WHAT HAPPENED FRIDAY? After three days of closing arguments from the prosecution and defense, the jury in the Phil Spector murder trial will finally begin deliberations today in Los Angeles. Friday began with the finale of the defense's closing argument. After using the entire Thursday session, Spector lawyer Linda Kenney-Baden needed another three hours to try to convince the jurors that there's reasonable doubt in this case. But while Kenney-Baden was stealthily effective the previous day, Friday found her lethargic and dull. She was at the point of overkill, as jurors started nodding off less than two hours into Kenney-Baden's monologue, and the foreman cut her off mid-sentence to tell the judge they needed their mid-morning break.
To make matters worse, the defense's PowerPoint program continued to malfunction. Kenney-Baden's slow verbal gait hit the brakes for a good four minutes as the defense team struggled to find a list of potential female witnesses the prosecution did not call to the stand. Once the list was found and Kenney-Baden's point was made, the prosecution leaped up to object, saying the list of potential female witnesses were all witnesses the prosecution wanted to call to the stand but weren't allowed, and thus the defense had given the jury misinformation. Judge Fidler lambasted the defense, and we continued on our molasses pace.
The highlights of day two of the defense's closing arguments: Baden-Kenney continued her analysis of Spector chauffeur Adriano de Souza's butchering of the English language. As an example, while de Souza talked to police in the days following Lana Clarkson's death, he told the officers that she is "not new," but really meant "not young." Kenney-Baden then attacked each one of the women who said Spector pointed a gun at them when they tried to leave. She again focused on government failures at the crime scene and autopsy room, and finally summed up Spector's case with a twenty-minute itemized list of reasons why the jury must acquit her client.
Court TV commentators remarked how there was no "A-ha" moment in the defense's closing argument. Sadly, an "A-ha" moment does not involve Kenney-Baden using the PowerPoint to karaoke "Take On Me;" it means that there was no stirring revelation which makes the jury throw their arms up and say "A-ha, innocent!" And without an "A-ha" moment, Pat Dixon of the DA's office stepped up to the plate for the prosecution's rebuttal closing argument.
Dixon started things off by completely demolishing Kenney-Baden's claim that de Souza doesn't understand English. Several audiotapes of telephone calls from the night of Clarkson's death are played, and de Souza repeats over and over again "My boss said he thinks he killed somebody" and that Spector held the gun in his right hand, something the defense denies happening. De Souza tells the police on the phone that he's hiding in his car because he's afraid of the gun-wielding Spector, and only exits the Mercedes upon seeing the police lights flicker on the driveway. De Souza might not fully comprehend English, but he comprehends reality, and reality according to him is that Spector says "I think I killed somebody."
If Kenney-Baden put the jurors to bed, then Dixon helped tuck them in. He meticulously and mechanically went through each defense point, negated it, and moved along. His speech lacked fireworks and flare, and many jurors were probably thinking, "I wish deputy DA Alan Jackson was running this show." Dixon mercifully ended the prosecution's rebuttal closing argument in two hours. Judge Fidler immediately sent the jurors home for the weekend, knowing that Monday, today, at a half past noon Pacific standard time, they will begin their deliberations to decide whether to convict or acquit Phil Spector for the crime of fatally shooting Lana Clarkson.
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