The Darwin Exception

because it's not always survival of the fittest – sometimes the idiots get through

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CA vs. Spector – Another Woman, Another Date, Another Gun

Posted by thedarwinexception on August 21, 2007

 So, this morning both Bruce Cutler and Linda Kenney Baden are back in the courtroom. The judge refers to them this morning as “The two lost lambs”, which makes me wonder if an image of “two lambs coming home for the slaughter” is also in his head – because now it’s in mine. We knew that Cutler would be back once taping for his faux judge show was through, so his presence isn’t as curious as Linda Kenney Baden’s. Did her husband being finally off the stand have anything at all to do with her sudden recovery from the virus even her 157 times over doctor husband couldn’t diagnose? I’m not accusing her of anything, but the odd timing of her illness and how it dovetailed so nicely with her husband’s appearance and extended time on the stand is quite curious, don’t you think?

As is usual, we take up some matters that need to be ruled on or brought to the judge’s attention outside the presence of the jury – today the judge says that he is ready to rule on the privilege issue that the defense brought up last week. The defense wants to call two psychiatric witnesses and want to have some medical records admitted into evidence – Donna Clarkson, as executor of Lana’s state and her closest living relative, has asserted, through her attorney’s, her privilege in the matter.

The judge refers to briefs that Donna Clarkson’s attorneys have filed with the court on her behalf naming her the holder of privilege under the probate code. The judge says that there is case law which says that Donna Clarkson cannot be held to be the holder of this privilege – that under probate code there has to be a case filed and opened, and in this instance, there is no case in probate court, therefore Donna Clarkson cannot be held out as holding privilege for the estate, when technically, there is no estate under California law.

The judge then deems that since there is no holder of privilege, privilege cannot be asserted. He finds for the defense and rules that all items they listed that they wanted turned over to them therefore be turned over. He hands the defense a fat manila envelop full of materials as handed to the court by the attorneys for Donna Clarkson, including medical records. 

Alan Jackson, having been defeated on the privilege objection, then files a new objection with the court on the grounds of relevancy. And also an objection of unintelligibility – he says that these medical records may as well have been written in Greek – they are handwritten notes from two different doctors, Badra and Kudrow – doctors whom Lana saw for headache problems. Jackson would like to be informed as to what the defense is specifically seeking and why they are seeking it in regards to these records.

The court asks the defense what they are seeking and in what context so that the judge can rule on the relevancy issue raised by the prosecution. The defense explains that they simply want Lana’s patient history, described by her, when she saw these doctors and was treated by them in early 2001, shortly before her accident with her wrists. The defense claims that the court itself has made representations to the jury that Lana was on Paxil, and they would like to discover exactly what she was taking the Paxil for, since it isn’t clear in the medical records why she was prescribed this drug, which can be taken for headaches but is also prescribed for depression.

The judge asks the defense why they simply don’t ask Dr. Kudrow why he prescribed it, and the defense represents that they have talked to Dr. Kudrow and he asserts privilege. The judge says “So subpoena him – there is no privilege.” (And just as an aside, Dr. Kudrow is the father of the actress Lisa Kudrow).

The judge asks the defense what portion of these records they intend to put in, and the defense says they are referring to the portions of the medical history filled out by Lana when she was being treated by Dr. Badra wherein she checks off boxes referring to her severe headaches, her severe pain and her bleeding disorder.

The judge asks why the “bleeding disorder” is relevant and the defense says that this is relevant since she was on drugs which would make on more susceptible to bruising and bleeding. Of course, one wonders why this would be relevant, unless they are going to assert that it wasn’t the bullet that killed Lana, it was the drugs she was on which made her bleed to death.

Plourd says that to make all this easier, he will submit a report saying what pages they would like to admit and the judge says “Fine, and that if the prosecution wants to object to specific portions, they can also let the judge know that.”

Alan Jackson then gets up to state another objection he has – he points out that what Plourd is really saying is that if there is no reference he can find in Kudrow’s records that the Paxil or the Elavil that Lana was prescribed was specifically prescribed for her chronic headaches, that they will then simply assume that it was prescribed for depression. Jackson points out to the court that this is not a reasonable assumption to make because Dr. Kudrow is a neurologist, who works at a headache clinic and that his letterhead *says* that he is a neurologist who runs a headache clinic, and that if Dr. Kudrow were to treat Lana for depression or prescribe medications for depression, he would lose his license. Jackson says that he can’t believe that the defense is seeking to use these records to make such a misleading argument in front of the jury and that he is simply dumbfounded.

The judge responds by saying that someone needs to just subpoena this guy. Of course, it won’t be the defense, because they don’t want Dr. Kudrow anywhere near the witness stand where he can say that he prescribed Paxil to Lana for headaches. They would rather go by the undecipherable records and draw their own conclusions. And seeing their strategy slipping away, Plourd says again “Well, he wont talk to us, judge!” And then he tries another tactic – “Her records from Cedar Sinai indicate that she was being treated for Headaches and some depression – that’s the way *she* put it – and if it wasn’t Dr. Kudrow who was treating her for depression, then who was it? We’d like to know”. He doesn’t add “and we hope his records are just as undecipherable.”

Mr. Dixon then stands to say that well, the prosecution’s original objection somehow got lost in all of this – that these records are indecipherable and not able to be understood – and that the defense can’t read them anymore than the prosecution can and that the defense simply wants to testify during arguments as to what they mean and that’s inappropriate. Dixon says that they need an expert to get up and tell the jury what is in the records and that nobody can read these, that there is no foundation for admitting them if they are unintelligible.

 The judge then says that more than one witness has testified that Lana was taking Paxil, and to the extent that the records show that she was taking Paxil, they can be introduced – that the prosecution can also argue that the doctor was treating her headaches with the drug, since that is clearly on his letterhead and that the prosecution can certainly argue that there’s nothing to support that she was taking it for depression. He also says that the Prosecution can point out what Dr. Kudrow’s specialty is.

Jackson then says that when DiMaio was on the stand that Jackson asked him if he reviewed these records and DiMaio admitted that he was incorrect when he stated in his report that she was taking Paxil for depression.

On to other matters, the defense says that in light of the court’s ruling that Leslie Abramson will be able to be impeached regarding her association with the Menendez brothers and Dr. Baden, and that the waiver of privilege between she and Spector and Baden can’t be a “just for this one thing” waiver, they are going to pass on calling her. Which is surprising. This defense team has shot itself in the foot with so many of their decisions, I thought they would surely not wise up on this one.

And with that, the defense says that they have no more witnesses for their case in chief, and that they will rest at this time.

Which leads the judge to say that if this is the case, he needs to ask Mr. Spector if he is waiving his right to testify. He addresses Spector and tells him that despite what his counsel has advised him, it is ultimately his decision as to whether or not to take the stand in his own defense, and asks if Mr. Spector wishes to waive that right. Spector answers with a single, shaky, gravelly, “Yes”.

The Judge then addresses the gallery and says that the other day he was in error when he singled out and identified the person who had been speaking aloud in court and that this person had been misidentified to him. He apologizes and says that he won’t name the real culprit, but that everyone needs to watch their voices in court or they will be tossed.

And now a few people who have left comments here in the blog also need to apologize to Sprocket and fucking get over it. She wasn’t the one talking, her account on her blog is accurate, and that’s just fucking that.

With the defense case officially rested the prosecuting continues with it’s rebuttal case and calls their fifth “prior bad acts/pattern of behavior” witness, Devra Robitaille. And I’m really starting to feel like I’m the only female in the world who Phil Spector hasn’t waved a gun in the face of.

Devra Robitaille is a composer. She does many writing and composing projects, the most recent being for Disney. She is trained in music and attended Trinity College in London. Not Trinity College in Burlington, Vermont, which is the college I graduated from. She also sounds exactly ;like Sharon Osbourne – if you close your eyes you would swear Sharon was on the stand.

She met Phil Spector in the early 1970’s when she was working at Warner Brothers Records. Phil was transferred to her extension accidentally, and rather than just saying “wrong number” and hanging up, she spoke with him and they struck up a friendly relationship – so much so that he started calling her extension intentionally and using her as a liaison for other people in the company.

One of the reasons she may have initially started talking to him rather than just saying “wrong number” and hanging up was because she knew that he was in talks with Warner Brothers to develop a new branch of their company called Warner-Spector records. She was aware of the name “Phil Spector” and since she was in charge of budgets for Warner Brothers Records, she had probably had more than one of his contracts come by her desk.

The more they spoke on the phone, the more friendlier they became and Phil invited her down to the studio to sit in on one of his recording sessions. She believes it was one of the sessions with Cher.

She and Phil got along and she was invited to more sessions and found herself singing background vocals, and eventually, Spector asked her to join Warner Spector records as the Administrative Director, a job that was essentially being the mouthpiece or day to day operations manager for the company.

Robitaille accepted the job she describes as “terrific!” She was able to be around musicians all day and do the things that she loved – booking sessions, booking musicians, overseeing the contracts and making sure that the contracts and pay were in line with AFTRA rules, making sure liner notes were done properly, all things much more appealing to her than sitting in an office all day as she was in her job at Warner Brothers. 

She was working out of her home, but had daily interaction with Spector. She would go to his home each morning and pick up a package that contained her instructions for the day – who to call, what things needed doing, who she might have to meet with at Warner Brothers, if they were recording who and what she needed to coordinate. She testifies that Spector didn’t do a lot of the interacting with the executives, that this was what she did.

Robitaille says that this position with Warner – Spector lasted for 3 1/2 to 4 years, and that her duties and responsibilities increased over time as she gained his trust. She was working very long hours and loved the job. She also says that at about a year into her job, the relationship between she and Spector changed form one of complete professionalism to a romantic relationship. She says she did not intend it, that it just happened. He was charming, intelligent and her very best friend, and she thought the world of him. She looked forward to seeing him and liked the times when she would go to his house in the morning and there would be a reason for him to ask her in. They would play music together and as she was a composer, he would listen to her compositions and encourage her and tell her that her songs were great and that he would like to record some of them.

Robitaille testifies that part of her duties as administrative director of Warner – Spector was to coordinate the frequent “soirees” that Spector would throw, parties at his home with a parade of interesting guests, all of whom she would call to invite. She also was sometimes called upon by Spector to play the piano during the “soirees”, and was always the “last man standing” – the last to leave, since she was s guest, but not *really* a guest, since she also had obligations associated with her job as Spector’s assistant.

Robitaille says that she compartmentalizes her overall relationship with Spector during this time into three parts – the first part is when she was first working with him and it was strictly professional, the second part is their romantic relationship and the third part is when the romantic relationship ended and she went back to a purely professional relationship with him once again.

She then recounts an incident that happened at one of Spector’s “soirees'” during the tail end of the middle part of their overall relationship, towards the end of their romantic relationship.

Robitaille describes it as one of Spector’s “endless parties”, she doesn’t remember who the guests were that night, but she does remember that as is typical, she was “the last person standing” and she was extremely tired. It was the early morning hours and unlike Spector, who was drinking heavily, she doesn’t drink and was sober. She wanted to go home so she went to find Spector to tell him she was leaving, and when she told him he said “No, you aren’t leaving”, and he locked the door. She says she remembers standing in the foyer confused and upset and before she knew what was happening, there was a gun at her head – actually close enough that it was touching her temple. She says she hadn’t noticed the gun before and didn’t really know where it came from. It was along barreled shotgun that Spector was wielding with both hands. He said to her “If you leave, I’ll blow your fucking head off.” he was screaming and repeated the threat multiple times using different phraseology. “Blow your brains out”, “You’re not going anywhere”, she couldn’t say for how long, but however long it was –  it was far too long.

She says that instead of falling apart and crying and breaking down in sobs, she became “very British – very Mumsy” and she said quite sternly and forcefully “Knock it off! Put that down! Stop this right now!” It had the desired effect and after a few minutes Spector went and put the gun down and unlocked the door and she left.

For some reason, she did not quit her job immediately, in fact, she went back the next day, she believes now that she rationalized the incident, since she had known Phil for so long and liked him so well, and thought of it as silly and unimportant. She had seen him go from nice to angry before, but never did it culminate with a gun at her temple.

Finally she did leave Spector’s employ and she eventually returned to her native England. She worked for him for about a year after this incident, but it was never the same and not as close a relationship. She went back to being platonic and professional, and she credits this incident with the ending of their romantic relationship.

She says that during the time she was employed by Spector she knew the Kessel brothers and that they were always around – at all the recording sessions and at Phil’s house she says that they were the sons of a very good friend of Phil’s – Barney Kessel, who was a well known jazz musician. She says that the Kessel Brothers served as bodyguards for Phil.

Once she quit Phi’s employ she formed a band in the LA area and then in 1980 returned to London, where her career took off. She was quite successful, she played keyboards for a “quite famous band” and they toured and did quite well.

She came back to LA in 1986 and in the course of looking up old friends to let them know she was back in town, she called Phil. He offered her a part time job working at minimum wage running errands and making phone calls for him as a sort of assistant. She describes the job as boring and disappointing and not at all what she expected or anything like her previous employment with Spector. She ended up working with him this time for just a few months.

She says that she was invited to one of the “soirees” she was so familiar with – and this time it was not her responsibility to invite the interesting people who were there – basically now she was there in her official capacity as “flunky”, and she was actually surprised that she was invited at all.

She says there was music and alcohol and interesting people and the party lasted until the early morning hours. Just as was true in old times, she was the :man standing: and since it was past dawn she went looking for Phil to tell him she was leaving. She found Phil and said “I’m so tired, Phil, I want to go home, can you unlock the door, please?” She said she was standing there with her purse and then, just as before the gun came out and he was holding it at her face screaming ranting and raving the familiar tune of You’re not going anywhere, if you leave, I’ll blow your brains out, I’ll blow you away, I’ll fucking shoot you.”

Robitaille says “I went cold inside.” She couldn’t believe that this was happening yet again, and she responded very similarly to the first time – she pulled herself up “to my full four foot eleven” and like a nanny she scolded Spector saying :”what are you doing? Knock it off, put that gun down.”

This time her response was not as successful as the first time, when she was able to disarm Spector within minutes. This time the imprisonment went on for hours – although Spector did leave at one point, leaving her there alone to ponder what to do next. She testifies that she wasn’t afraid during the incident, and that she didn’t know if the gun was loaded or not. She wondered, but didn’t know for sure. Eventually, Spector unlocked the door and let her leave – but it was a couple of hours after she had first found Spector to tell him that she was going home. This was the end of their working relationship, and she did not see Spector again until she sat across from him in the courtroom as she testified.

And this is where I am left to scratch my head and wonder. Usually I like the prosecutors in this case – they seem to always follow up and tie up loose ends and ask the questions of the witnesses that I am asking myself, but they didn’t do that this time, which was strange to me. I have two things I would have followed up with this witness – number one – what did she mean when she said she went to Phil and asked him to “unlock the door”. Presumably they were both on the inside of the house – what kind of locking mechanism was in place wherein Phil had to unlock the door to let people out? Was it everyone who he had to let out, or just employees/girlfriends/women guests? I wonder if this locking mechanism was in place the night Lana was shot. Not that this particular witness could testify to whether or not it was, but she could at least testify to what was Phil’s practice, seemingly all the way back to the 70’s.

My second question would be – if Phil left you alone, why didn’t you call the police – or better yet, just leave? Was this locking thing partly the reason she couldn’t leave? Was there a working phone? I’d like to know her thinking and state of mind as to why she didn’t feel she could effect an escape even when Phil wasn’t there.

But the prosecution didn’t follow up on either of these points.

Robitaille then testifies that after the first incident she had initially quit her job, and then a couple of days later all the “:beautiful roses” were delivered to her house, and one of Phi’s bodyguards showed up to beg her to come back to Phil’s employ, and she did. The second time, no such deliveries were forthcoming.

She said that more than anything she was distraught over what she perceived as the disrespect that Phil showed her – she had known him for many, many years and she thught that he liked and respected her, and she was horrified that he would treat her this way.

Dixon then asks her about an interview that she gave to the Daily Mail in March of 2007. She said yes, she gave an interview to this paper, which printed it in a Sunday Supplement that was a showcase for women’s stories – she thought this was a female story and agreed to the interview. She received $4,000 dollars for the story, and it was published only in England.

Roger Rosen gets up to cross examine the witness, and immediately starts to ask the witness about the difference between her and Lana, not the striking similarities. He gets the witness to admit that no, she never met Lana, that no, she wasn’t there on the night that Lana died and that no, she hadn’t seen or spoken to Spector for 20 years.

He also has the witness agree that in neither of the two incidents she recounted was the weapon discharged, she was neither held down nor grabbed, and Spector never had her point the gun at herself or put the barrel in her mouth. In fact, she didn’t even know if the guns were loaded either time.

Then Rosen asks the witness if, after either incident, she called law enforcement to report what had happened, and the witness says “no”.

The witness testifies that the DA’s office first contacted her in March of this year. She met with them twice to discuss her testimony. She met with Mr. Dixon for about an hour two weeks ago and had a brief exchange with Mr. Jackson wherein he told her to “tell the truth”.

Two investigators had come to see her in Florida in March, and she spoke with them several hours. This meeting was tape recorded, but Rosen makes a big deal of the fact that the transcript doesn’t show them asking for permission to turn the tape recorder on until page 106 of 167, implying that they were talking “off the record” until then, and completely ignoring the fact that the first 106 pages of talking “off the record” seem to be transcribed in the transcription. Which even the judge seems to understand when the prosecution objects to the implication. saying “that misstates the evidence – there wouldn’t be a transcription without it being taped” and the judge adding “well, that’s what I thought.”

Rosen then asks the witness – “So you said you were something of a virtuoso – a child prodigy?”

And the witness replies that, yeah, she was, she was playing Chopin was she was 6 and received many, many scholarships when she went to school. She would say that she had talent.

Rosen then says “well, when you went to work with Warner Brother-Spector, you were working with legendary people, right? The Beatles, John Lennon, George Harrison…” and he names off people until the prosecution objects and the judge tell s\\s him to get to the point. And his point is that she was a part of that – to which the witness agrees.

When he tries to get her to say that it was “exciting:” however, she says no, it was “interesting, but not exciting.” Even at her age at the time of 23 or 24.

“No?” Rosen asks – unable to believe that someone who was working with the legendary Phil Spector wouldn’t be like pissing all over themselves. He goads her into saying that she was absolutely fucking thrilled, asking her “well, here you were, you had a musical background and now you were the direct liaison between Warner Brothers and Phil Spector…”

The witness pipes up and says “Well, it wasn’t my first job…”

Rosen then rewrites her job description and says “Well, weren’t you making all the decisions, didn’t you have a lot of authority?” And the witness tells him no, that wasn’t the way it was at all, that Phil Spector ran his company, she just carried out *his* directions.

Rosen, not quite content yet, then gets back to the whole “weren’t you pissing on yourself to be working with Phil” thing, and he says “You were impressed to be working with all these legendary performers, weren’t you?” And she says “No” – she then tries to explain that she grew up with the music scene in England, that he father was a successful arranger of music in England and that, in fact, he had arranged songs for the Beatles, so she truly wasn’t that impressed. Rosen can’t quit, and says “:But you didn’t meet the Beatles in England – you met them through Phil Spector” and she says “Well, I worked with them through Phil Spector – but I wasn’t impressed.

Not happy with having been shot down with that line of questioning Rosen then asks the witness if she met Phil’s children Nicole and Phillip while she worked for him the first time, and she, since he is obviously unable to figure this out for himself, points out that Phil didn’t have these children in the 70’s. Rosen should know this, actually, since Nicole testified as to her age when she was on the stand talking about their “All In the Family” dinners.

Rosen then asks the only really interesting question of the whole cross examination when he has the witness point out that when she was having this romantic relationship with Phil Spector she was married, and that she didn’t tell her husband of either the relationship or the gun incident with Phil.

Rosen then asks the witness if it is true that Spector was never violent with her during these incidents and the witness disagrees with that assessment, saying that when someone has a gun to your head, that’s pretty violent.

Rosen then gets into a whole line of questioning where the witness can do nothing but point out the inaccuracies in the transcript. He says “Isn’t it true that you told investigators this, that, the other thing…” And the witness points out over and over again that the place where she and the investigators were talking (a restaurant) was noisy and that there are a lot of inaccuracies and mis transcribed words and that she, in fact, pointed out a lot of these inaccuracies to Mr. Dixon in his office, and stuck post-its to the places where she found them. She says that as a matter of fact, it says in the transcript that she invited “magic dolphins” to a party (I’ll bet it was “Magic Johnson”) and that even her husband’s name is transcribed inaccurately.

Rosen then points out that even after these incidents, she continued her employment with Spector, and the witness agrees that, yes, stupidly, she did.

He then asks about the Kessel brothers and asks the witness if she realizes that at the time she says that they were working as bodyguards for Phil Spector they would have been teenagers. She says she never asked their ages.

Rosen then asks why in the world she gave up all that success in England – the fame, the tours, the autographs, the photo shoots, to come back to LA and take a minimum wage job with Phil Spector, and she says “well, no, that’s not how it happened at all.”

He then asks at least one of the questions I thought the prosecution should have delved into – how if Spector had left her alone for the “hour or so” that he did, and she was alone in the house, why she didn’t leave.

The witness says that she doesn’t know that it was “an hour or more” – she doesn’t know how long it was, and then Rosen asks her if she was alone in the house – you know, the Kessel brothers or no one else was there, were they? And she says that’s correct, that she was alone, but she didn’t move around the house or feel that she could leave, because, she says, “It was my job”.

Which is a really, really lame answer, and Rosen rightfully points out to her that at the time of the 80’s incident when Spector was holding her captive and then left the house, she was making minimum wage, and he points out that it’s rather unbelievable that she would consider her minimum wage job to be more important than her safety and security, and she agrees that it wasn’t more important, but Rosen wisely doesn’t allow her to elaborate which is why the prosecution should have explored this and really gotten into why the witness felt she couldn’t leave.

Rosen instead asks the witness if she has a bias against Spector, and she says “Absolutely not.” He asks if she would like to see the prosecution win and she says she hasn’t even thought about it – but he points out to her that in the transcript of the interview she gave to the two DA investigators she told them “I hope you guys win” and though at first she says she was “just trying to be sociable”, she later admits that yeah, she probably said that.

Rosen then asks the witness about the interview she gave, and asks if it wasn’t really a series of interviews. She says no, that she has given two paid interviews over the years, the first right after Lana’s death and the second is the one she spoke of with Mr. Dixon. One of these interviews was to an agency, and she doesn’t know where it actually ended up, but she was paid $5,000. for that interview. She also gave an interview to Mick Brown for his book “Tearing Down the Wall of Sound” – for which she wasn’t paid (good thing too, because I was going to email him and say “What the fuck -you pay her, but not me?”)

Rosen then says :”So, you have made over $9,000 from this case, right?” She agrees with that, but I wish she had mentioned that he probably makes that in a week off this case.

Rosen then asks if she has seen there prior testimony of the 4 “prior bad acts witnesses” and she says that yes, she saw some of it. He says “So you were aware of the substance of their testimony prior to being sworn in?” And she says yes, she was aware of it.

Dixon then re-directs the witness and immediately addresses Rosen’s last point, asking if the interviews that she gave were prior to her seeing the testimony of the 4 witnesses, and she says yes, and he asks if she told them basically the same thing she said on the stand, and she says “yes”.

He then addresses all the inaccuracies in the transcript and asks her the circumstances of the place where she was being interviewed and she explains that it was shift change at a very noisy restaurant where they were tearing down from one meal and setting up for another and that there were lots of times when it was too noisy to be heard.

He reiterates that she first read the transcript in his office and that she placed post it notes on some of the places where there were inaccuracies.

Rosen gets up to re cross and asks the witness “You didn’t turn down any of that $9,000, did you?” And she says No, even though the prosecution objects saying it is outside the scope.

Rosen then asks her where the post its are and she says well, she doesn’t have them, and Dixon gives Rosen the transcript with all the post it’s in it. Rosen glances at it and asks the witness if the notes on the sitckies are in her handwriting and she looks and says no.

Devra Robitaille is then excused and the prosecution calls their next witness, Dr. John Andrews, the consulting neuropathologist for the LA County Medical examiner’s office and the one who Dr. Pena consulted with when he did the autopsy on Lana Clarkson. Dr. Andrews actually examined Lana’s spinal column and his report was included as part of the final autopsy.

Dr. Andrews explains that a neuropathologist is trained in not only pathology but also receives additional training to be able to diagnose and examine the central nervous system and diseases and trauma related to it. The central nervous system includes both the spinal cord and the brain.

Alan Jackson asks the doctor is an injury such as the one suffered by Lana Clarkson would result in any reflexive movements after she was shot.

The doctor says that he cannot answer this with a yes or no, and goes on to explain that the type of injury that was inflicted in this case is a classic example of one that would produce spinal shock. Shock as most people know of it, such as when a loved one has a failure of the heart as a pump or a loss of blood so that the blood pressure drops – that is circulatory shock. Spinal shock is a phenomenon that occurs in the nervous system – when the spine is disengaged from higher systems and not carrying out signals and sensations to lower systems. There is no sensation, there are no reflex ability, there is no voluntary movement. It is a complete lack of function, the muscles are flaccid and lose their tone, and is caused by a complete transection or injury that occurs abruptly. It is most dramatic when it occurs high in the spinal cord, and when it is abrupt. Both of those conditions were met here. And when it is severe, which was also the case here.

Spinal shock doesn’t even need to occur because of a complete transection, all that needs to be in place is that the fibers that are attached cannot complete their job, if they are damaged or in enough “shock” to be even temporarily unable to function. This is why when a patient has a loss of use of the limbs due to a neck injury doctors will not go out and tell the family “The patient will never walk again” – the paralysis could be temporary and once the spinal shock wears off, the patient could very well regain use of his limbs. Spinal shock can be recovered from.

The Dr. then explains that the spinal cord and the brain are a closed system, there is a membrane that surrounds the brain and the spinal cord, then there is a layer with the spinal fluid and then the spinal dura, which is a tough outer membrane, then this is all protected by the skeletal system.

The doctor also says that different outcomes can be expected depending on how high or low the injury occurs on the spinal cord because different levels of the spinal column serve different parts of the body. Lana’s spinal column was severed at the first cervical section and the medulla, the base of the brain, which is the highest injury you can have unless the brain stem itself is involved.

The doctor explains there are two types of transection – an anatomical transection, wherein when you look at the spinal column with the naked eye you can see that all the nerve fibers are disconnected from the spinal column -there is also a physiological transection, wherein maybe only half or 3.4 of the nerve fibers are disconnected, and there are still some fibers passing down from the upper system to the lower system, but these fibers are so traumatized and so damaged – either from shock or lack of blood supply or some other trauma, that they can no longer conduct sensations. The doctor says that unlike a telephone wire, where if some wires are severed the signals will pass through the remaining wires, axons don’t act that way. in human bodies – even if some fibers are present and intact, they can’t conduct signals if they are traumatized.

Jackson then asks the doctor about the breathing mechanism and what the bodily mechanics of breathing are, but the judge says we will get into that tomorrow.

After the jury leaves, the defense says they would like a copy of the doctor’s CV – and a copy of his book. Jackson says the book was just published 5 minutes ago and that the one in court was an author’s copy which he assured the doctor wouldn’t be taken and marked as an exhibit. The judge tells them to work it out, but that the defense needs a copy.

The defense then asks the judge if he has ruled on the emails and the judge says that the medical records are all ok – they are not privileged, and that the ones dealing with depression, financial difficulties or desperation are fine, but where are they going with the ones that refer to tequila?

The defense says that she talks in one of the emails about hurting herself while drinking tequila.

And Alan Jackson says “This has no bearing on anything – so she talked about hurting herself while drinking tequila – was she trying to hurt herself?”

The judge says “well, the defense now has two theories of the case – they say this was either a suicide or an impulsive act while drinking and with pills – even if it wasn’t a deliberate act.”

Jackson says this would be fine if this was a slip and fall case – but she didn’t put the gun in her mouth accidentally – the defense is simply trying to besmirch the victim’s memory – even if it’s subtly, and that this case started with them trying to say she stole tequila from the House of Blues – another theory that went the way of the dodo. Jackson says that the prosecution has never argues that Lana wasn’t drinking that night or that she wasn’t drinking tequila specifically, and that this testimony would only be relevant to counter that argument.

The judge agrees that this may be just an attempt to besmirch Lana’s memory, but that even if it’s a stretch, it still falls under the evidence rules of what has already been testified to and he will allow it in. But he would like the defense to explain to him what the relevancy is of the sentence “You should have seen the crazy lesbo dance we did just like at a strip club with clothes on.” The defense withdraws the request.


34 Responses to “CA vs. Spector – Another Woman, Another Date, Another Gun”

  1. Sprocket said

    What a relief that was. I’m grateful Judge Fidler set the record straight. A big thank you to everyone who sent me encouraging words of support! It helped a lot.

  2. Patti said

    I only saw a small portion of the trial today but had a specific question about Phils reaction during the testimony of the 5th prior bad act. It appeared to me that he was truly glaring at her and at one point Baden turned to him and he looked down and didnt glare for a bit. And he did alot of eye rolling to specific statements. Espcially when she said he told her “she had talent” Am I imaging this???

  3. Patti said

    Ok, two seconds after I hit send I realized you couldnt see Phil Spector. Sorry for the goof. LOL.
    Did anyone watching court tv see what I did or is my dislike for him showing through.

  4. A.D.A. said


  5. Jezzabelle said

    Your blog is terrific. Even if I miss something, I never miss anything after reading your blog. Do you have court reporting skills? Do you use the court transcripts? Quite amazing.

  6. Lynn said

    Hope you don’t get tired of hearing how wonderful your blog is. I love your sense of humor…….it’s soooo LA with all of your interjections of ‘fuck this and fuck that’. It’s exactly how we talk, especially when on the f-ing freeway.

    Roger Rosen was so snide while questioning Devra Robitallie today. It’s obvious he has issues with women, both on and off the witness stand. So much so I’m beginning to think he was taken off of the breast too early, but I digress.

    For the most part Devra was able to stand up to his snarky questions. Let’s hope this LA jury puts the clues together re Phil’s past practice with women and guns and does the right thing in finding the mo fo guilty.
    After that I hope all of the defense lawyers find their careers in the dumpers. Payback is a bitch!

  7. A.D.A. said

    You’re so accurate and edgy that you’re now my source for info on this soul-deadening trial…& it sounds like a bad day for the partisans.

    The defense will still have to make the jury believe that a suicidal Lana got lucky, going home with a guy who had just the gun she needed.

    Made a $50 bet, going in, that Spector would be dead before the jury returns, so the verdict’s immaterial to me. If his escape plane crashes & he dies, I win! (A hung jury or mistrial voids the bet.) Starting to worry about my fifty now…that creepy little spider.

    As for “sprocket” – who gives a sh*t? I don’t like “The Archers”, either. THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT!

  8. Janice said

    A most sincere thank-you for your in-depth coverage of this trial…. Your writing is absolutely incredible and I most appreciate the time you’ve taken to document the “goings-on”…


  9. Gail said

    Thanks Kim, sure was a lot happening today, which made lots of work for you. I thank you, you are a real life saver for me, as I had an appmt in the afternoon.

    I am curiouser than Curious George when it comes to the Badens. None of these D attorneys have exhibited any common sense so far, so why would they start now? Exit, Enter, Exit, Enter LOL Just like a revolving door! lol

    Devra thought PS was romantic! O well, to each their own. I guess when the stars get in your eyes, one is blind. She was good tho, and she served her purpose to remind the jurors of the other four ladies who had been threatened at gun point. Full Circle!

    From your info, it sounds to me as if Dr. Andrews will carry the case to nail the long over due jailbird! bye bye Blackbird, oops I mean Baden 🙂 Oh I feel so much better now!

    By the way, did you hear about Baden being dropped from the S F DA’s Symposium? per Beth Karas-I sure hope this is true. Couldn’t happen to a nice guy, but I will feel better when I read it in print.

    Take it easy Kim, you are working so hard! Thank You! 🙂 Just so you know, you are greatly appreciated! YES!

  10. JayDee said

    With respect to your musings about locking mechanisms at Phil’s new digs, check your notes on the testimony regarding the condition of the lock and, specifically, the knob.

  11. gentleeyes said

    Thank you for your report. It was great as usual!

    I have a possible theory as to why Mike Baden and Linda Kenny Baden don’t appear to be in court at the same time. Is it possible that they are one and the same??!!! There are some similarities….bad hair, some same facial features,build…;-)

  12. Jim said

    What happened to Punkin Pie? She’s not coming back for a second round? I need answers, Kim, and you’re the one who can give them to me. 🙂
    As much as I have grown to loath Phil Spector during this trial, it is for Punkin Pie that I would like to reserve a special place in hell.

  13. With respect to your musings about locking mechanisms at Phil’s new digs, check your notes on the testimony regarding the condition of the lock and, specifically, the knob.

    Yes, I know that he had a funky lock, but I wish that little details like this could be reinforced for the jury when they come up – it’s not one of those details tht may be clear or even remembered at this late date, and it would be nice to be have the prosecutor’s point out that this was his practice all the way back to the 70’s.


  14. What happened to Punkin Pie? She’s not coming back for a second round? I need answers, Kim, and you’re the one who can give them to me.

    The defense has said they are going to recall her and Jennifer Botox Hayes during their sur-rebuttal case. Right now we are still in the Prosecution’s rebuttal case. When the prosecution rests their rebuttal case, and the defense gets to present their sur rebuttal witnesses, we’ll see the Pie and the Botox.

    It has been *said* that all the witnesses should be wrapped up by the end of the week, so we may not have to wait too long for the pie.

    But then again, who knows. The way these people add and subtract from witness lists – anything could happen.


  15. Holy Toledo said

    Hot damn, you nailed the whole she-bang again. LKB has absolutely no credibility now that she’s cured. Such timing. Neither Baden has credibility for that matter. I find that sort of manipulation especially unforgiving and hope the jury does too.

    You gotta love that damn British accent peppered with soirees and mumsy. I didn’t know that “being British” could equate to being courageous. I found it all to be pretty amusing in a way. The ole Brit held her own against the ever so obnoxious defense man. Shit, I can’t remember his name; that’s how important he is to me. Oh yeah, Rosen. Did you know the highest insult you can give a person is to forget his/her name? I’m serious.

    I’m glad Betsy Ross is exonerated. She had to have a horrible weekend.

    As for you, Kim, remember your bloggers when you reach fame and fortune because you got what it takes…’s just a matter of time.

  16. barskin said

    Great job, as usual, Kim!

    And, by the way, thanks for mentioning Judge Fidler’s fucking apology to Sprocket, and that’s fucking that! LOL

  17. Glenda said

    Oh no–do we really have to see Pie again? Please please save us from that torture. That woman is evil and demented and has no sense of style!

    Can’t the defense just say “that’s all folks” and put everyone out of their misery? They haven’t come up with a catchy phrase such as “if it doesn’t fit, you must acquit”. The only thing I keep thinking is “a tiger can’t change his drunken little stripes”. He pulled guns before, he did it again and this time something horrific happened. Whether by accident or design, a woman was killed by his hand. And you can insinuate and smear her all you want, no one is depressed enough to go to a stranger’s house and pull a trigger.

    So let’s get on to the part where the jury gets to tell Phil about the new wall of sound he will be listening to. . .

  18. Carolina said

    Another excellent wrap-up Kim.

    I am dyin’ to hear your take on today, That fucking Lawyer Rosen really gets my goat, he is the biggest ass kisser to the judge after he sticks his foot in his mouth and gets called on it.

    His juvenile testimony instructions to Devra who was clearly one of the most articulate witnesses we have seen. Too bad he didn’t lecture Punkin Pie’s friend in the same manner today. The defense is going down faster than the Titanic!

  19. […] CA vs. Spector – Another Woman, Another Date, Another Gun  So, this morning both Bruce Cutler and Linda Kenney Baden are back in the courtroom. The judge refers to them this […] […]

  20. […] CA vs. Spector – Another Woman, Another Date, Another Gun So, this morning both Bruce Cutler and Linda Kenney Baden are back in the courtroom. The judge refers to them this […] […]

  21. becci hale said

    I don’t know if anyone has access to the transcripts, but if I’m not mistaken, the first officer in the “castle” said that part of the back door lock on the inside was on the floor, or hanging loose and it looked as though the lock had been fixed so you couldn’t get it open from the inside. I was under the impression that you had to have a “tool” or something to open it. Hopefully if I’m right about the testimony, AJ will dwell on it in his closing.

    Love your blog, you’re hysterical and I’m “laughing out loud” as I read.

  22. Tara said

    Kim your blog blows sprokets away. Thank you for not being a chicken.

  23. Tara said

    you have the best trial blog of all and always will.

  24. groo said

    Great – as always, Kim.

  25. groo said

    As always, Kim, great report.

  26. Kathy said


  27. Do you have court reporting skills?

    No, I don’t, but that’s on my “list of cool jobs to have” too.


  28. Kim your blog blows sprokets away.

    I don’t think so…and I think comapring the two is like comparing “Survivor” to “60 Minutes”….different objective, different purpose, different content.

    I would hope that people enjoy both, for different reasons. Sprocket is actually inside the courtroom, and that’s a lot different than a wrap up and synopsis of the testimony.

    Thank you for not being a chicken.

    I have no idea what you mean or are referring to.


  29. Katprint said

    Re not calling 911 in the 1970s and 1980s:

    I remember growing up in southern California before the 911 system existed. You had to have the actual telephone number for the police department or the fire department or the hospital, to summon emergency aid. If you called “O” for the operator, she could not connect you to the appropriate police department if there was more than one station for your city.

    According to Wikipedia, the first US 911 emergency phone system was set up in Alabama in 1968, but it was not in use everywhere until the 1980’s. I remember when the 911 system was finally implemented in southern California and widely advertised so that people would start using it, about the mid-1980s. I also remember there were problems like a long delay when you called before you reached the dispatcher, so if you were really having an emergency then you were much better off to place a direct call to the appropriate agency.

    Obviously Devra Robitaille could not call 911 in the 1970s before the 911 system existed. If the 911 system existed at the time of the second incident in the 1980s, perhaps she did not know about it because she had been in Europe for the last ten years.


  30. Maureen said

    But she didn’t call police or an operator for help…she testified to that!

  31. LOL said

    Re: Another Woman Called Devra, Another Date, Another Gun

    Judge Fidler has let the kitchen sink into his courtroom for all intents and purposes and Bradley Brunon defense Lawyer is not wrong in saying that Judge Larry Fidler put his thumb on the scales of justice.

    Judge Fidler also has a bias – because just because defense lawyer Plourd knew of the surprising new testimony from Michael Baden does not mean that every defense lawyer knew.

    In addition Judge Larry Fidler should have kept his thumb off the scales of justice and let Bruce Cutler brucify these stupid string of female witnesses who were too dopey to press charges against Phil Spector for alleged wrongdoing and instead stayed in the same dysfunctional relationship with Phil Spector for years and years after and whom allowed Phil from time to time to put a gun up to their heads but NOT shoot them.

    However in the Hollywood Hills Lana Clarkson made the distinction of doing harm to herself in front of others – before Phil Spector was ever in her self-inflicted harm picture and thus I don’t believe Phil Spector should be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt Because there is reasonable doubt because Lana inflicted serious harm upon herself before she ever knew Spector.
    The parade of Phil Spector’s ex girlfriends is a diversion to the problems that Lana herself had.

  32. Kate said

    LOL Says:

    What are you talking about? Brunon already told the judge he HAD talked about with the other defense attorneys about it. So they DID know.

    As for allowing Cutler to brutalize the 5 women on the grounds they didn’t call police (although a couple did, they didn’t follow up). What would allowing Cutler show the jury about who pulled the trigger on Feb. 3rd? I’m sure Spector wouldn’t object to seeing the very women he already brutalized be brutalized some more by his lawyers. But I’m not sure the jury would enjoy that or that doing so would in ANY way benefit Spector. Kind of like insisting a defense attorney should be allowed to verbally rape a rape victim on the witness stand too. Sheesh.

    Spector can roll his eyes and shake his head while each is testifying -but the defense is NOT claiming it never happened to them. They are saying it doesn’t matter that it happened to them because it isn’t what happened to Clarkson. The prosecution’s theory is that this is what happened to Clarkson too.

    So what would Cutler screeching and pointing fingers at them about not calling police accomplish since they insist that in spite of these past bad acts, it isn’t what happened to Clarkson? The defense can argue their theory that it has nothing to do with what happened to Clarkson in their closing -which will probably go over better with the jury than Cutler screeching and pointing and jabbing his finger at a witness on the stand -who had already been brutalized by their client in the past and now his attorney is doing the same thing.

    As for your claim that Clarkson engaged in acts of harming herself -huh? Never heard AMY testimony whatsoever that she EVER engaged in reckless or impulsive acts at all, no testimony that she engaged in self-destructive acts -none. She drank at times and she took painkillers. Wow -in California that must…so unusual.

    But I can tell you why she would allow Spector to stick a gun in her mouth rather than resist. She had a commercial to shoot in just five days -and would lose the job with a split lip and missing teeth. She was supposed to work the next day at House of Blues too. No way HOB would want their VIP hostess greeting bigwigs with a split lip either. The woman was just starting to get back on her feet after nearly a year of unemployment and her savings drained -and her face was her living.

    Just like the other women, she probably figured doing what the little monkey with the gun ordered her to gave her the best shot at not just surviving, but without injuries that would result in MORE lost income and opportunities. She was wrong -this time the walking time bomb went off.

  33. noor b said

    Dominick Dunne, a great writer, his daughter was killed a long time ago, he knows a lot of famous people in LA and around the country, he is invited to their parties, and rubs elbows with a lot of very famous people, he has his own show on court TV, he writes articles for magazines, lots of them.
    He’s a big shot,

    He shows up in courtrooms and writes about what goes on in the trial.
    Mostly high profile trials.

    This is what Mr. D. Dunne does.

    He’s also at Phil Spector’s trial everyday.

    One day the Judge said in open court: I’m talking to the lady next to Mr. Dunne!

    The lady the judge was talking about is a blogger, who calls herself: sprocket.

    So now Mr.Dunne is associated to a blogger, named Sprocket, who mostly blogs about Mrs. Spectors nasty hair and the awful outfits she wears to trial every day, and about the “mommy”, and some other vague figures in the courtroom, like “K” and “W”, who just really want to be with Mr Dunne.

    Next thing you know, sprocket gets an apology from the judge, somebody had misidentified her to the judge, after all she did not talk about evidence that the jury could here, it was not she, and sprocket gets a “press pass”.
    Wow, that’s a big deal.

    The next day Sprocket wants to sit next to Mr.Dunne again, as she always has.

    But Mr. Alan Parachini, he’s from the official court’s public relation office tells Sprocket to sit in the back of the courtroom, she can not sit next to Mr.Dunne anymore.

    So Sprocket gets to sit next to Alan.
    She asks no questions like: why do I have to sit next to you?
    Why can’t I sit next to Mr.Dunne like I have in the past, every single day that I was here?
    What’s going on here?
    Nope, no questions what so ever.

    When she did get a change, she walked over to Mr. Dunne, and tells him what has happened.
    Sprocket writes on her blog: “His look told me all”.

    After that Sprocket walks out of the courtroom, to never ever return again.

  34. LOL said

    For Kate

    Bruce Cutler is a lawyer not a brutalizer. If he was I don’t think the California State Bar or New York Bar would let him practice law or brutalizing in a court of law.

    Judge Larry Fidler should have kept his thumb off the scales of justice and let Bruce Cutler brucify these stupid string of female witnesses who were too dopey to press charges against Phil Spector for alleged wrongdoing and instead stayed in the same dysfunctional relationship with Phil for years and years after and allowed him from time to time to put a gun up to their heads but NOT shoot them.

    However in the Hollywood Hills on Christmas Eve 2001 Lana Clarkson made the distinction of doing harm to herself in front of others – before Phil Spector was ever in her self inflicted picture

    FYI Lana Clarkson inflicted harm on herself by breaking two of her wrists on Christmas Eve 2001 an “accident”

    There were witnesses to Lana Clarkson’s two broken wrists who were David Stark and another by the name of Liverpool, who rushed her to the hospital and gave her a strong drug to ease her pain.

    Because of this prior self inflicted harm by Lana upon herself – this is part of the reason that I don’t believe Phil Spector should be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt

    I don’t believe Phil Spector should be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt because if Lana inflicted serious harm upon herself i.e. two broken wrists before she ever knew Phil Spector and before she ever took a huge risk in going home with Phil Spector a complete stranger in the middle of the night, then there is a higher probability that Lana inflicted serious harm upon herself again and “accidentally” but this time on Phil Spector’s time.
    The parade of Phil Spector’s ex girlfriends and their testimony only is a diversion and red herring to take away from the “accident” prone problems that Lana Clarkson herself had.

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