NV. vs. Simpson – Disorder in the Court
Posted by thedarwinexception on September 24, 2008
Well, first for the good news. Dominick Dunne was back in court today in his usual seat. Which is nice. It was comforting somehow to see him there. The judge welcomed him back at the beginning of the session – which was a nice touch.
Now for the bad news. The judge is having a fucking meltdown. Now, I haven’t said anything negative about Judge Glass, because I know that the general consensus has been that she’s such a “great judge” and “so wonderful” and everyone has said “Oh, I just love her!” But all along I’ve thought she’s acted very oddly – it’s like she has a migraine every single day and I thought some of her courtroom responses have been over the top – she admonishes the lawyers when, really, they are just doing their jobs and making arguments. But, I thought it was just me. That I was seeing things no one else was seeing, and I decided to just not comment on what I thought was bizarre courtroom behavior and decorum, for a judge.
But after today? After today, well, the gloves are off. This judge is fucking mental. Or pre-menstrual, or something. She basically had three separate meltdowns in court today, and I think she was over the top. She basically is everything you *don’t* want a woman in power to be. She just lost it. It’s not that she can’t keep control of the courtroom – it’s that she can’t keep control of her own emotions.
But all that comes later in the day – first we have Charlie Tuna finishing his testimony.
Yale Galanter gets up to finish his cross of Charlie. And this is where Charlie has his own fucking meltdown. This guy is a lunatic. Riccio characterizes Beardsley as a lunatic, and the very best evidence that Riccio didn’t know Charlie Tuna is that he didn’t characterize this guy as one, as well. Because if he had talked to this guy for five minutes, you know Riccio would have been up on the stand saying “yeah, I got a call from Ehrlich, that raving loon.” That Riccio didn’t do that is evidence these two guys didn’t interact very much.
If Ehrlich had been my witness, about 10 minutes into his testimony I would have thrown up my hands and said “I’m sorry judge, I can’t question this guy any further – he’s a fucking idiot.”
Here’s an example of the way this guy testified all day – and this is just ONE small example.
Galanter: Did you talk to Riccio at the pool.
Fucking Idiot Witness: No, I never talked to him at all.
Galanter: Well then how did you know what was going to happen later that night?
Fucking Idiot Witness: Because he told me.
Galanter: When did he tell you?
Fucking Idiot Witness: At the pool.
Galanter: You said you didn’t talk to him at the pool.
Fucking Idiot Witness: I didn’t talk to him. I asked him questions and got the information that way.
Galanter: OK, what did you ask him?
Fucking Idiot Witness: I don’t recall.
Galanter: OK, but you talked to Riccio at the pool and he told you the specifics of what was going to happen.
Fucking Idiot Witness: No, he asked me questions and told me what was going to happen.
Galanter: Oh – he asked YOU questions.
Fucking Idiot Witness: Yes, he asked me a bunch of questions.
Galanter: What were the questions he asked you?
Fucking Idiot Witness: I don’t recall.
I wanted to reach through the screen and choke this guy. I really did.
Galanter even got from the witness that he’s had 2 heart attacks in the last year and has a “fuzzy memory” – and that the witness blames his heart attacks on this incident. I think Galanter brought this out so that the jury *wouldn’t* think the guy was a fucking idiot. And it was rather remarkable that Galanter did this – seeing’s how the guy wasn’t even his witness. I think Galanter felt sorry for him. I mean, yesterday the guy couldn’t even remember when he got into town. He was 10 minutes into his testimony before they had to stop and remind the witness that he was testifying about the wrong day.
So Ehrlich finally gets some substantive testimony in – and it’s not a whole lot. He does say that he thought Riccio was “shady” when he first met him, and that he had second thoughts about the whole deal – he wanted to talk to OJ before deciding whether or not to participate – but then he says he never actually talked to OJ but decided to participate anyway. Then he says that he didn’t think what they were doing was legal – and that’s why he wanted to do it the next day – not that night. Which makes no fucking sense because, What? It would be legal the next day? Then he says, cryptically, that this was just a gut feeling of his. And Galanter asks him “Well, why would you go along with it, if you had a gut feeling?” And Ehrlich says, quite emphatically, “Well, I *Didn’t* go along with it!” Like he backed out at the last minute or something and no one knew that. Galanter reminded him that he *didn’t* back out – because, you know, he’s on the tape and all, and Ehrlich says “That’s right, sir.”
Then he says he did it for OJ – because it was a favor. He was going to pose as the buyer, and just go to the room, see what was there and if it was OJ’s and report back to OJ. But when Galanter asks him if he was in a position to know whether or not this stuff was OJ’s just by looking at it, he said no, and when Galanter asks him if he has some familiarity with memorabilia, he says no.
Then he goes idiotic again and says “No, I never had another conversation with Riccio after the conversation at the Palms hotel” and when Galanter asks him repeatedly “You didn’t? You’re sure?” about 15 hundred umpteen times, and then reminds him about the phone conversations Ehrlich had with Riccio – the witness says “Well, yeah, other than the three phone conversations, I didn’t.”
By the time the witness gets to the point where he is at the hotel lobby at the Palace Station with Cashmore, and then testifies that “No, Riccio never had a conversation with me there”, well, you just know that he’s wrong and just having his “foggy memory” again, and damn, who knew that Riccio would be the more reliable witness, right?
But this guy is a train wreck from beginning to end. I thought on direct examination yesterday that he could very well bury OJ, what with his placement of OJ in the room at the time of the incident, where OJ would undoubtedly have seen a gun, and the fact that this witness had OJ saying “Put the gun down” just like Fromong did, and that he saw two guns in the room, but today, on cross, well, after today, I discount everything this guy says because he can’t keep his story straight from one minute to the next and he doesn’t even know the details of his fairly fucking sweet plea agreement with the state.
This guy was facing all the same charges as Simpson and Stewart – with a potential life imprisonment sentence. Now he’s pled guilty to two accessory charges with no recommendation at sentencing from the state and the possibility of probation. That’s quite a difference. But this guy couldn’t even tell Galanter which came first – the plea agreement or the meeting with the DA’s office. He is quite emphatic in his testimony that he never met with the DA’s until after he went before Judge Glass to make his plea. Quite emphatic. It’s not until Galanter shows him the same statement the witness saw just yesterday – and that the date on it was before the plea agreement, that he says “OK, whatever, whatever it says there is what it says there.” So one has to wonder, since this witness can’t testify with any clear memory on events that took place a month ago, how can he testify to things that happened a year ago with any certainty whatsoever?
Just a train wreck.
Another example of the way things went with this witness:
Galanter: So, prior to your giving your statement to the DA on July 30th, before your plea agreement, did you have an opportunity to meet with Mr. Roger?
Idiot witness: I don’t remember
Galanter: Do you recall meeting with them prior to making your formal statement?
Idiot Witness: I don’t remember, I remember speaking with my attorney, that’s all I remember.
Galanter: Well, you and your lawyer had been trying to negotiate a deal with the state for some time prior to actually coming to an agreement, right?
Idiot Witness: No, that’s not true. It wasn’t a long time.
Galanter: OK, how long was it?
Idiot Witness: I don’t recall.
Galanter: OK, from the documents, you now know that you gave your statement before you made the plea agreement, right?
Idiot Witness,: Right
Galanter: You were initially charged with 12 separate counts?
Idiot Witness: Right.
Galanter: What is your understanding of the potential maximum sentence of those 12 counts?
Idiot Witness: I don’t know
Galanter: You don’t know? You didn’t realize that you were facing a possibility of life imprisonment?
Idiot Witness: I’m not sure.
Thankfully Galanter finally gives up and passes the witness.
Then Bryson gets up to cross. And between the witness I hate facing the lawyer I hate – I know I’m going to hate this.
Bryson does make one good point, though. Ehrlich had originally said in his statement a month ago that he had his hand on the doorknob the entire time he was in room 1203. Bryson points out from pictures of the room that from this vantage point, with his hand on the doorknob, the witness wouldn’t even be able to see the area of the bed, where he places Fromong, Beardsley and OJ. All the witness can say to this is “Yeah, I told the police I had my hand on the doorknob the entire time.” In his own style of testifying, the witness also says that yeah, he did earlier say to the DA that he didn’t know where Fromong and Beardsley were in the room (which would be explained if he really did have his hand on the doorknob the entire time – he wouldn’t have been able to see them). But Ehrlich says that the reason he said that earlier was because he didn’t have a diagram of the room. Which is a typical Ehrlich kind of answer.
Kind of like when Bryson asks about an earlier statement that said Ehrlich was never introduced to Stewart – Ehrlich says yeah, that he was never introduced FORMALLY. Which still makes you wonder if he was introduced or not.
He does contradict most of the things that Riccio said about Ehrlich, though. Riccio said Ehrlich asked if the guys in the room had guns – Ehrlich doesn’t remember saying that. He either does or he doesn’t remember having a conversation with Stewart. He told the police he never did – he said on the stand today that he didn’t put that in his statement – but he did have a conversation with Stewart. He was sure in his statement that when Riccio met Cashmore and himself in the lobby that Riccio got off an elevator. When Bryson asks if it is true that he has no personal knowledge of Stewart participating in any of the planning of this whole deal – Ehrlich says sure he does – Stewart was talking at the pool with all of them. Even though moments before he wasn’t sure if Stewart was at the pool and he was or wasn’t introduced to Stewart – formally.
Bryson then plays the whole “foggy memory” game with Charlie that Galanter gave up on – where he asks Ehrlich “If you remember talking to Stewart and you remember him saying stuff – what did he say?” And Ehrlich answering “I don’t recall”.
Bryson then makes another good point when he points out that although Ehrlich says that after the incident he was pissed and he was in shock and he was quite shook up – he wasn’t so shocked and shook up that he couldn’t go out to dinner that night then to a bar where he (in his words) “tried to pick up a broad” and then he went and played blackjack.
Then it’s time for re-direct.
Roger plays all the portions of the tape where, during the incident, Stewart is saying naughty words and phrases like “Stand up you motherfuckers” and “Bag it up – bag that shit up.” And “He don’t even know who the fuck we are.”
Roger says to Ehrlich – all of these things – these are all being said by Mr. Stewart, right? He wasn’t just in the corner like a wilted lily.”
Ehrlich says yeah, those things are all being said by Mr. Stewart, but at this point I don’t think I would trust Mr. Ehrlich identifying his mother’s voice.
Bryson feels the same way – on re-cross he points out that Ehrlich had only met Stewart that day, and since he can’t decide whether or not he’s even had a conversation with Stewart, how in the hell can he identify his voice on a tape recording a year later?’
Then the jury has questions. The funny part is that a whole stack of the questions is the same question – When the hell did you actually arrive, Mr. Ehrlich? I think they get the picture.
They also want to know why Ehrlich said to Riccio on the phone “I got the scratch”. Ehrlich says that’s because that’s what OJ told him to say, but in a follow up question Galanter points out that OJ only told Ehrlich to make the people believe he was the buyer and that he had the money – he didn’t actually tell Ehrlich to use the words “I’ve got the scratch”. Ehrlich agrees that the verbiage was his own.
And finally we are done with Ehrlich – and we get to the judge and her meltdowns.
The reason the judge ends up having her meltdowns is because the state wants to call David Cook as their next witness. David Cook is the lawyer for Fred Goldman.
Galanter gets up and wants Mr. Roger to show an offer of proof for this witness. Which is odd and highly unusual since the state has offered motions to the court in liminae on this witness before trial. They do this, offer up motions anticipating arguments on a witness or what the witness will offer before trial, and get a judge’s ruling before trial, just so the other side doesn’t stand up in court and object to your calling a witness.
But despite the judge’s previous rulings on this witness, Galanter gets up and objects, anyway, and asks for an offer of proof.
And this is where the judge fucks up for the FIRST time. She should have said, at that point, “Mr. Galanter – we’ve had motions and briefs already before the bench on this witness – I’ve made my rulings, sit down.” But no, she asks Mr. Roger for an offer of proof. Which totally renders moot all the pretrial motions and briefs, doesn’t it? Why make pre-trial rulings on motions – or motions at all – if you are going to allow the attorneys to second guess those motions. And it’s puzzling to me that whenever Bryson or Lucherini renew their motion to sever, she is firm with them and says “Yup – I’ve ruled on that – motion denied – again.” And she has no wishy washy back and forth arguments from them, but when Galanter gets up on a previously ruled upon motion, she invites them all to take to the floor to make renewed arguments. Why? Why, why why?
So Mr. Roger offers that he will call Cook to ask if there is a judgment against Mr. Simpson, and for Cook to authenticate the original judgment. Roger says that Mr. Cook was retained by the Goldman estate to pursue assets for the judgment and that in the course of doing that he prepared interrogatories. These interrogatories ask about he location of assets and personal property, and people who may be holding property for Simpson and whether or not Simpson is owed any money from anyone. Cook will say that Simpson answered No to these questions – that no one owes him any money or property nor is no one holding property for him. Roger says he will also ask Cook to explain turnover orders.
Galanter questions the relevance of this line of questioning and this witness. For several reasons. Galanter says that there is an exemption on personal property – and any property that has a value of less than $500 – so this property in question would not be subject to a turnover order. He says he asked Riccio these questions – if there was commercial value to this property and Riccio said no – that the only value would be to OJ. Additionally Galanter argues that there is no question in the interrogatories that deals with property that was stolen – there is no question about whether or not you’ve filed police reports about stolen property and that the interrogatories only address the time period that the interrogatories are sent in – the timeframe of February 2007 – the date of the interrogatories – they don’t deal with property stolen 10 years before the interrogatories are filled out.
Roger finally brings up the point that the judge has already ruled on this issue – he reminds the judge that her earlier ruling was tat the State could not bring in evidence of the murders – but that they could bring in limited evidence on the civil judgment, specifically as it pertained to the assets that were subject to the turnover order. He adds that OJ himself talks about this judgment on the tapes and that it was the motive for the robbery – that Mike Gilbert was part of the conspiracy to hide assets from the sheriffs and the seizure order and secret the property away so the Goldman’s wouldn’t have access to it.
Galanter dismisses the court’s earlier ruling as a “pretrial motion” and that now that they are more “focused” that there is nothing about this trial that concerns the judgment other than the fact that Cook wouldn’t have knowledge of Fromong or Gilbert or any of the other allegations. Galanter also points out that yes, OJ owes $33 million dollars, but half of that judgment he owes to his children. It’s not $33 million to the Goldman’s. Galanter argues that the state only wants to admit this information for it’s prejudicial effect – that there is absolutely no probative value to it. Galanter says if OJ had lied on the interrogatories, that would be one thing, but he didn’t. And that this is just a way for the state to remind the jury about the prior case.
The judge has her first meltdown of the day and just gets up and leaves the bench. Of course this is happening outside the presence of the jury, but it still is not very professional. I swear to God at a couple points during these arguments I thought she was going to cry. And her whole demeanor was one of defeat – like she was just confused and unsure of herself. Fucking Judge Marilyn Milian (the hottest judge on TV) has never looked as defeated as Judge Glass looked today during these arguments. It was positively surreal.
And this went on for hours and hours and hours. The judge would seemingly make a ruling, Galanter would get back up and start arguing again, and instead of banging her gavel and saying “I’ve ruled Mr. Galanter”, she would waver, allow Galanter to continue arguing, have a bench conference and then make a quasi ruling again and then break down and leave the bench.
So the judge looks at her pre trial motion to refresh her memory as to why she ruled the way she ruled, and she *almost* makes a new ruling, until she starts second guessing herself again and starts asking questions of the lawyers. She asks about the “exemption” rule, and Galanter makes an assertion “As an officer of the court” that there is, indeed, a law in California that all property valued under $500 and that is considered personal items are exempt from seizure.
The judge then questions whether these items are a.) worth under $500 and b.) considered personal property.
Galanter then says that yes, they are worth under $500 and that they are considered personal property, and that he knows that if these items came before the court in California that they would get another judgment that these items are exempt. Just like all the other exemptions he’s gotten on other personal property for OJ – like his Rolex watch. Which is bullshit. Not the fact that he got an exemption on OJ’s Rolex – which in itself is bullshit – but the fact that these items are worth less than $500 and are considered personal property. The judge questions this statement as well. Saying “You’ve gotten exemptions on things like footballs and trophies?” And I know she’s thinking “Hold up – didn’t I hear on Entertainment Tonight that OJ’s Heisman trophy got seized?” Because that’s what *I’m* thinking.
Galanter finally gives in a little and admits that there hasn’t been these kinds of items before the court since he (and Cook) have been handling these matters. He says Petrocelli got the Heisman trophy seized – but that was because it had “extraordinary value” – but that these things wouldn’t be subject to seizure.
Roger finally gets up to rebut some of this bullshit and he says :Look – we aren’t going to get into the area of what’s exempt and what isn’t – I just want this witness to say that there is a judgment in effect and that they issued interrogatories and asked about property and he said that he had no property and besides all that – a debtor does NOT get to determine on his own what is exempt and what isn’t – and he doesn’t get to determine it’s worth, either. If these are “heirlooms” as he’s been calling them – well, a person can’t just decide that an “heirloom” has no value outside of sentimentality. The court decides the value and the worth, and we aren’t going down that path.
So this crap and these arguments go on for literally hours – with Judge Glass alternating between almost making a ruling and running off the bench in frustration and defeat.
The long and short of it is that the state wants to make the point that if OJ owned this property and had a right to “recover” it, then why didn’t he state on the interrogatories that he “owned” this property and it was in the hands of someone else – as he should have. The state’s position is not that the items were stolen, but that they were in the hands of an agent of OJ’s for purposes of defeating the seizure order. Mike Gilbert then converted the property and OJ was pissed about that, and it gave OJ the mens rea, or intent, to commit a robbery to get them back.
The defense, on the other hand, thinks that it would be silly for OJ to write down on the interrogatories that he owned this property because it wasn’t in the hands of one of his agents, under OJ’s ultimate custody and control, but that it was stolen from him,. And the interrogatories don’t expect you to write down property that you once owned but was stolen – just as if there was a judgment against Galanter today – and someone came to him and said “What do you have that would satisfy this judgment against you” Galanter would not write down “I had a car stolen from me 10 years ago.” The interrogatories are sent out to determine what shit someone has to seize, and since these items were not available to be seized, there was no purpose in putting them on the list.
Roger does say, though, that the memorabilia can be used to satisfy the judgment, and that, in fact, when this case is through the stuff WILL be going to California.
Galanter informs the judge that if she admits this shit into evidence that he will make a motion for a mistrial, which just throws her into even more of a tizzy. Lucherini takes this opportunity to renew his objections and ask for severance again, since they’ve now been arguing over evidentiary matters for 3 hours and none of this has anything to do with his client. And this spillover effect is killing him.
Finally they bring in Cook, outside the presence of the jury, and the judge questions him about the interrogatories. When he’s through Galanter has a smug look on his face because Cook basically says everything Galanter wants him to say – that the interrogatories are there to turn up shit that can be seized at the time, and that no, he wouldn’t expect something stolen 10 years ago to be on the list.
But Cook also says, under questioning from Roger that the interrogatories are there to cast a wide net – and that if OJ had property that was in the hands of Mike Gilbert, that should have been listed.
The judge also admonishes the witness, because Galanter warns her that this guy has been known to run off at the mouth and cause mistrials with his unsolicited comments. She tells him not to pollute her jury. He promises not to.
Then she has another meltdown. Or maybe that was earlier. She had several.
And she is going to think on all this tonight, and let everyone know if Cook will testify tomorrow or not. And we’ll get to see if he runs off at the mouth and pollutes the jury and causes a mistrial. I *really* want to see Judge Glass if that happens. She’ll probably shoot herself in the head right there on the bench.
To sum up: If you are charged with 12 felonies and are facing a life sentence, you should probably be aware of that; If you then get a plea deal where you only face probation, that’s probably a good thing, whether you remember it or not; Be good to your kids if you plan on killing someone, you might end up owing them 1/2 of $33 million dollars. And try disciplining a kid you owe 1/2 of $33 million dollars to; “Billy – go to time out!” “Fuck you Dad, give me 17 million dollars!”; You can probably pee on Judge Glass’s leg and tell her it’s raining, even though Judge Judy would never let you get away with that.