Wednesday, January 10, 2007

You Go to Court with the Case You Have, Not the Case You Wish You Had

INOTBB, like Spartacus, has many faces, with many eyes and ears. Although some of our "I" has to work, others of us are willing to sit in the old I.Magnin store that's now a U.S. Bankruptcy Court to hear the News-Press have at the Teamsters, claiming they're scary and make people overwhelming vote to join them (or else).

So, here are some of the highlights from Day One:

The fact that Scott Steepleton, Travis Armstrong and Yolanda Apodaca had to come out from behind their office walls and be questioned about their version of events was very satisfying. While Yolanda was low-key and coherent on the stand, the behavior of the other two highlighted their eccentricities and, at times, bordered on clownish. The best part of the whole day was when Steepleton described a procession of employees as a march, with stomping feet, and felt that he had to puncuate his testimony by standing up in the witness box and marching in place, swinging his arms high and stomping his feet loudly. Of course, this was comic when he first did it, but became absurd when he felt the need to do it two more times during his testimony. It really underscores how ill-fit he is for written journalism when the associate editor doesn't feel words can convey that simple of a description.

The audience was full of union and employee supporters (with the only News-Press people being those who were lawyering or testifying) so it felt very congenial in the courtroom.

The judge seems on the ball with a very low tolerance for shenanigans or wasting the court's time. He didn't grant the motion to dismiss the News-Press charges completely, but perhaps he is just trying to give it a full hearing before grinding it into small bits in his decision. After all, wer'e talking about lawyers (for McCaw et al.) who in their questioning of fired Life Editor Andrea Huebner insinuated that as an exempt employee she might not be entitled to lunch. They seemed quite surprised that Huebner, as a journalist, had investigated her rights as an exempt employee.

One great moment overheard in the courtroom: When a lawyer asked Travis what words staffers had used to curse him, Starshine Roshell whispered to her former colleagues, "Here, let me...."

Perhaps the juiciest bit was that Teamster lawyer Ira Gottlieb asked Scott Steepleton if it was true that he was fired from the Ventura bureau of the L.A. Times for lying. The judge didn't let that line of questioning continue, but the fact that it's now out in the public, especially after the News-Press' unconscionable airing of what it claims at convenient moments are private personnel matters, pleased more than a few in the audience.


Anonymous David Pritchett said...

Thanks for covering this. The World now has original accounts, all at web sites, from:
INOTBB (this blog),
Craig Smith blog,
Independent Media Blog, and
Daily Sound newspaper forum with reader comments (i.e., another blog).

Notice a trend here?
FOUR independent blog journalists are covering it with same-day or next-day reports.

10:40 AM  

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