Court starts today with Grasso explaining that he has prepared a whole new transcript of McClinton’s recording – he will submit this to the jury and go through it with the witness.
So grab your McClinton transcripts.
Now, this is why, normally, transcripts are not used in court unless both sides agree as to their content. Since both sides didn’t agree with the transcripts in this case, and considering the quality of the tapes, we are bound to have this “my transcript is better, more accurate, clearer,” etc. bullshit.
And why we have Mr. Grasso prepared to go through the transcript LINE BY LINE with the witness. If I stay awake for this, it will be a fucking miracle.
Grasso begins cross examination by asking about McClinton about the recording done at the Little Buddha. Grasso wonders why McClinton now says that it was all Alexander’s idea to tape OJ and sell the tape to the tabloids, when before, in his interview with the police, McClinton said “*I* picked up the recorder so that *I* could get OJ talking about the memorabilia because *I* thought that *I* could sell it to the tabloids” McClinton agrees that he said that.
Grasso then asks the witness if the tape is a true and accurate representation of what he heard that night, and McClinton says yes.
Grasso then directs the witness to Page 3, lines 8-10 of the transcript.
Grasso contends that OJ didn’t say “All over the TV”, he says OJ said “I’m going to be all over the media.” And Right then I knew – I knew that Grasso was going to nit the fucking pick all through this thing and change one word at a time and argue over whether someone said “he” instead of “she” and “it” instead of “shit” and oh my fucking God.
And who knows what the hell anyone says on that tape? That tape is a worthless piece of shit. It’s full of static, it’s got 45 people talking on it at once and a band in the background and people yelling over each other – fuck, my own voice could be on that tape and I’d never be able to pick it out.
I mean, I’m sorry Mr. Grasso, if there were chunks or lines that were totally wrong but RELEVANT, hey I’d say “Bring that shit before the jury”, but to nitpick one word that doesn’t make a hen’s tooth bit of fucking difference just to prove that the transcripts aren’t accurate is ludicrous. The judge has acknowledged that you don’t agree with the content – she admonishes the jury about that before they hear any tape or see any transcript – and the transcripts aren’t evidence – they aren’t going back in the jury room with the jurors – so what the fuck is the big deal? Let the jury listen to the tapes, and if they can understand a fucking word on those tapes, well, my hats off to them.
And the most distressing part of this? Grasso has 33 such “inconsistencies” to go through.
So, Grasso doesn’t think that OJ says “I’m going to be all over the TV.” Grasso thinks OJ said “I’m going to be all over the media. You know why he thinks that? He says “Because nobody talks to T, right?” And McClinton says “Well I talk to my TV when football is on.” And I’m right there with McClinton, I talk to my TV when trials are on – usually to say shit like “Are you fucking kidding me, Mr. Grasso?”
And just to prove that McClinton and I are right there – thinking each other’s thoughts, McClinton then says to Grasso “I don’t get the significance, Mr. Grasso.” And really, aren’t we all just talking to our TV’s saying the same thing?
Mr. Grasso then asks McClinton if, as he testified to earlier, he turned the recorder on when he saw OJ approaching, why it is that the tape seems to start in the middle of a conversation. With OJ talking about stuff being at his brother’s house. Grasso asks McClinton if OJ just seemingly approached and picked up in the middle of a conversation, and McClinton kind of says “hey, it is what it is.”
Grasso then gets to Page 3, lines 11-24
Grasso says that the topic here is guns – and he wants to know who McClinton attributes the statements to – the ones where the police have put question marks, not knowing who is saying what.
McClinton says he is not the one laughing in line 15 – that he doesn’t laugh that way. And he also says he didn’t say the “guns a blazing” line – McClinton attributes this line to OJ. Grasso takes issue with this, since OJ can be heard talking while someone is laughing and while someone else is saying the “guns a blazing” line. And after the 4th or 5th time Grasso directs his assistant to “Play it again, Sam,” The judge asks everyone to come up for a sidebar. Seems she doesn’t like this approach to questioning, either. And why Grasso would use a STATE’S witness to impeach this tape is beyond me. It’s all ridiculous.
After the sidebar (where hopefully the judge has put the kibosh on the whole “play it over and over” thing, Grasso directs the witness to the same passage and asks him “So someone says strong arm robbery, and someone says that they came in with guns, and you were all laughing at this idea, so why didn’t you say “Well OJ – I had a gun!” and the witness says “Because OJ knew I had a gun.”
Grasso points to the witness to above passage, and asks if it is true or not that while they were sitting there at the Little Buddha if OJ was still saying that he planned on giving back any property that wasn’t his. Which isn’t really impeachment, because I think every witness has testified to the fact that OJ said this – even State’s witnesses.
Grasso wants to fill in that last blank – It should actually be “I never saw no motherfuckers.”
And McClinton agrees that the line above it “no, no, no. I, hey OJ” is McClinton speaking.
Grasso plays this whole section to show that in all the recitation of how “the boy in the New York Shirt” Not a single mention was made of a gun or “when I had my gun in my hand” or “how he shook when I turned that gun on him” – nothing was said about a gun. McClinton agrees that he didn’t mention a gun.
Grasso goes on to say “And you were hollering, yes?” And In line 19 you say – and you were hollering at Riccio, right – and hear what you said in line 19 – “I should reach up there and slap you in the head” but you didn’t say anything about a gun being in your hand, right? No McClinton says he didn’t.
In line 2 the witness agrees that this statement should be attributed to Alexander, not OJ.
Grasso adds a portion to the transcript here that the state did not identify. There’s a part in the “talking over each other” section that Grasso says is McClinton saying “that was in evidence” McClinton says yeah, it does sound like him saying that, but he has no idea why he would say that or what it meant. Which Grasso says isn’t important and not what he is asking. As to the last line, Grasso says that should read “He alerted me and that’s why we were doing it.” .
Grasso asks if McClinton is the one that says “This is your shit.” McClinton says it is. And Grasso points out that OJ is saying “this is no major crime” McClinton says yes, he is. So Grasso asks the witness “Well, at that point why didn’t you say ‘Wait OJ, but I had a gun – this is bigger than you think.’?” The witness says “Because OJ knew I had a gun.” Which is pretty much his standard answer to any questions involving himself, OJ, the gun, and why he didn’t say this or that.
Grasso asks the witness if he remembers OJ continuously bringing up during the conversation that he is trying to talk to the police. McClinton doesn’t recall that –
Grasso asks if that’s OJ’s voice on the tape saying that “I told the guy, I’m in town for the next 4 or 5 days and *HE* wasn’t a detective.” The witness says yes. And Grasso continues – “So whoever he was talking to , it wasn’t a detective, but this guy was going to SEE the detectives and OJ is expecting him to talk to the detectives and call OJ, right?” At this point, this tape is so unintelligible, and so annoying, and McClinton is basically so confused with the jumping around and asking him if this one is saying this or that, when you know McClinton couldn’t tell if his Mama was on that tape, that McClinton is starting to just agree with anything Grasso says to try to make this be done with. And who can blame the guy?
Then Grasso says “And just to fill in that line 13 – that should read “I’m here for you guys, these guys got my stuff.” And the witness just agrees. “Sure Grasso, it says anything you want it to say….”
Grasso asks the witness if he is agreeing with OJ, in this portion o f the tape, that these “motherfuckers” were wrong from the get go, if this was, indeed, OJ’s stuff.
The witness agrees, but asks if he can elaborate. He’s told no, he can’t.
Grasso then explains that during this conversation that there were other people coming to and leaving the table where OJ, Alexander and himself were sitting. McClinton agrees that this is so. At one point, Christie Prody, OJ’s girlfriend, was at the table. It was while she was here that the following conversation took place.
Grasso asks if line 8 should include Alexander saying “Let’s go upstairs.” The bar where they were at was closing, and it had been mentioned several times that they would go somewhere else. McClinton agrees with this.
Grasso then talks about the part where OJ is saying “Zero Seven One” and you say “Where are the glasses at, man?” And line 14 should say that Prody is reading “One – one new message” and this whole conversation is really about messages on a cell phone, and OJ wondering if “this might be it” – meaning the call from the police he’s been waiting for.
Grasso wants to amend line 19 in this snippet to include that Christy says, after “I know all about it” I live with it.”
Did you hear OJ talk about how he’s waiting for the cops to call and doesn’t know why they aren’t calling? Was this a topic of conversation that night?
McClinton says he doesn’t recall.
In this portion of the transcript Grasso has filled in all of the question marks with either “McClinton” or “Alexander” – McClinton agrees with the new versions. Mostly because he doesn’t give a shit at this point.
At line 25 the state has people just talking over each other – Grasso has discerned a portion of the conversation that has OJ on the telephone telling someone “Hey, Tom, I gave that detective my phone number and he hasn’t called me, so have him call me, and you give me a call and let me know what’s going on.”
McClinton, getting a little braver, says “I didn’t understand it.”
No one else besides Grasso did, either.
They play that portion of the tape again and McClinton still doesn’t understand it, so they move on.
Grasso says he has added to the first line “Why Tom didn’t answer the phone.”
And lines 4-5 he attributes to Simpson who is saying “he’s just as fucked up as well – he was part of it.
Grasso asks if this was where they were talking about whether or not Riccio may have been arrested – and maybe if this would explain why he wasn’t answering his phone – that the cops have it.
These statements were made by you? How you were dressed in suits and ties and the tabloids would call you the goon squad?” McClinton says yes, that they were just making light of the situation, and Grasso says “Yes – you were all laughing – it was funny.” McClinton agrees.
Now this is all really weird, because Grasso tries to get the witness to refer back to page 5 in the beginning – where McClinton attributed the “No, no no” to himself and said that was him – to this “no no no” and say that this *isn’t* him. Grasso thinks that this “no no no” is OJ, not McClinton – but he gets so befuddled and confused and has the witness so confused it’s all lost.
And the defense is trying to say that the ONE thing that really nails OJ – the line “You didn’t pull the piece out in the hall” is incorrect – it doesn’t say “piece out in the hall”, it ACTUALLY says “You didn’t tell the police out in the hall.” But that makes no sense, because when the hell did McClinton ever see the police out in the hall?? It would make sense if OJ was talking to Riccio – or even to Beardsley or Fromong – they all had police interviews out in the hallway of Room 1203 – and to say to them “You didn’t tell the police out in the hall?” Would have some contextual reference. But McClinton and Alexander didn’t see police in the hall – so the way Grasso wants the jury to hear that statement on the tape is stupid.
“There is a transition period here – the bar is closing and you are all leaving and going to the Ghost Bar, right?” Grasso asks. The witness agrees that this is what is happening.
Grasso then brings up the fact that McClinton has previously testified that he had his gun either in his holster or in his hand. Nowhere has he ever said that he had it in his pocket. And McClinton says no, he never did have it in his pocket. Grasso asks if he was referring to his gun in the last sentence above – and McClinton says he can’t recall.
McClinton agrees that line 10 above should be attributed to Alexander, not OJ – and the witness agrees that OJ didn’t carry anything into or out of the room.
Grasso reiterates OJ’s point above that the stuff he was after were “unique” and “family albums” – and that this was the stuff that was important to him.
Here Grasso gets the witness to agree that the same voice that says “I’m tired” is the one that said “You can’t lie, you can’t lie”. Grasso contends that this is one statement with a pause in between, and the same speaker says both lines. The witness agrees.
Grasso then asks McClinton if he spoke to the DA’s office before his testimony. The witness says he did. Grasso asks if the witness went over his testimony, including the transcript and the tape. The witness says he did. Grasso asks if he informed the DA of any mistakes in the transcript and the witness says no, he did not.
But Grasso then asks “But you’ve seen here today that there are numerous mistakes and corrections that need to be made, right?” The witness agrees.
Grasso asks the witness if he agrees that here he said that “Nobody touched anyone”. And that the cops “would love to say OJ had a gun.” And that although there was a lot of ordering around, there was not touching of anyone by anyone. The witness agrees.
Grasso asks the witness why he didn’t say :”Well, OJ, but I had a gun!” And the witness give his stock answer of “Because OJ already knew I had a gun.”
Grasso then asks the witness about the charges he pled guilty to – and even though he says and admits freely that he had a gun in that room, that none of his charges are actually any of the charges that carry deadly weapons clauses. The witness says he doesn’t know what he pled to and what exactly those charges are – and then he sort of “recalls” that they were conspiracy and robbery charges – and that none of them have “gun” in the title.
This is the last snippet Grasso plays (YEAH!) and all he points out in this one is that it was Alexander so said he was “cool” and that there is no mention of the words “heavy handed” in the first line. McClinton agrees that Alexander is the one who said “Cool”, but he can’t tell what the hell is said in the first line.
The Grasso gets into something besides the tape.
He gets into the fact that Michael McClinton also uses the name Randall Spencer. He got that name because he got a driver’s license in that name after his own was suspended. Grasso also asks if McClinton ever used other names like Robert MacIntyre, Terrence Dunlap or Melvin McPhair. McClinton says he doesn’t recall to each name.
Grasso then asks about McClinton’s intentions in taping the conversation and his earlier aborted attempt to videotape it. The witness says that he doesn’t remember when he actually purchased the videotape unit – but he did purchase it before he went to the Palace Station. Grasso asks the witness if it had worked, the video would have shown him pulling out a gun, right? And the witness says he wasn’t necessarily going to bring the video unit to Palace Station. Which is kind of disingenuous, because you know he was going to. Grasso is kind of skeptical about this, as well, and says “So you went to a bunch of trouble trying to make it work, but you weren’t going to bring it with you if you did get it functioning?” Correct, says McClinton.
The witness says that the order they entered the room was Riccio, Stewart, OJ, himself, Alexander, Cashmore and then Ehrlich. Ehrlich and Cashmore both said that they were in the front of the group.
The witness says that he does recall saying earlier that he and OJ went in together, and that when they were in the room he and OJ were shoulder to shoulder – for a moment. He doesn’t recall OJ ever being in the front of the room, on the other side of the bed, in the face of either Fromong or Beardsley.
McClinton says that he never “waved the gun around”, that it was by his chest. And OJ’s back wasn’t to him, OJ was facing sideways in the room, going back between Beardsley and Fromong.
McClinton says that he had so many charges against him that he can’t remember what they were – he agrees with the charges as read by Grasso, though. And agrees that he was actually one of the people with a gun that night.
McClinton says he agreed to testify in exchange for reduced charges and a reduced sentence. He was originally facing life in prison and now has the possibility of probation.
McClinton says he doesn’t know what a “snitch blanket” is – although he does know what a snitch is. Although he doesn’t know what happens to them in prison, because he’s never been in prison.
McClinton then testifies that yes, OJ really did tell him to pull a gun and look menacing, that OJ leaned over and said it to him.
Grasso then gets into his best point yet – and it’s too bad it’s buried after hours and hours of boring transcript testimony.
The state never asked McClinton about the one question that is most important in all of this – they never had McClinton say that OJ actually asked him to bring a gun. They said McClinton showed OJ his CCW, then OJ asked if McClinton had his gun on him at the moment, but the state never asked if OJ actually asked McClinton to bring a gun.
And in McClinton’s statement to the police, he never said then, either that OJ asked him to bring a gun. Then he simply said “OJ asked me if I had a gun on me, I said no, and then Alexander and I went home to change.” He never mentions “we went home to get my guns”, or “we went home because we had to get the guns.” All he said was that OJ asked him to be security – he never mentions firearms.
In the police interview the police actually ask him for two pages what his intent was in bringing the gun and why he brought it. McClinton never says “OJ told me to bring it”, McClinton only says “When we got to the Palace Station OJ said one of the guys might have a gun.” But McClinton brought the gun before he knew that. McClinton says this is true.
Jones for Stewart adds nothing new, of course. He simply asks if Stewart was present in the room when Alexander and McClinton met OJ there – he wasn’t, and he wasn’t there for any of the conversations.
The one kind of interesting thing Jones brings out is that Alexander called McClinton after Alexander testified on Friday. Hmmmm…..
On re-direct Roger asks again about McClinton’s intentions with regards to the tapes – they wanted to sell them to the tabloids, yes, we know.
He then gives McClinton a chance to say that at the Little Buddha when he said that ‘nobody touched anybody” it had slipped his mind that the guys were frisked. He really meant that no one had roughed anyone up.
When OJ said “look menacing” that was OJ’s word, not his. Roger then shows him the portion of the transcript where OJ says “I told CJ to bring some boys along – that I wanted them to look menacing.”
McClinton says it was Cashman, CJ, Ehrlich and Alexander who loaded the items into the White Infinity. McClinton could see it was a white man and a white woman in the vehicle, but he didn’t recognize them.
The Jury has questions – lots of questions.
1. While in Room 1203 did you ever point the gun at anyone – ANSWER: No, it was never pointed at anybody. It’s a big gun – you don’t have to point it at anyone. McClinton shows the jury how he held the gun – it was across his chest.
2. You can hear on Tape 6 that Mr. Fromong says several times “These are my Lithographs”. Who was Fromong directing that comment to? ANSWER: I can’t say that I heard him say that.
3. Did you assume that OJ wanted you to bring a gun? ANSWER: I didn’t assume – he asked me.
4. Did Mr. Simpson ask you directly to bring a gun? ANSWER: Yes, he did.
How did he ask you, if he did? ANSWER: He asked about the CCW and he wanted me to come with my weapon.
5.. When you saw OJ when you had just come from the gym why did you have your CCW in your wallet? ANSWER: I always have it with me – it’s like my driver’s license.
6. Did Alexander indicate that OJ would be interested in whether or not you had a CCW? ANSWER: Yes.
7.. Who was in the White Infinity? ANSWER I don’t know. A man and a woman and I can’t identify who they are.
8. Why do you have a CCW? ANSWER: I took a class at Discount Firearms and I wanted one. I’ve always been an enthusiast, si I wanted a permit to carry a weapon.
9. Who is the “Fang” referred to on the tape? ANSWER: No, I said “my fangs came out”. It’s an expression – it refers to my teeth – “My Fangs came out.”
10. Does the Little Buddha tape start at the beginning of the conversation? ANSWER: I don’t know.
11. Who told you that the items belonged to OJ? ANSWER: OJ did.
12. OJ asked you to come as security – was he paying you? ANSWER: No, it was a freebie.
13. Is it possible that a holster and a pocket are the same thing in your mind? ANSWER: No, a holster and pocket are different.
Roger gets up to re-direct, and tells McClinton that the juror question is referring to the statement in the transcript where McClinton says “I had it in my pocket” and McClinton says that then yeah, that this could refer to the gun.
Grasso asks about the CCW and why, if McClinton *always* keeps it in his wallet, why it was found in his dresser drawer when the police broke his door down and searched his house. And they really did break the door down – right off the hinges. McClinton says that after the incident when he was putting the guns away he just put the CCW in there, too.
Grasso then asks about the holster = pocket thing and reminds the witness that when Grasso asked him specifically if he was referring to the gun, McClinton said no.
They then break and the Defense, wanting to start their case after Lunch, tells the court that they are having a hard time subpoenaing Officer Tucker. Seems Tucker is avoiding service – he has said that he will only respond to subpoenas from the state.
The DA says he will try to help.
After lunch the State does some basic housekeeping of moving items into evidence – and then rests their case in chief.
The Defense’s first witness is not the elusive Officer Tucker – but a re-call of a state witness – Sgt. Rod Hunt.
This is Sgt. Hunt’s first time EVER as a defense witness.
Galanter wants to know how Hunt got OJ’s cell phone number – Hunt testifies that he got it from Officer Tucker. Beardsley told Hunt where OJ was staying.
Hunt says that he tried to get in touch with OJ Friday night or early Saturday morning. He left a message on OJ’s answering machine. Then OJ called him back and left a message on Hunt’s machine. Hunt called back again and this time OJ answered the phone.
The two of them talked on the phone. OJ told Hunt why he was in town and how long he would be there. Hunt told OJ that he’d like to see him, and OJ invited him to come right over. Hunt went to OJ’s room with three of his detectives. They were escorted to OJ’s room by Hotel Security – which is SOP when the police go to the hotels or casinos.
OJ answered the door and there were two females in the room. OJ’s girlfriend Christy and another female Hunt couldn’t identify. OJ asked the girls to leave and talked with the detectives. Hunt describes him as cordial, welcoming and not at all angry. He was also very talkative.
Hunt says they spent 90 minutes together and OJ went through his version of events. They shook hands, and the detectives left.
Hunt says that he had no more contact with OJ.
Bryson gets up to cross and it’s more of the same – Did Stewart know any of these people before that evening? Ehrlich, Fromong, Beardsley, Riccio. No, he didn’t.
Then Bryson wants to get into that whole “You let a dangerous felon walk the streets and determine his own timeframe for turning himself in.” thing.
Bryson gets a flurry of objections every time he asks a questions – but he makes in point in front of the jury – that Lucherini called Detectives on the 16th, Stewart didn’t turn himself in until the 17th. Bryson wants the jury to believe that since the Detectives allowed Stewart to turn himself in the next day, that this means they didn’t think he was a dangerous felon criminal kidnapping and robbing type.
Hunt just says that this wasn’t “his call”. Implying that perhaps he wouldn’t have made the same call.
Roger then gets up to cross and he has the detective explain that when he was at Stewart’s house on the 16th for the search warrant that Stewart *did* call – and that Hunt *did* ask him to come back to the residence. Stewart said he was out of town. Now, since Stewart was out of town, to arrest him that night would have required a warrant and an extradition order. So no, he couldn’t arrest Stewart that night. And Stewart didn’t even say what state he was in. Could have been Alaska, for all Hunt knew. So Roger sums up with “So it wasn’t a case of allowing a dangerous criminal to walk free – you just didn’t know where he was to arrest him?” Hunt says “Correct.”
There are no jury questions.
The defense must have finally found Officer Tucker – because he’s the next witness.
Tucker was on of the uniformed officers who responded to the Palace Station. He was the primary officer assigned. He met Riccio and interviewed him. While he was talking to Riccio, Riccio’s phone rang. It was OJ. Riccio said “OJ wants to talk to you” and tried to hand the phone to Tucker. Tucker knew that he couldn’t talk to a suspect without permission, so he told Riccio he couldn’t talk to OJ, that he would try to get permission and call OJ back. Tucker went and found a supervisor and asked if he could talk to OJ and was granted permission. Riccio then called OJ back and Tucker spoke with OJ.
OJ gave Tucker his cell phone number, told Tucker why he was in town and Tucker told OJ that the detectives would be contacting him.
There is really no cross to speak of .
Galanter then recalls Alfred Beardsley – and this is a different Alfred Beardsley than we saw during the state’s case. This Alfred Beardsley is in prison garb and shackles.
Galanter wants to recall this witness to testify to that conversation he had with OJ – the one the state says was OJ manipulating the witness and coloring his testimony. Galanter asks Beardsley after this incident occurred if he was contacting media immediately, and Beardsley says yes. Galanter asks what Beardsley was telling the media and Beardsley says he was telling them that this was a set up by Riccio. Beardsley says that right after the incident, while they were still in room 1203, OJ called Riccio on Riccio’s cell phone. Riccio handed the phone to Beardsley and Beardsley told OJ that he thought this was a set up.
He says that OJ didn’t try to color his statements at all – but Galanter gets a bunch of objections of “Hearsay”. But Galanter does get out that this was Beards ley’s own opinion that he didn’t want to press charges.
No cross and no jury questions.
It’s the end of the court day and since the state rested, Stewart’s attorneys make a motion for a directed verdict of not guilty, which OJ’s lawyers adopt. Fat chance of that happening. And it doesn’t – Motion is Denied. Although I think the motion to drop the conspiracy charges against Stewart should have been given more consideration than the judge gave them. She rotely denied the motion, but I think there is some merit to the fact that since Stewart didn’t participate in any of the planning, didn’t know the co-conspirators and had no conversations with OJ prior to the incident, that he couldn’t have been much of a conspirator.
To Sum Up: When you walk into a hotel room – don’t let the fangs come out; When you are incarcerated and testify for the state – you get to wear street clothes, when you testify for the defense – it’s prison garb and shackles; If you aren’t home for a search warrant, they really do break your door down.
The defense thinks they will have 4 or 5 witnesses – they could be wrapping up as early as Thursday – closing arguments could begin Thursday afternoon or Friday.