By Besha Rodell
By Patrick Range McDonald
By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
Stroh — who twice broke down on the witness stand in stuttering confusion — now claims Doe told her, “I don’t remember what I did, but I know I had sex with all three boys.” Obmann now claims Doe told her, “If they did drug me, that’s whack [meaning “stupid”] because they didn’t need to do that.” Matsumoto now claims Doe told her, “I don’t know why they drugged me, because I would have done it anyway.”
Defense attorney Scalisi asked each girl what she thought of Doe. “I believe she’s dishonest,” Obmann said.
Under cross-examination, Hess asked Obmann why she claimed Doe was dishonest. Because, Obmann said, Doe lied to her parents so she could attend parties. Noting that Obmann admitted that she and her friends also lied to parents in order to attend parties, the deputy D.A. asked, “So you have the same opinion about your other friends?”
“No,” said Obmann, reasoning that her current friends didn’t lie as much as Doe. She later told a reporter that the girls had taken a “moral” stand for the defendants.
After Obmann, Scalisi quickly called to the witness stand Nicole Maloney, another ex-friend of Doe’s. Here’s the exchange:
Scalisi: What’s your opinion of Doe?
Maloney: She’s dishonest.
Scalisi: She’s a liar?
Scalisi: I have nothing further.
Hess is a mild-mannered veteran deputy D.A., but his aggressive cross-examination of the girls — who blurted out the alleged victim’s name more than a half-dozen times — proved illuminating. He got a reluctant Stroh to admit that she originally told police Doe’s story about the rape was “truthful”; that she’d originally told police Doe was “out of it” during the rape; and that her assertion that Doe wanted to be a “porn star” had been taken out of context by the defense.
“She was, uh, really, like, a joking person,” said Stroh, who glanced at the defendants and then added, “Joking but in a serious way.”
It’s Obmann who might get the defense in the most trouble. She acknowledged that four days before testifying she amended her written statement to dovetail with the defense.
“Yeah, I corrected it,” she testified.
Hess asked her if she and the other girls had ever talked about what to say on the witness stand.
“No, never,” said Obmann as she slowly chewed gum and swiveled happily in the witness chair.
Hess repeated the question firmly. Obmann stopped moving in her seat, stared at the prosecutor and, after a pause, said, “Yeah,” there had been discussions.
Obmann also confessed that the defense lawyers had, in violation of the judge’s instructions, supplied Doe’s testimony in preparation for their appearances; that she’s close to the defendants (her boyfriend is Spann’s best friend); and that she’d given her exclusive story to CBS’s 48 Hours, the only news outlet with regular, friendly access to the often angry Haidl clan.
Obmann’s hourlong testimony even has a 48 Hours cliffhanger: She has visited Cavallo’s Irvine office at least three times, and Hess asked her if the defense lawyer had promised her an internship after the trial. Cavallo objected to the question, but Briseno overruled him. “No,” said Obmann.
Minutes later, Hess further infuriated Cavallo when he returned to the subject. Haidl’s lead attorney demanded a meeting in the judge’s chamber; following that meeting, Hess continued to drill down into the subject of a possible quid pro quo. Despite Obmann’s denials, Hess’ confidence in this line of questioning suggests he’ll call a witness to contradict Obmann.
Although Briseno ordered Obmann “not to talk about the case with any of the other witnesses,” she hurried from the courtroom and down the hallway to Stroh, Matsumoto, Maloney and defense investigator John Warren. Far from the dignity and composure Doe exhibited during more than 16 grueling hours on the witness stand, Obmann played the diva. She put her hand on her hip, cocked her head, shook her finger and bitched about prosecutor Hess. Cavallo walked up behind her, squeezed her shoulder, looked back at this reporter and smiled.
For previous articles on the Haidl gang-rape case, see www.ocweekly.com.
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