol anyway, because of the ketones that diabetics naturally put out. Which I think is bullshit, but I’m no expert.

Court will not be in session on Thursday again this week. Rosen likes Thursday’s off, for some reason. He wants the day off almost every Thursday. I think that there’s enough lawyers sitting at that table that if one of the lawyers needs to be off, they can still continue. I mean, Cutler is off filming his TV show and he says that he can keep up by watching Court TV, so I don’t know why Rosen feels that his presence is necessary.

There are rumors and murmurings that Henry Lee was supposed to testify this Monday. I say “fat chance”. He isn’t coming anywhere near this courtroom or Judge Fidler ever again. Lee don’t like people that mess with his reputation or question his “World Class” status.

I think we’ve seen all we are going to see of Dr. Henry Lee.

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7 Responses to “CA vs. Spector – The Stormtrooping Henchmen Take the Castle”

  1. Susan said

    Love your posts. You make my day!

  2. michele said

    I can’t tell you how much I love your writing, and eagle-eyed reporting. You have it all over APs Linda Deutsch. Great job.

  3. Gail said

    Great job on your reporting! I enjoy readings your posts every day. They are well written as well as witty. Keep and the good work and THANKS!

  4. noor b said

    You write: “He then said to the police officers “You’ve got to come and see this”, a phrase that got all the attorneys to a sidebar”.

    The reason for the sidebar, was because the defense is trying, sneaky sneaky, to bring into evidence the statements Phil S gave to the police, at the time he was arrested.
    The judge told the defense more than once, that the prosecution did not bring this in, so the defense can’t neither.
    These statements can only come in if Phil S. takes the stand himself.

    Really enjoy your update every day!!!
    Keep them coming.

  5. The judge told the defense more than once, that the prosecution did not bring this in, so the defense can’t neither.
    These statements can only come in if Phil S. takes the stand himself.

    Yup. I talked about this briefly way back on the opening day of the trial when Cutler whined that he was caught with his pants down.

    That seems so long ago, doesn’t it?

    https://thedarwinexception.wordpress.com/2007/04/25/

    I was surprised the defense was allowed to get in as many prior statements as they did. They were all quite self serving.

    Kim

  6. abarclay12 said

    I love your breakdowns of the Specter case. I’m mostly fascinated with his hair, but it’s good to know wtf is happening in there. I love his stormtrooper analogy though.

  7. Catherine said

    I now look forward to reading your daily report on the trial more than the trial itself! Great, great job Kim!! Thank you! Please don’t stop writing.
    Catherine

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