Crosstown Traffic

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Thursday night, the show started with one of those "surprises."

Seconds before we started, our new line producer in New York (who incidentally worked with me years ago at CNN) said to me that Dr. Baden (search) did not look like he would make the show. I looked down at my rundown to remind myself where he was in my line up of guests. I noted that he was in the B block — the second segment — and he was to follow the coroner in Idaho. I mentally "changed gears" and prepared myself to go twice as long with the coroner (which is what we did.) It was not difficult to do since the coroner is on the scene in Idaho and had much to offer us in terms of information and experience.

Why didn't Dr. Baden make the show on time? He is in Los Angeles and got caught in traffic — a common problem. If you have ever been to L.A., you know about the traffic. Every time I go out there I wonder how they stand it on a daily basis. Yes, I know the weather and they are an hour from the mountains, an hour from the desert, an hour from the ocean. But what they don't tell you, with all the traffic, they are two hours from the grocery store, two hours from the dry cleaners, three hours from work, etc.

I don't know about you, but my hopes for those two children in Idaho are dimming. For some reason when this murder first happened and the kids were made part of an Amber alert, I felt certain they would be found alive and well. I guessed (hoped?) that they ran off terrified into the countryside in the midst of the murder happening and that searchers would find them. I had no facts on my side — there are no facts to guide us — but I just guessed it and hoped it. My optimism is rapidly declining as the days roll by ... but, maybe we will get "lucky." I never thought we would get "lucky" with Elizabeth Smart (search) but we did. So maybe we will this time, too. If they are out there hiding, weather is a huge factor as to how well they can do or how long they can survive. Of course, they could also have been kidnapped and are alive — but many states away. Bottom line: at this point, no one knows.

Here are some e-mails from viewers — as always, randomly grabbed from the show account:

E-mail No. 1

When did the world become too P.C. to call a suspect a suspect? This "Person of Interest" term is wearing me out. Is it or is it not the definition of suspect a person of interest? Have I missed a memo or something? Please be the one to call this weak language out for what it is. I "suspect" that if you don't, I may become "a person of disinterest" real fast.
Eric Rubenstein
Beverly Hills, CA

ANSWER: Eric, I don't know where this "person of interest" term came from. Frankly, it sounds like "junior suspect" to me. While we are at it, what ever happened to "noodles?" Now everything is pasta. And, do you still "dial" a number? I do and I have not seen a dial phone in 20 years! And one more: When did we start saying that someone "went missing?" What is wrong with "vanished" or "disappeared?" If you notice, I don't say "went missing." I stick to "disappeared" or "vanished."

E-mail No. 2

You may be correct in your assertion about people making mistakes. However what you fail to realize is, that in making that mistake it becomes a life sentence. You actually become a non-person no matter what the remainder of your life amounts to. That amounts to cruel and unusual punishment. However for those of us without the means to do anything about it we become stigmatized for the remainder of our days.
Perhaps you could do a piece about those of us ex-cons who have made a single mistake but spend the rest of their lives paying for it.
Ray LaVay

ANSWER: I agree — many people do hold mistakes against others for life and thus it becomes a life sentence. The fact that people do it does not make it right. As noted yesterday, I believe in rehabilitation. Frankly, there are an awful lot of people who live in "glass houses."

E-mail No. 3

I've heard Laura Ingle say several times that she has difficulty getting courtroom passes because she is not considered a national or local reporter. This is possibly a dumb question, but can't you give her press credentials from FOX News and instantly make her a "national reporter?"

ANSWER: Don't get me started on Laura's difficulty getting a daily pass because she is not considered a national or local reporter. It is so ridiculous. As for FOX getting her a pass, we have only one pass each day. No news organization has two passes into the Jackson trial — as far as I know. I think our pass goes to either Trace Gallagher or Jim Hammer. They are then responsible to provide reporting for FOX. Technically, Laura is responsible to KFI-Radio and not us. She can refuse to go on our air anytime she wants but she can't refuse KFI. She is their employee.

E-mail No. 4

Hi Greta!
That black and yellow looked great on you! Black is your color. Go a little stronger in the lipstick, tho!
Ann Brantley

ANSWER: I figure if I lose this job, Hertz will hire me with that color scheme last night.

E-mail No. 5 — note from Jim Hammer in the Michael Jackson (search) trial:

Trial Note — May 19, 2005

The day started with that tension n the courtroom when come thing big is going to happen. Today, Larry King (search) was expected to testify and at 8:30 a.m. He was seated in the front row of the audience part of the courtroom, surrounded by lawyers. This trial seems like the Lawyer Full Employment Act at times. The judge decided to hold a 402 hearing before he testified. That’s a hearing OUTSIDE the presence of the jury to determine if his testimony would be relevant or admissible before the jury hears it, that way they’re not poisoned by it if the judge decides to keep it out.

What King had to say was indeed explosive. Outside the jury’s presence he testified that he was having breakfast with Larry Feldman last year when Feldman said that he thought the current accuser’s family was "out for money," making things up and that Feldman wanted no part of the case. According to King, Feldman called the current accuser’s mom a "wacko!" If the jury had heard these words coming out of their own attorney’s mouth it would have been devastating to the D.A.'s case. Already, a lot of questions have been raised about the mother's mental stability. The defense has called her a liar. But her own former attorney calling her that would have been death for the D.A. After hearing King testify, the judge ruled that it did not "impeach" the mother directly and other than that it would be opinion evidence regarding her credibility, which is ordinarily not admissible. The D.A. dodges a huge bullet, just as they did yesterday when the judge kept out 2 defense witnesses from the mother’s prior lawsuit against JC Penney’s. They were also going to call the mother a liar and say she had fabricated that prior suit.

So the jury will never hear this evidence … unless somehow someone violates the order not to watch media reports about the case. Outside the courtroom, in the large media pit in front of the courthouse, Larry King’s testimony was all the buzz. Friday, Mark Geragos re-takes the stand to finish his testimony. We’ll have to wait then to see what the judge does about last week’s hitch with Jackson’s "limited" attorney-client privilege.
Jim Hammer
Santa Maria Courthouse

E-mail No. 6 — note from Laura Ingle at the Jackson trial:

Larry King came and went quickly today — he was questioned by the judge this morning about what he was called here by the defense to say. King had a conversation with attorney Larry Feldman, who had been contacted by the accuser's family to represent them. King says Feldman told him the mom was "wacko" and that the family was out for money. The judge ruled king's testimony would be irrelevant and told him he could go.

Azja Pryor took the stand next. She is the mother of the child of actor comedian Chris Tucker. She is a beautiful young woman with long straight dark hair and reminds me a little of model Tyra Banks. She and Chris Tucker became close with the accuser and his family around the time of the alleged conspiracy. She has been an endearing witness. She teared up when asked about the accuser and his brother and sister "it's hard for me ... because I do really love the kids a lot." She said that the boys were a little misbehaved at times, but that she considered them like family. She says she called them, "my Mexican brothers and sisters ...they called me big sister." She says during the time they were allegedly being held against their will the kids or mom never said anything to her about that ... and that the mother was excited and anxious to take part in making the rebuttal video she claims she was forced into making. Pryor testified that the mom had told her that she wanted to do it to set the record straight. The "Living with Michael Jackson" documentary had taken her son's relationship out of context and she wanted to tell the world about the "beautiful friendship" between Michael and her family.

Inside the courtroom: there is a very theatrical procedure that takes place when the judge takes the bench. Once the jury is seated and the attorneys and Jackson are standing, the bailiff hits a doorbell. The chime rings, then the door behind the bench opens, and the judge takes his seat. It always reminds me of watching an actor come from "stage left" into a scene at a play. Today at 10 a.m., the bell was rung, he came out but the jury was seated yet. A "misfiring" by the always strict bailiff that is the bell ringer. He came out and sat down and looked up, saw no jury and looked at the bailiff like "What's going on?" She gave him the "umpires thumb" like, "You're outta here" and he had to go back and wait, then come back in for a second ringing of the doorbell.

The defense timeline debate still rages on in Santa Maria. We have heard that the case may rest next week or the first week of June. Speculation that Jackson was going to take the stand is being downplayed today ... but that keeps changing. The defense case timeline has fluctuated, because the defense team has cut its list. The judge has limited character witnesses, which has made the list go from over 100 to 40 something.

Tomorrow Mark Geragos is coming back to finish his testimony. Last week he had to stop because as it turned out, he had only been given a partial attorney client privilege waiver and can't talk about things after Jackson's arrest. I wonder how tired he will be? You see, tonight, Geragos is hosting the seventh annual “Armenian Music Awards” in Hollywood. There's a red carpet event, art show, then music awards. It's at the Hollywood Palladium on Sunset Boulevard and the press person told me today it is sold out.

And finally, an observation from the jury break area: I've told you that the Eagles seem to be the music pick of choice lately that jurors listen to in their area. Today I heard "Take it Easy" ... still going strong with Don Henley, Glenn Fry and Joe Walsh! I like to test myself to see if I can make out the songs ... sort of a "Name that Tune" in the brief time I walk by the area. Testing my rock and roll brain muscle!
Laura Ingle

And now for some "Inside Baseball" that you don't want to miss:

Registered FOX Fans (subscribers to the GretaWire newsletter are already registered) are eligible to be a part of FOX Fan night at New York Mets’ Shea Stadium on Friday, June 10th. Fans who want to be a part of a pre-game picnic and a great night of baseball should call 877-326-7369 starting May 23rd at 10am ET. Space is limited, and invitations will be given on a first-come, first-served basis, so mark your calendar and make the call! And if you're not sure if you're a registered FOX Fan or not, go to and sign up!

And here is another bit of trivia: I am throwing out the first baseball. My husband told me the distance is 90 feet and that I had better practice or I would make a fool out myself. I freaked when he said 90 feet — turns out it is 60 and he was just trying to scare me.

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