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Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Fun with Trial Transcripts

Posted By on Tue, Jun 5, 2007 at 4:23 PM

As reported in the Sucka Free City article “Stop Snitching,” the federal trial of medical marijuana activist Ed Rosenthal has been bizarre. Read on for a few choice bits from trial transcripts.

Rick Watts had to be hauled into court by the cops, where he took the stand as a hostile witness. He was determined to help the prosecution as little as possible, as is evident from this typical exchange:

PROSECUTOR: The next check is for $5000 cash payable to Pineapple, or for Pineapple, isn't that one of the nicknames of one of the marijuana vendors, Pineapple?

WATTS: Could be.

PROSECUTOR: Do you know a man by or a lady by the name of Pineapple?

WATTS: No. That's a fruit.

PROSECUTOR: I understand it's a fruit. But even though it's a fruit, was there a person named Pineapple --

WATTS: Not that I know of.

Meanwhile, the defense lawyer got downright testy with the government’s cooperating witness, Bob Martin:

DEFENSE LAWYER: Are you suffering harassment because you are considered to be a snitch in the medical marijuana community? Is that why you are pissed off or angry?

PROSECUTOR: Your Honor, that is inappropriate language.

DEFENSE LAWYER: I'm sorry about the "pissed off." It came out unexpectedly.

Finally, the court spent some time discussing whether Rosenthal had a first amendment right to insult the prosecutor inside the courthouse -- he had allegedly followed the prosecutor down the hall, calling him a coward. Eventually the judge affirmed Rosenthal’s first amendment right to call the prosecutor names, but that didn’t end the conversation:

THE JUDGE: So we have said enough about that issue, right?

PROSECUTOR: Yes, Your Honor.

THE JUDGE: Nothing else we have to say to that.

ROSENTHAL: So I can't call him a coward? Your Honor, I just want to understand, can I call him a coward or not?

THE JUDGE: You can call anybody--

ROSENTHAL: Because he is a coward. I'll call it to him in court, and I'll go outside the courtroom and I'll say he is a coward, he's a liar, he's vindictive, and he is in a Rico arrangement with Bob Martin. And I'll say it time and time again until you stop me from saying it. Because once I go outside that courtroom, as you said, I have the First Amendment. [To the prosecutor]: And you are a tattletale and a crybaby.

-- Eliza Strickland

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