LISA MARIE PRESLEY WILL BE CALLED: Danny Masterson Trial, Day 16, morning break report
[This report was produced live during a court hearing with a lot going on. There will be typos. Please don't email us about typos that you find.]
Non-jury day. Morning session.
Ah, the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center. How familiar we are with its spaces and people now. And in particular, of course, the elevators.
There's a bank of elevators in the center of the structure that carry large numbers of people up and down this tall building in Los Angeles, and they can get very crowded. You hear a lot of grousing about them, and at certain parts of the day it can be a real challenge to get where you're going.
And one car in particular has been wonky the whole time we've been coming to the trial. When it filled up with riders it would sag a bit, creating a little step down to get into it from the main floor, which was a bit troubling. We had a feeling we were taking some chances every time we got into it.
Well, this morning, as we arrived for today's non-jury day, we went to the bank of elevators to find a maintenance man shouting into the closed doors of that wonky car. It was apparent that it has finally gone fully haywire, and a group of folks were trapped in it. The maintenance man was shouting at them that the fire department was on its way.
We sure hope that no one associated with the Masterson case is stuck in there. We were a little early (as usual) and so chances are the poor folks stuck in the car were for another case. By the time we get back down the lobby at lunch, it will probably all be taken care of. But this morning, at least, it provided a little drama.
And as long as we have a little time before things get started, we will place a little notice here: If you're a YouTuber reading this material to your audience, we are very happy that you are interested in our work and spreading it to your followers. We only ask that you do the polite thing and mention that you are reading from the reporting of Tony Ortega at tonyortega.substack.com
Hey, since there's no jury and no witnesses on the stand today, Judge Olmedo and the attorneys will likely be speaking very fast and using a lot of legal language. So we will probably have to paraphrase a lot of things as we try to keep up. Please keep that in mind.
Danny and Bijou have arrived. And Bijou is speaking! She usually keeps pretty quiet in court, but since this is sort of a casual day, she's chatting with the bailiff and Karen Goldstein. We didn't realize she had such a nasally-sounding voice. Danny is wearing a stylish sweater. Karen Goldstein is wearing black slacks. It was drizzling outside this morning, so folks are dressed for the rain and carrying umbrellas.
Sartorial splendor alert: Defense attorney Philip Cohen arrives in tan slacks and a navy jacket, a colorful tie, tan vest, and wearing a...is that a grey boater? Sorry, we don't know our hat styles.
"This is casual? Very cute," Bijou says to him. Well, he has a certain standard to keep up.
"This is your business casual?" Judge Olmedo asks Cohen, and Mueller arrives wearing a dark sweater and grey slacks.
OK, on the record.
Judge Olmedo: I think both parties want to bring up motions, and court wants to start on jury instructions. Let's identify the motions first. Mr. Cohen?
Cohen: We had just a couple of 402s on the remaining witnesses, specifically Miss Presley, Miss Shapiro, Miss Smith, and Miss [JD1 mom]. Primarily to ferret out what is to elicited from them. Perhaps the best way is first for me and Mr. Mueller and Ms. Anson to see what they want to do. It may be a non-issue.
Judge Olmedo: Any other 402s from the defense?
Judge Olmedo: People?
Mueller: Perhaps we can resolve it with the defense. Wanted to talk about the three defense experts. Where are they intending to go. Also, seeking to get stipulation about the handgun?
Cohen: Also the civil lawsuit.
Mueller: Right. And the language on the civil complaint (draft complaint). We had also proposed a stipulation that $400,000 payment that had been made, and then we wouldn't need to call Mr. Singer. And also Jane Doe 4. Should we discuss that?
Judge Olmedo: I just want to identify what we need to cover this morning. So don't do that right now.
Mueller: Sure. I think that's it for the People. We would ask to strike, Mr. Cohen inadvertently mentioned the last name of JD1 (by mis-naming the mother's name.)
So it's stricken.
Judge Olmedo: We still have to finish up with Vargas and Reyes. Asks Cohen how much time for each.
Cohen: I would say, half hour to 45 minutes for each, maybe less.
Judge Olmedo: Other than continuing with Vargas and Reyes, the court holds both sides very close, do you anticipate much redirect?
Mueller: Not much.
Cohen: It seems we've both got more efficient.
Mueller's upcoming witnesses: Jane Doe 1 mother, Rachel Smith, Lisa Marie Presley, and Jane Doe 4.
Judge Olmedo: Shapiro?
Judge Olmedo: Defense experts?
Cohen: One of the three.
Judge Olmedo Have you been talking with Mr. Masterson about testifying? I mean, having a discussion about it?
Judge Olmedo: When we get to the defense case and will ask him about his personal decision about whether he will testify.
Judge Olmedo leaving the bench so the two sides can discuss the witnesses in the jury room.
Wow, OK. So it looks like if they can stipulate on the $400,000 payment, Marty Singer is off the hook and won't testify.
But we also learned that the government does plan to call Lisa Marie Presley, and the real fight today will be over whether to allow Jane Doe 4 to testify.
More after the attorneys get done talking.
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I never quite know how to take it when people tell me I'd've been a good lawyer... They usually say it when they're upset with me after I rhetorically kick their ass. 😆 But I have been looking forward to today's reports so hard. I love the in-the-weeds stuff, the behind-the-scenes stuff. Trials enthrall me utterly. The combo of necessary "boring" minutiae and grand public theatre just hits all the good spots. I live frighteningly close to the Vallow/Daybell mess, and I was super grumpy that the pretrial stuff was mostly hashed out over zoom during lockdowns. I would've been there every day. (If they ever GET to trial I may yet) And of course the one time I've been called for jury duty was last summer when I was right in the middle of an anaphylaxis-fraught abortive round of chemo. I'm still pissed about it. Anyway, the whole point is just (once again) THANK YOU. Thank you for embarking on this massive undertaking, but mostly thank you for doing it so damn well and with such class, style, sartorial splendor updates, keenness, humor, passion AND objectivity, cute weekend scruffiness, and sensitivity. I don't think any one of us can say it enough. Feels like there's a whole fuckton of gratitude down here, just vibes. I'm awfully new to this whole caring-about-scientology bag, but it has grabbed me firmly by the soft, squishy, help-all-the-people chewy center that is the real me. Usually my armor plating of dgaf stay-away neon hair/too many piercings/I don't talk to people crunchy outer shell is pretty effective, but when something hits different I'm all in. And the bunker has been the most incredible resource for relevance and real-world context to all the bookish isolation of binge reading all the memoirs that got me here. Blah blah sorry. Too many words for the "thanks for reporting on the boring day" that this was meant to be.
Love that they are already discussing jury instructions. Way to keep a trial on track. Glad you weren’t in the recalcitrant elevator,