Court Resumes with Cross Examination of Mr. Peronard
Judge Molloy started the morning by informing the court that a UM journalism student had apparently tried to contact one or more of the jurors. Judge Molloy issued a stern warning that a second offense would be not be treated leniently, and the student would be getting a visit from a U.S. Marshal. When the jury came in, Judge Molloy briefly explained the reason they were not in court the day before, and repeated his earlier admonishment of the student. He clarified that the juror who was contacted correctly did not speak with the journalist, and reiterated how entirely inappropriate the encounter was.
Mr. Bernick for the defense then resumed cross examination of Mr. Peronard. Mr. Bernick used a whiteboard to explore how the EPA gained access to St. John’s Lutheran Hospital, the screening plant, and the mine. Mr. Peronard was quite successful in elaborating upon Mr. Bernick’s leading questions, in several instances giving explanations beyond the simple “yes or no” answer requested by the attorney. Mr. Peronard would often clarify or qualify his answers, such as stating “Just to be clear, we aren’t talking about…” before answering the question posed by the defense.
The prosecution did object when Mr. Bernick read from Defense Exhibit 5550, which had not been admitted into evidence, while he was attempting to refresh Mr. Peronard’s recollection about access issues with St. John’s Hospital. Evidence used to refresh a witness’s memory is not given to the jury unless it is offered and admitted separately.
Ms. Kubota, representing defendant Jack Wolter, next cross examined the witness. Her questions focused on Exhibit 661, an aerial photograph of the mine, and questions about the location of Rainy Creek Road.
Finally, Mr. Frongillo, representing defendant Robert Bettacchi, used a very persuasive technique to illustrate the time frame relating to Counts 3 and 4 and the EPA’s involvement in Libby at the same time. The exhibits were simple calendars showing the dates correlating to the Counts and the time period when Mr. Peronard began his work in Libby. Count 3 showed an overlap of 206/226 days, with a 304/324 overlap for Count 4. Mr. Frongillo was effective in both eliciting simple “yes” or “no” answers from Mr. Peronard, and clearly demonstrating his point through the illustrations. Judge Molloy at one point allowed Mr. Frongillo to publish the slides to the jury without offering them, stating, “You don’t have to keep offering unless you do something I’m not anticipating,” which elicited a slight chuckle from the court.
– Hannah Stone (posted 2:40)