Friday, January 22, 2010

Not. About. Abortion

At least twice today, one of Roeder's public defenders, Mark Rudy, tried to lead a witness down the road Rudy had traveled during the preliminary hearing. The witness, Dr. Ryding, said he had noticed Roeder a few months before and had tried to have a conversation. Roeder was "defensive" and his conversation disjointed. Rudy wanted to know why Ryding, and the congregation, was so interested in new people. Ryding insisted it is because they are an open, welcoming church, but Rudy wanted him to say it's because some people come there to protest Dr. Tiller. Ryding worked hard not to go there, and Nola Foulston objected several times. At one point, Ryding said quite forcefully into the microphone the word "worship". When I first heard it, I wasn't certain what he had said. Apparently, neither was Rudy. He thought the word was "abortion" and repeated it. I figured it was "worship" because that's how Ryding continued. Rudy said "abortion" twice when questioning Ryding before he was stopped and the jury dismissed. The transcript was read back. Other than Rudy, everyone had heard "worship". Judge Wilbert gave Rudy the benefit of the doubt that he had honestly heard "abortion" (like I said, I questioned it originally). Later, Rudy was leading Ryding down the path to say he knew Dr. Tiller would eventually be killed, based on what he had told a detective back in May. Before Foulston could object, Wilbert stopped the questioning and called everyone to his bench. After that, Rudy stopped trying to get the answer.

Wilbert said if the witness opened the door to talk about Dr. Tiller's profession, Rudy could continue. But that Ryding had not opened the door. He had let Rudy try to get it out of Ryding, but he stopped it when it was going no where. It was getting the witness and Rudy quite frustrated (there were a couple of heated exchanges).

Wilbert had said several times before that this trial would not be about abortion. Today, he reminded the gallery not to make noises or motions that would influence the jury one way or the other. And then he stopped Rudy from forcing a witness to talk about Dr. Tiller's profession. Wilbert is keeping an eye on the questioning and keeping the trial about murder, not abortion.

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