Saddam in Court: Mayhem and Frustration

FNC's Dana Lewis
Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Another day in court, and the entire press corps is grumbling with frustration! Here’s why: Every time Saddam stands up — silence. Not him, but the audio translation feed. We can see him 20 feet in front of us ranting and waving and thundering on, yet we hear nothing! Why? The judge has a button to silence his microphone. But at times we hear American voices in the room over the translator saying, "stop...go." And the American company that runs the cameras pans away from the most exciting bits to show us the courtroom wall!

The State Department says they are not directing TV coverage. It's the judge.

The Iraqi investigative judge says they are only trying to protect witness identities and security issues by stopping the audio feed. But Saddam is not saying anything sensitive. I honestly want to pick my way through the two inches of bulletproof glass with my court issued pencil so I can cover the trial properly! (That's a joke, in case the U.S. Marshals who handle court security read this and decide I'm a security risk. JOKE!)

Had curried chicken catered to the pressroom for lunch yesterday, but we all would have preferred transcripts!

And my other whine today: When I call the FOX Foreign desk to file breaking news — they no longer accept collect calls (which is all you can make from the court room phones!) I hope that's not a comment on my reporting!

Saddam looked at me yesterday morning and smiled...smirked, really. He must have known what a long, confusing emotional roller coaster of a day it would be. But when he threw his notepad on the floor and his co-accused Barzan Al-Tikriti tried to spit into the spectators gallery, I admit, not even a seasoned reporter would have anticipated so much mayhem in such a small courtroom.