CA vs. Spector – Who Has Lisa Been Blooming?
Posted by thedarwinexception on July 24, 2007
This mornings session was devoted to motions and the marking of all the prosecution’s exhibits and photos into evidence – a mundane, routine piece of housekeeping. It was made a little lighter and more interesting through some of the defense’s objections to certain exhibits. I found it rather funny that the defense objected to the introduction of Spector’s “booking sheet” as evidence because the picture was “unflattering”, which prompted me to scream at the TV “Dude! Have you *seen* your client?” If the defense attorney’s think the booking sheet photo is unflattering they ought to see some of the still pictures of old Phil napping at the defense table. Those aren’t exactly Glamour Shots, either. Dixon sums it up best when he tells the judge: “I don’t see the prejudice. He looks like he often looks.”
But the defense made cursory objections to transcripts of the messages Spector left on some of the “prior bad acts” witnesses answering machines, on the grounds that transcripts aren’t evidence, and a photo of the “weapon” (the prosecution fixed all the exhibits that said “murder weapon”, redacting them to “weapon”) because the photo of the “weapon” was cumulative, and they made an objection to a composite photo of Lana at the coroner’s office because it was “inflammatory”.
The most interesting objection they made was to the taped interview with Adriano DeSouza – they object to it being entered into evidence. Alan Jackson tells the judge that it definitely should be entered, as Brunon spent so long on the cross of DeSouza, and in a large part Brunon’s cross dealt with the fact that De Souza had trouble with his language skills. The prosecution argues that this interview is the best evidence of the level of De Souza’s language skills at the time of the shooting.
The defense is overruled on many of their objections to exhibits and photos – even the “unflattering” booking photo. The judge says that he will give the jurors a limiting instruction with regards to the transcripts, telling them that the best evidence is the tape or video itself, not the transcript.
The defense then presents their 1108.1 motion – which is basically asking the judge to throw out the case because the prosecution can’t reasonably be expected to win or sustain their charges with the evidence they have presented. This is a fairly routine motion, and is done simply to preserve the issue for appeal.
But then the defense also asks the judge to dismiss the 187 charge of Second Degree Murder and to replace it with the 192 charge of Manslaughter. The defense argues that the prosecution has not shown the requisite malice needed to endorse and sustain a charge of Second Degree murder, as required by the statutes.
187. (a) Murder is the unlawful killing of a human being, or a fetus, with malice aforethought.
(b) This section shall not apply to any person who commits an act that results in the death of a fetus if any of the following apply:
(1) The act complied with the Therapeutic Abortion Act, Article 2 (commencing with Section 123400) of Chapter 2 of Part 2 of Division 106 of the Health and Safety Code.
(2) The act was committed by a holder of a physician’s and surgeon’s certificate, as defined in the Business and Professions Code, in a case where, to a medical certainty, the result of childbirth would be death of the mother of the fetus or where her death from childbirth, although not medically certain, would be substantially certain or more likely than not.
(3) The act was solicited, aided, abetted, or consented to by the mother of the fetus.
(c) Subdivision (b) shall not be construed to prohibit the prosecution of any person under any other provision of law.
This charge carries with it a sentencing term of 15 years to life.
On the other hand, Manslaughter is defined by the California statutes as follows:
192. Manslaughter is the unlawful killing of a human being without malice. It is of three kinds:
(a) Voluntary–upon a sudden quarrel or heat of passion.
(b) Involuntary–in the commission of an unlawful act, not amounting to felony; or in the commission of a lawful act which might produce death, in an unlawful manner, or without due caution and circumspection. This subdivision shall not apply to acts committed
in the driving of a vehicle.
It is basically 187 *without* the element of malice. This charge carries with it a maximum sentence of 11 years.
Alan Jackson argues against this reduction in the charges, saying that there was so malice – that when Spector pointed the gun at Lana, that carried with it all the malice one needs to charge Murder in the Second degree.
“We need only to prove that the defendant acted in a manner that was in disregard to human life. That act was pointing the firearm at another human being. He’s done it over and over. He was drinking, he was alone with a woman, he got violent and reverted to his old standard – pulled a weapon in a bureau inside a holster in his home. He exerted his will and whether he sneezed or she slapped his hand or he made good on his word, he intentionally pointed it at her and when it went off, that, finally, allowed his promise to come true. At some point, he was going to put a bullet in a woman’s head.”
Which sounds a little like a practice run of closing arguments, and if so, it sounded pretty good. And it must have been convincing, because it prompted Fidler to rule that “For the purpose of 1118.1 there is more than enough evidence to let this matter go forward to the jury on the charge of murder. The motion is denied”
Having disposed of that, we go forward with another witness who claims to be a friend of Lana’s – and a friend of Punkin Pie’s. This witness has been ducking the defense for several weeks, and the prosecution had asked for a little more time to check his background before the defense called him. The judge ruled that they could defer their cross examination of the witness until later, even though the defense essentially “vouched” for the witness. The prosecution, perhaps having the whole “Raul Julia Levy” debacle in mind, choose not to rely on the defense’s vouching for the witness. And really, can you blame them?
So Greg Sims is allowed to testify immediately, and he gets on the stand to relate that he is a producer of “high end” independent films, (Not “schlock”) and he explains that “independent films” are those that are not attached from inception to any of the major studios, that they are funded through investors and then shopped around to major studios, who may or may not pick them up for distribution. He goes on to say that one of his films, “Touch Me”, was the first starring role for Amanda Peet. He doesn’t mention that Greg Louganis, the high diver who hit his head on the board at the Olympics that one year, also appeared in this film.
Sims also says that he was, at one time, a personal manager to several actors and actresses, including Nancy McKeon, who was a regular on the hit TV show “Facts of Life”, and that he is now starting to focus more on music and managing European bands.
He says that he was subpoenaed by the defense through investigator Tawni Tyndall just last week, and that he knew the defense had been trying to reach him for some time, that he was being cooperative as far as returning their calls, but that he was not anxious to be here.
Rosen asks Sims if he knew Punkin Pie, and, by extension, if he knew Lana. Sims says that he knew them both – that Pie had been in a movie he produced called “To Die For” (I don’t think it’s the same one that Nicole Kidman was in), and that they remained friends after that experience. He started going to Pie’s “promotions” at Backstage in the late 90’s, which is where he met Lana.
He says that they were “cordial”, knew each other mostly just from hanging out at Backstage, and that he saw her anywhere from once a month to three times a month when he wasn’t traveling. And I really wonder exactly what he can contribute to these proceedings, since, really and actually, I see our Vet more often than that.
But then he drops a little tidbit that I find fascinating – he says that he started going to the Backstage Cafe “from the first night they opened”, because he knew the “investors”. Which is intriguing. Since he knew “Pie” so well, and all, and they were such good friends, yet Pie says that she wasn’t aware that the Kessel brothers were investors in the Backstage Club until she read an article in Vanity Fair that said so. I think this is two things that he prosecution can impeach Pie on – counting the whole “Michael Bay made Lana suicidal” thing.
So Sims goes on to relate an incident that happened between Lana and him one week before her death. He had an office in the old St. Regis Hotel. Really, it was a suite of rooms where he worked a lived a few nights a week. One night after being at the Backstage he had an impromptu party at his suite with 40 of his closest friends from Backstage, including Lana and Pie.
As the night wore on, and the mini bar was raided and emptied, people eventually wandered off and left. Pie left, but for some reason Lana stayed behind to talk to Sims for a while in the bedroom. They were sitting on the bed, talking about life in general and how unhappy Lana was with everything – Hollywood in general, her career in particular, and the fact that she had no children, which seemed to be a source of great sadness for her.
Sims said that they sat there and talked for several hours, and that the Lana he was talking to was in stark contrast to the Lana he usually knew as a happy, upbeat, positive person, and that even over the course of the evening her mood degraded. At the beginning of the party, she was the regular fun, striking person he always knew, but that as time wore on and she drank more, she became somber and outwardly demonstrative and emotional.
Sims made a point to say that “all” of his friends in the business had, at one point or another, been the way Lana was that night – despondent and railing against the unfairness of the system, the way their careers were stalled or not going anywhere, and that what he heard from Lana that evening was similar to the other times that he had heard it -“you know how people get when they are drunk and emotional?” He asked – “When it’s a guy you want to smack him, when it’s a woman, you just want to comfort them.” Making me wonder if he ever smacked Greg Louganis – or if he ever comforted Nancy McKeon.
Sims had a very hard time remembering specifics of the conversation – he didn’t remember any boyfriends names – he just remembers the “sense” that someone had recently dumped her. He remembered that she was having problems with her family, but didn’t remember specifics. He thought she might have been recently dumped from a play or job, but he couldn’t remember the details. He knew that Lana was inebriated, but he couldn’t remember exactly what she was drinking. All he could really say with any certainty was that she was crying, that she was depressed and that she hated her life.
And despite the fact that he could remember very little about what they talked about – he did seem to remember that she had a purse with her that evening and that she had it with her on the bed as they were talking. And he remembers that he recommended she get therapy – and she just cried in response to that suggestion.
He also testified that it was clear to him, from seeing Lana “one to three times a month – when he was in town”, that she and Pie were very best friends, and that they did all the things that “best girlfriends do”, like talk to each other on the phone 24/7 – how he would know they talked on the phone 24/7 is a question for the jury.
So after Sims and Lana talked on his bed, next to her purse, for a couple of hours and Lana got progressively more despondent, Pie finally came back to the suite between 3 and 3:30 in the morning to get Lana.
Sims says that Lana was reluctant to leave, since she was comfortable on the bed, but she eventually got up, with Pie’s help, and he helped them walk to the elevator and they left.
Sims testifies that after Lana’s death Pie was devastated. Pie went from being a fun and happy person to someone so depressed she couldn’t get out of bed. No one asks him if Pie ever told Sims about the conversation she had with Lana wherein Lana told her she wanted to “end it all”. I wish someone *had* asked him this, since he describes his relationship with Pie as “close friends” and says that he often called to check on her after Lana’s death. Seems like that conversation might be something Pie would have mentioned, if only in the context of “I should have done something to help her – I should have done more – I feel guilty”.
Dixon gets up to cross examine the witness for the prosecution. He immediately launches into how the witness came to the attention of the defense. He asks if his first interview with Tawni, the defense investigator, was just this past week on July 19th, and he says yes, although he had talked to her on the phone previously. He also admits that he sat down for an interview with court TV in May, despite his hesitation at “getting involved in the case at all.”
Dixon then asks Sims about his business life, how being a producer of independent films can be a risky business, and how he has certainly had ups and downs during his career, and Sims agrees that yeah, he’s in a risky business, although there are certain things one can do to limit the risks, like make good films (not “schlock”), and work with the right people. But Dixon’s point is made – Sims doesn’t exactly look suicidal, although he is in the same business Lana is in, and as a producer he probably has more on the line with each new venture than she has.
Dixon then makes the point that the defense had asked Sims only about one evening – that there were plenty of conversations between Sims and Lana and not all of them consisted of her crying on his shoulder complaining about her life. Sims admits that he generally found Lana to be a hopeful, happy person.
Dixon then asked Sims about Punkin Pie after Lana died, and asked him to expand on his earlier testimony that he had called Pie off and on to check on her. He asked about the nature of Pie’s depression after Lana’s death, and asked if this was an ongoing condition. When Sims agreed that it was, Dixon asked him if Pie’s depression was different than Lana’s. Sims said that yeah, he wasn’t a doctor or anything, but, Pie’s depression was deep and continual. Dixon then asks if Sims had called Lana after that evening to check on her during her depression, the way he did Pie, and Sims says no, he never called. Dixon asks Sims if that was because he didn’t have the same level of concern with Lana that he had with Pie, that the depression was different between them, and Dims says that he talked to Pie about Lana’s condition that night, in a phone call the next day, but he was traveling, and he couldn’t remember where he was when he called.
Then Dixon questions a little more about the whole “Court TV” thing, and how it happened to be that even though he was *so* reluctant to come to court and testify, Sims had no problem sitting down for an interview on Court TV.
Sims says that he got “bad info”. He says that he was told that if he appeared on Court TV, he would never be called as a witness in the case, which is what he was trying to avoid. But he doesn’t attribute his wanting to get out of court as the only reason he went on Court TV – he also mentions that he has a friend over there – a friend who is an anchor – and that when this friend’s producer, Ann Hartmeyer, called and asked if her could come on to the friend’s show to “paint a fuller picture of Lana” – he couldn’t refuse, “because she was my friend.”
“Because Lana was your friend?”
“No – because Lisa Bloom is my friend”. Uhhhh Ohhhhhh…..I’m thinking it’s going to be “Guest Anchor and Politan” tomorrow morning. And I’m wondering if this has anything to do with the fact that Lisa Bloom’s mother is Gloria Alred and Gloria had a date with Phil Spector once – and I’m wondering just how good of friends this Sims guy and Lisa are???? Damn it, I’m going to have to skip People’s Court and watch fucking Bloom and Politan tomorrow morning. And you just know People’s Court was going to be a good one, too, where the guy lent the other guy money with a “verbal contract”.
There was then a long rambling redirect examination, in which Sims got more and more creepy and nasty. It seems the longer he was on the stand, the more he was thinking “Fuck that bitch – she wasn’t *really* my friend…” and he just decided to throw Lana’s memory to the wolves.
Or maybe it was because he got busted about Lisa Bloom.
Finally we get to redirect, which again is just a reiteration of what was said before, with the added point of “Lana got up to go to work every day that week after you had the talk with her, didn’t she?” Which, of course, she did. And Sims had to agree she did.
And then he is excused – but ooops, He’s *Subject to recall.* And I get my first real laugh of the day when Sims looks at the judge and says “Can I leave the country?” And I can’t help but wonder if he’s fleeing from Pumpkin Pie or Lisa Bloom, and then I can’t help but wonder what the fuck kind of world we live in where Lisa Bloom and Pumpkin Pie would have a “mutual friend”.
Then we have a new witness. And he ends up being one of those “you were for the defense, but now you work for US” witnesses that the prosecution finds themselves up against so often.
This is Robert Kenney – a homicide investigator for the Sheriff’s department. I wonder if he is like Linda Kenney Baden’s brother or something, but no one asks.
He went to the residence of Lana Clarkson shortly after her death. He didn’t break in or anything, Fawn Clarkson, Lana’s sister was there to let him in along with the family attorney.
He testifies that he gathered a bunch of documents and papers and read through a bunch of them. One of the reasons they had gone there was to see if there was any evidence that there was a pre-existing relationship between Spector and Clarkson. He found no evidence of that. He says that he checked Lana’s cell phone found in her house to see if any calls were on there from Spector. There weren’t. These particular investigators were not looking for any “state of mind” evidence.
For some reason the defense starts asking about “were there any images on the walls devoted to a particular actress?” And the witness says “yeah, there were a bunch of Marilyn Monroe posters and stuff.” And so we go back to that tired old subject. Because, you know, if Marilyn had shot herself in the mouth, or if she had gotten all dressed up and went to some stranger’s house and killed herself there, instead of home alone in her bedroom, and if she had been as attached to her purse as she was to her telephone, then well, it would just be the *same fucking thing* as the way Lana killed herself, right?
The more the defense brings this up, the more it seems desperate and ridiculous.
The witness then testifies that there were two computers in Lana’s house, a desktop and a laptop. The investigator’s took the laptop, but not the desktop, because Fawn said she never used that one.
And there was no 2003 day planner – which the defense seems to think is some suicidal thoughts in action – people who are suicidal never buy calendars, right? I mean, that would kind of be a waste of money, right?
The prosecution, on cross examination, makes this witness their own, and has Kenney describe the cottage as neat and well kept, with only one area that was rather disorganized – the back of the couch where Lana had a bunch of scripts and screenplays and piles of papers and lots of different things she was working on. Ahhhh….the prosecution says – so she seemed busy? Yes, the witness agrees.
The witness also describes some “happy message” blocks he found – he doesn’t remember the exact words but they were “positive messages” – that had the tone of “Be Successful – Be Happy.” Just the kind of thing you find in the home of a suicidal drunk maniac.
The next witness is another expert – a forensic pathologist named Werner Spitz. He doesn’t even get through his CV before court is adjourned for the day.
After the jury leaves, the Prosecution asks to speak to the judge about Spitz’s report. He referenced Lana’s “Life Story” – which had earlier been deemed inadmissible by the judge. He also refers to movie clips and medications that the court has tried to be discreet about. The prosecution wants to make sure that Spitz has been instructed that he cannot testify about these things.
Then the defense says that they want to take the jury on a field trip to the foyer at Spector’s castle. The prosecution wants to see the place first, and the court wants to make sure we don’t have another “OJ field trip” on our hands and that the scene does not get “managed” or “staged”, so they will have a preview, as well.
But I hope the cameras get to go along, too. How fun! A field trip!
Tomorrow we will all be lulled into sleep by the Honorable Werner Spitz.
I will get a lot of knitting done, I am sure.