Watching the Anna Nicole courtroom circus brings back a flood of memories. I spent three and a half years working five minutes from the Broward County Courthouse, in the Fort Lauderdale Bureau for the FOX affiliate WSVN 7.
In fact, the theatrics now on display are par for the course at Broward. Some of the other trials I covered in that very same courthouse include:
• A grandmother accused of trying to hire a hitman to kill her son-in-law, who she didn't like. Of course, the hired gun turned out to be an undercover detective (aren't they all now?).
• An Elvis impersonator charged with the murder of a Canadian tourist. The Elvis character (who was convicted) was hanging out with runaways on the beach. After the murder of the tourist, the impersonator ran off with one of the runaways with the dead man's credit cards. After stopping at Graceland, he was captured in Las Vegas. During breaks in the trial, he used to sing Elvis songs for me in the courtroom.
• Kathy Willets, the wife of a Broward County Sheriff's Deputy, charged with prostitution, for turning tricks in her home with a variety of upstanding citizens — including the churchgoing father of four vice-mayors of Fort Lauderdale. The kicker was her husband the cop would hide in the closet and videotape the trysts.
• My all-time favorite: the obscenity trial of rap group 2 Live Crew. Arrested by the BSO after a curse-filled concert in Hollywood, Fla., Luther Campbell and his colleagues put on an even racier show in court. The prosecutor played their music and dissected it line by dirty line. The defense witnesses included a Harvard professor, a Rolling Stone Magazine music critic, and KC of KC and the Sunshine Band, who never actually made it to the stand. The jury laughed through most of the testimony, and the band beat the rap.
And today, the beat goes on ...
Rick Leventhal has been a New York-based correspondent with FOX News Channel (FNC) since June 1997. You can read his bio here.