The Darwin Exception

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

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NV vs. Simpson – It’s Hard Up There for a Pimp – When You’re Getting Cross Examined by the Man

Posted by thedarwinexception on November 13, 2007

Tuesday’s testimony in the OJ Simpson hearing proved that with the advent of the technological era, there is no more “honor among thieves”. Not only did Thomas Riccio record everyone involved in the planning and execution of the “recovery/robbery”, including the actions of the Las Vegas Police Department as they processed his room as a crime scene, but Walter Alexander testified today that he and Michael McClinton decided that they, too, were going to make a stop on their way to McClinton’s home to pick up the “heat” and buy a mini cam to tape OJ’s words regarding the robbery, not only to cover their asses, but also maybe to sell the tapes and make some money.

You have to wonder what OJ thinks about all this, hearing his co conspirators and golfing buddies all testifying that not only did they not trust him, but that they were eager to tape him and sell their conversations to the highest bidder. And you know he’s already made a mental note: “Yeah, NEXT time you slit someone’s throat, pat them down for an IPod first.”

Walter Alexander’s testimony was the highlight of the hearing. On direct examination he was calm, collected, believable and consistent, testifying that OJ himself was the one who told him and McClinton to “bring your weapons”, after learning that McClinton had a concealed weapons permit. Here was the witness I had asked for – the one that OJ actually *told* “I want backup, I want someone watching my back, I want GUNS there in case something goes wrong.” When Alexander asked OJ “OJ, what if the police end up coming?” Alexander says that OJ told them “Fuck the police.”

Which only raised more questions my mind. Is OJ really that stupid or is OJ just that arrogant? No matter what you think or believe about this guy, whether you think justice was served in LA during the first trial or if you think OJ got away with murder, you have to believe that OJ is kind of a “marked man” as far as law enforcement is concerned. I think this hearing is indicative of the way most police stations around the country are going to deal with OJ if they even get a whiff of lawbreaking – charges are going to fly and cameras are going to come. Does OJ really believe that “the police are my friends”, the same assertion he made back in LA, or is it just that he thinks he is smarter than the police?

I don’t understand the statement “fuck the police” and I just can’t figure out where the guy is coming from.

But OJ went on to explain to McClinton and Alexander “What are the police going to do? Take me to jail for getting my own shit?” And Alexander testified “Well, you know, that sounded reasonable to me, so….”

Alexander also testified that shortly after this conversation, OJ either got a call or made a call to someone who OJ was telling “I got the heat”. Alexander said he now assumes that guy was Riccio, despite the fact that Riccio testified he had no idea guns were going to be involved.

OJ also explained to McClinton and Alexander that they wouldn’t have to actually take the guns out – they would just have to let the people in the room know that they meant business. This was going to be a simple operation, go in, intimidate them, and leave with the stuff.

McClinton and Alexander then left to go get the guns, with instructions from OJ to meet him at the Palace Station in an hour. McClinton and Alexander were late – Alexander testified that it was because they stopped at the spy shop to buy the camera to tape OJ after the recovery/robbery saying he wanted them to bring guns. The camera they bought never did work – or they couldn’t figure out how to make it work – and Mcclinton said it was no big deal, because they could tape OJ later on a recorder that McClinton already owned. But messing with the camera delayed them and they didn’t get back to the Palace Station until after 7.

Alexander’s testimony about the order in which the men entered the room was yet another configuration – none of the witnesses so far have actually agreed on how they entered the room. Alexander says that when he and OJ entered the room McClinton already had his gun out and was sweeping the room with it, ordering Fromong and Beardsley to the other side of the room, and yelling at them. He was only drowned out when OJ entered the room and started yelling over him.

Alexander also says that before they entered the room, OJ leaned over to McClinton and told him to put the gun in his hand,. Which changed the plan as far as Alexander was concerned, because OJ had earlier told them they wouldn’t have to take them pout at all. Alexander also says that the gun that he had tucked into his waistband never came out – he doesn’t even think anyone actually saw it, unless it was visible as he bent over putting things into the boxes and pillowcases.

He boxed and bagged as soon as he saw the gun in McClinton’s hand, wanting nothing more than to get the shit OJ wanted and to get the hell out of there. He’s also the one who took Fromong’s phone, keeping it in his hand as they walked out of the room and down the hallway.. When OJ saw the phone in his hand, he told Alexander to go give the guy back his phone, but Alexander couldn’t find the door to the room.. He also said that he didn’t really want to give the phone back to the guy and give him a way to call the police, although one wonders if there wasn’t a phone in the room, anyway.

Alexander also testified that one of the reasons OJ wanted McClinton and Fromong to bring weapons was because OJ was quite sure that the guys in the room would have one. He told Alexander and McClinton that it was important to him to get this stuff back, and that he would rather the Goldman’s get it than to have some chumps selling it out of a hotel room.

When the entourage arrived back at the Palms hotel, OJ got out of the car he was in and told everyone in Stewart’s car that the police had been called and that they had to get the property back to the hotel room that didn’t belong to OJ. The men then transferred all the property that wasn’t OJ’s into another white SUV that had come and McClinton and Alexander left, since they had guns and didn’t want to be there if the police happened to show up.

After Alexander realized that the police were looking at this as not a recovery, but a robbery – and an armed robbery, at that, he called OJ to see if his buddy was going to help him get out of the mess that OJ had involved him in, especially financially with paying his bail and paying for representation. When OJ laughed at him, and told him to simply “leave town – you won’t be in jail if you leave town”, Alexander was furious and disenchanted with OJ. He told his friend Michael McClinton  that he was not going to go to jail for OJ, and that he was going to tell the police the truth, so if McClinton wanted their stories to match up, he’d better do the same. Although he didn’t turn himself in, and was at the airport when he was stopped and arrested by the police.

The cross by Yale Gallanter, while highly entertaining and explosive, was really rather sad. I found myself wishing for the no nonsense attitude and control of Judge Fidler. What the fuck is up with Bonaventure? Is his age and lack of experience showing? He was NOT in charge of that courtroom while Gallanter was crossing Alexander – Gallanter was in charge, ignoring the sustained objections of the state, badgering and intimidating the witness, and schooling the witnesses flustered personal attorney, who had leapt to his feet and was making objections he had no standing to make in the absence of the same from the state.

Gallanter’s first line of attack was to ask the witness about conversations with his attorney, after the witness testified that he left town because his lawyer told him to come in and see him and talk to him. Gallanter characterized this as his attorney telling his client to take flight. The attorney, in the gallery, rose, objected and told the judge that even if the judge allowed this line of questioning to continue, he was going to advise his client to be taken into custody for contempt before he allowed him to answer.

The witness, sensing his attorney’s trepidation at this line of questioning, revised his answer to reflect that it was really OJ Simpson who first told him to leave town, not his attorney, and although he conceded that his attorney did know he was leaving the jurisdiction, that he was going to leave no matter what his attorney advised him, anyway.

Gallanter keeps the line of questioning going, hammering home the point that Alexander didn’t contact the police, didn’t call them and tell them he was leaving, didn’t call them and let them know that he was going to turn himself in after consulting with his attorney, and didn’t call them to let them know that a robbery had just taken place.

Galanter then gets into the witnesses anger at OJ and his state of mind when OJ laughed at him when Alexander asked if OJ was going to help him financially. Galanter also asks about a call Alexander made to Thomas Scotto, OJ’s friend and the groom in the wedding that all the participants were in town for. Alexander had called Scotto and left a message, which Galanter eventually played for the court. In the message Alexander can be heard essentially telling Scotto that if Scotto helped him with money, then Alexander could help Scotto with his testimony.

And this is where Galanter really scores the big points, and earns his fee. The witness, under brutal cross examination and skillful questioning says from the witness stand that yeah, he was willing to help OJ out and “slant his testimony”, because really, in his estimation, this case could go either way. There were several interpretations, and since Mr. Roger, the District Attorney, had promised him a “deal” and not just a deal but “the best deal”, which ended up going to Riccio, who got immunity, well, why should Alexander be loyal to the state? If OJ and/or Scotto could help him out, well then, he’d help them out.

Un fucking believable, and seriously, a defense attorney’s dream to have a witness actually stay on the stand “Yeah, I can slant my testimony any way you want” and “Sure, I have publishers calling – Sure, I’m trying to make money…” I figured if OJ could write a book about the first trial, and his dead wife, and all those lawyers and everybody involved could write a book about the first trial you know, I could write a book about this trial.

Good lord.

And really, get this guy in front of a jury and what are they going to think when you have the witness actually testifying that he’s willing to not only sell his testimony to the highest bidder, but willing to testify in the light most favorable to whatever side gives him the best deal.

Credibility? Zero. And now he may as well be excused form the stand, because I believe nothing that he says. And there isn’t a jury in the world who is going to believe anything that he says.

But Galanter has a few other areas he wants to get into with this witness – especially his “forthright and truthful” statement that he gave to the police after he was arrested at the airport – and the fact that he told them his occupation was “realtor” – something Alexander is so proud of that it’s the basis for his whole felling “betrayed” by the DA’s office. With a felony on his record, he fears losing his realtors license and actually makes it a part of his plea agreement that the DA’s office will help him with the licensing board.

But Galanter brings forth emails and online accounts to prove that Alexander isn’t selling houses – he’s selling ho’s. He’s not a realtor, he’s a pimp. Something Alexander flatly refuses to talk about – actually turning to the judge and asking him:”Is this relevant?” And asking Galanter if he can consult with his attorney and Mr. Rogers before he answers.

Eventually Galanter brings out that Alexander is part of a websit called “yourprovategeisha.com” and that he uses Walgreens.com photo service to send pictures of his girls to potential clients. Walgreens? Don’t pimps have like their own photo service?

And, Alexander does ultimately agree that yeah, he took the photos of the girls, but no, he’s not a pimp, he’s a realtor.

And sure, all of this was really entertaining but I was wondering where the hell Bonaventure was, and what the relevancy of this was, because even though Gallanter said he was going to show the relevancy, he really didn’t other than to show that Alexander lied when he told the police he was a realtor and didn’t say that he had a sideline selling girls, and although it makes for great TV that Alexander is a pimp, the real story out of his cross examination wasn’t that he was a pimp, but that he was willing to slant his testimony to whoever was giving him the best deal. And Alexander’s testimony that “If Scotto had ended up writing me a check I could have gone the other way, and focused on the fact that Riccio set us all up.”

Ehlrich’s and Stewart’s attorneys focus not on the fact that Alexander is a pimp, or even that his testimony is for sale, but on the differences between his memories of the event and the two victims. Fromong said the gun was waved in his face, Alexander says that the gun wasn’t pointed at anybody. And Ehrlich’s attorney, playing not for the judge but for the potential jury pool, points out that the two people who actually brought guns to the incident got the deals that practically guarantee them probation, and the guys who didn’t have the guns are now sitting at the defendant’s tables facing life in prison., Good point that, but one that certainly won’t get as many headlines as the pimping.

Michael McClinton, the other man who had the gun that night, is the next to take the stand. After hearing his testimony, he’s the lesser of all the evils. He’s the one witness who isn’t a pimp, hasn’t been on every tabloid show and talk show across the channels, he‘s the one who doesn’t seem to have an axe to grind with OJ, and wasn’t a good buddy of his before the incident, and his testimony is fairly consistent with what he told the police right after the event.

And he also says that OJ told him to bring a gun – after asking to see his CCW permit, which McClinton showed him. Although in his police statement he said “OJ asked me if I had a gun on me then, and I said no, and OJ said yeah, I want you to come along.” And on the stand he said “OJ asked to see my CCW permit, and told me to bring my gun.” Big difference, actually.

McClinton also testifies that, unlike Alexander’s testimony, wherein they stop at a spy store to buy a camera on the way to get the guns, that they had stopped at the spy store in the morning hours, before OJ even called them, to get a camera to tape OJ having fun at the party. Which makes no sense, since McClinton wasn’t even invited to the reception until later on.

McClinton also originally told the police that Alexander had taken a gun without his permission or knowledge, but he testified today that he actually gave Alexander a gun after Alexander asked for one.

McClinton’s story also includes the fact that OJ wanted guns brought because he was convinced that one of the guys might have a gun, and that OJ referred to Riccio as “my inside guy”.

McClinton also corroborates Alexander, saying that before they entered the room OJ told him to “take your weapon out and look menacing”. McClinton says that this meant to him that OJ wanted him to act mean so when they entered the room, every time OJ yelled, he yelled.

McClinton also offers that when they went in the room Alexander did have his gun in his hand, too, but that he holstered it shortly afterwards.

McClinton agrees with the whole litany of things that are read to him from the transcribed events of the room, when he is asked over and over “did you say that? Did you say that?” McClinton was definitely the one in charge once in the room, telling the victims to “bag it up”, to “shut the fuck up” to “get off the fucking phones” and although Grasso tries to downplay OJ’s level of interaction in the room McClinton says that OJ was definitely the one in charge, and was dealing with the whole situation in the room.

McClinton says he never waved the gun around, that it was at his side the whole time. And his order of entering the room is different from anyone else’s, although he doesn’t seem to understand the importance of this, his theory is “doesn’t matter – we all ended up in the room.” But, of course, the defense would like OJ entering last, with the gunmen’s backs to him and OJ focused on Fromong and Beardsley, lowering his chances of actually seeing the guns.

After the incident and after McClinton and Alexander were back at McClinton’s home, McClinton says that Alexander wiped the gun down and gave it back to McClinton, which McClinton kind of thought was odd and strange.

McClinton also testifies about an odd little story that happened after the incident. At like one o’clock in the morning, Stewart calls McClinton, telling him tha the has representation for him, and asking him to come to his lawyers office – the same lawyer representing Stewart now, Mr. Lucharini. So McClinton goes to the office – and there he finds that Stewart and Lucharini are trying to convince him to not mention the fact that there were guns involved in the incident. After about 2 hours McClinton leaves, without agreeing with the attorney and his client. McClinton says that he may have told them that he was on board with the plan, but that he was not comfortable with it and didn’t intend to follow along.

The next witness is the Las Vegas Police Department Robbery Detective who downloaded and transcribed the recording that Riccio made. Stephen Caldwell testified that yes, there’s lots of unintelligible portions of the tape, and lots of blanks and yeah he attributed statements to participants based on 15 minute interviews with them, but he still thinks he got the attributions right.

The most interesting part of his testimony was, again, Gallanter’s cross, when Gallanter asks him about a portion of the tape that isn’t transcribed – the portion between Beardlsey and Fromong in the hotel room after the invaders had left. They were talking aloud about what they should do – call Inside Edition or call the police.

Honor among thieves, again.

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6 Responses to “NV vs. Simpson – It’s Hard Up There for a Pimp – When You’re Getting Cross Examined by the Man”

  1. Holy Toledo said

    Another excellent recap. I might have to send you something for xmas ’cause you been good girl, Kim, no?

    I’ve had my doubts this case would go any further than the news and that OJ, our favorite murderer golfer, would buy justice one more time. Now I’m not so sure since all his friends rolled over on him. All this testimony or testalies gives us an inside picture of OJ’s thoughts (fuck the police), his friends (real estate or ho’s) but most of all his arrogance with right/wrong and how stupid his friends are. It’s incredible the influence this idiot still has with people, even though they’re pretty much low life.

    You know what I wonder? I wonder when his kids will wake up and smell the coffee. Surely, they had some love for their mother and question OJ’s innocence. He’s been pretty successful in keeping them under wraps.
    Also, those purported offshore accounts. Do you think anything will come of that?

    HT

  2. Katprint said

    Cross-examinations are so fun! You never know what a witness will say under cross-exam – not even if they are your own client! While cross-examining fraudulent insurance plaintiffs, I had one guy who previously swore he had never been convicted of a crime, pull out a copy of his rap sheet out of his pocket. I had another guy who had filed a loss of consortium claim for his wife’s injury, admit he had never divorced his prior wife (and thus his current bigamist “marriage” was invalid.) I could go on and on.

    Cross-examination is much more effective than torture for uncovering the truth.

  3. ThomasAquinas said

    Kim, much as I enjoy reading your blog, I do wonder why you are giving so much of your time & attention to OJ Simpson. He does not deserve the attention. His case is not interesting. Is it that it’s on CourtTV? You really should consider turning your attention–and impressive intellect–to the Hans Reiser murder trial. Much more interesting & worthy of you. Go to http://boards.courttv.com/forumdisplay.php?s=4691b2823165c8c6416e824fe1d028fd&forumid=465

  4. You really should consider turning your attention–and impressive intellect–to the Hans Reiser murder trial.

    I will google the case and read up on it – and thanks for your kind words – but I can’t do that “court tv message board” thing. Ugh. Number 1 – I don’t like moderated forums – I don’t do moderation well. And I don’t agree with them on principle. I don’t like “public” forums that are actually what one person allows to be public. Smacks of censorship.

    But I will look into the case.

    And the reason I am interested in the OJ trial is not for the fact of OJ, but for the underlying legal principles – can you steal something that you believe to be yours? Can you have conspiracy when there is no meeting of the minds between the conspirators? Is it legally ethical to deal out the conspirators who caused the underlying charges – the deadly weapon portion of the charges – and then prosecute the remaining conspirators?

    I find all of this fascinating.

    I don’t base my interest in trials on the names involved- only the legal principles.

    Kim

  5. Kathy said

    No kidding about the court tv message boards. I was banned because the moderator thought my “nic” was offensive to the Amish community. I know if I was Amish, and I was having my first taste of electricity, the last place I would use my new found elecricity is on the ctv message boards.

  6. ThomasAquinas said

    Kim:

    I definitely share some of your sentiments about the CTV forum. There are other venues to read up on the Hans Reiser case, which alas, does not have a live feed from the courtroom. Check out (1) David Kravets of WIRED’s blog
    http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/20…mony-by-re.html
    and (2) SF Chroncile reporter Henry Lee’s blog: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs…gid=37&cat=1428 & his articles in the paper such as the one today online: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/artic…TCA05.DTL&tsp=1

    The Hans Reiser case is interesting not only because the defendant is a self-described genius who invented the ReiserOS open (& free) filing system for Linux, but also because this is a purely circumstantial evidence case. There is no dead body, no murder weapon found, & no witness(es). The closest to a witness is the couple’s son who was brought by the Pros from Russia to testify in court. He’s been testifying for the past 2 days & will be cross examined by the Defense this morning.

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