By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
Thursday defense attorney Roger Rosen took the extraordinary step of complaining to Judge Fidler that a member of the media had made rude comments about Rachelle Spector in court. Earlier, Fidler had admonished one of the trial bloggers for discussing evidence loudly enough for jurors to hear — the same person accused of ridiculing Mrs. Spector. The blogger, known as Sprocket, denies the charges, claiming to have been set up by a courtroom rival. These incidents were further evidence of an ugly guerrilla war that has erupted among certain factions of bloggers and people who post to Court TV’s Spector trial message board. Perhaps the flap is a measure of the fatigue that has settled in on Department 106. In one sense the Spector proceedings havebecome another Simpson trial in that there is a feeling of indeterminate drift that not even the judge can control.
Someday this trial will end. For a while it looked as though the case was winding down, but Labor Day week has returned as the expected date for jury deliberations. For now, the lawyers, witnesses and bloggers seem to be up well past their bedtimes as signs of crankiness and inattentiveness appear. Several times the normally focused Jackson addressed Michael Baden as “Dr. DiMaio,” an earlier defense witness, while at one point Baden referred to Lana Clarkson as “Lana Turner.”
Then, last week, one of Spector’s bodyguards broke away from his boss’s entourage to pass along some news to me and another reporter: Mr. Spector was having a party and was hoping that a few of us in the media might attend. I immediately imagined myself sipping tequila in the foyer (“Hey Phil — I’ll have another shot!”), tactfully eyeing the blood-red carpet for where evidentiary pieces had been removed and patched. The invitation was soon revealed to be a gag (ah-ha! indeed), so I saved myself a trip to the car wash — and some awkward moments at the castle gate. Was this joke what lay behind Rachelle’s enigmatic smile?
There are times when even the courthouse itself seems to conspire against us, as though it were a malevolent force all its own. One afternoon I left the trial and got into an elevator with a Sheriff’s deputy. The doors continuously bounced apart just as they seemed ready to close, accompanied by a recorded female voice that pleasantly repeated, “Going down.”
After a full minute of this, the deputy said, “One more time.” The doors then drew together so close, only to spread apart at the last moment, sending the frustrated cop into the hall. “Going down,” the robot voice lied. I lingered briefly, then stepped out to see where my fellow passenger had gone. The hallway was empty, even though the deputy couldn’t possibly have caught another car or taken the stairs so quickly. Yet he was nowhere to be seen. It was as though the courthouse had swallowed him whole.
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