Judge David Wesley recessed Anand Jon's new-trial hearing for lunch a little while ago. Jon used almost all of the morning session to passionately attack rogue juror Alvin Dymally, who had reached out to Jon's sister, Sanjana, in an apparent attempt to woo her or to offer his assistance in influencing jury deliberations in her brother's favor. The history of that fantastic story has been told before. Today Jon, by turns outraged, pleading and sarcastic, made his case before Judge Wesley for a new trial, and is clearly pinning his hopes on the maverick Dymally's questionable actions. In an ironic twist, Jon cited an L.A. Weekly feature written by me early on in the trial as a prejudicial attack that Dymally allegedly admitted reading - even though Judge Wesley admonished jurors not to at the time of its appearance.
Jon, who is now appearing as his own counsel, also heaped scorn on most of his former defense attorneys ("I was an idiot to think these people would save me!"), although Wesley declared he would not second-guess defense strategy and therefore would not consider inadequate legal representation as grounds for a new trial.
The morning session provided several other surprises, including the appearance of Jon's mother, Shashi Abraham, on the witness stand. Like Jon, Abraham is a native of India living in America.
"I am here as a witness," she told Jon, not as your mother." She then told Jon and co-prosecutor Frances Young how Dymally had also made casual, passing contact with her during the trial, at one point reassuring her that Jon was innocent would be set free. Under Young's cross-examination, Abraham said she did not alert authorities early on about the contact because she was afraid.
"I'm scared of you people," she told Young. "The very look of you frightens me."
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For their part, deputy D.A.s Young and Mara McIlvain have remained mostly silent during Jon's perorations. Throughout his speeches which, except for one detour into tears, are delivered in a loud, clear voice, Jon is basically saying, Yes, I may be a womanizer but I'm no rapist.
"I'm not perfect," he said, "but I'm not guilty."
That is a view his jury disagreed with last November, when they found him guilty of 16 sexual abuse counts involving young or underaged women. His frustrations with how his case was handled by police, prosecutors and his own lawyers has been evident from the start today.
"There's so much here," he said in reference to Dymally, as well as the alleged withholding of exculpatory evidence by police, and testimony against him that he believes was tainted. "At what point do you say, 'Something's rotten?'"