“Now a bird is being blamed? The BOP is setting itself up for a civil lawsuit after this.” – Judge Martinez
The morning began with a worrying description of the conditions that defense attorneys Alvarez and Freeman heard of upon arrival at the prison to visit Eric following yesterday’s court session. Alvarez told the Judge that Eric returned from court to find his cell was flooded, his personal property damaged, and his legal papers covered in spilled coffee. When pressed, a corrections officer told Eric that a bird flew into the cell and knocked over the coffee. The Judge expressed his frustration with these bullying tactics stating that never in his entire career had such things occurred during the course of trial and it was becoming difficult to believe the BOPs excuses any longer. He then requested that the BOP provide surveillance video of the range where Eric is being held in segregation.
Eric was cross examined by US Attorney Teitelbaum, who attempted to impeach Eric by publishing several pictures, a drawing, and a letter written to his wife prior to the alleged assault. The defense repeatedly objected to these exhibits and had to remind the Government of the rules of the court’s order on the motions in limine. After several sidebars adding to the length of cross examination, Teitelbaum ended his questioning and the defense did not redirect.
The defense called FBI Special Agent Cronan as their next witness. After lengthy back and forth with the Judge and the Government about the purpose of calling this witness, the defense declined to call the agent and rested.
At this point in the day, jurors were brought back to the courtroom for closing arguments and jury instructions.
The Government began its closing argument with the assertion that Eric is guilty. He went on to assert that Mr. Wilcox is trustworthy because of his nervousness that went on to become more comfortable over 3-hours of testimony, also that he openly admitted what he could and could not remember. He asserted that there are two types of people in this world, the ones you can rely on and the ones who seem to have an answer for everything and always believe they are right. In a strange flip of the script the Government seemed to argue that inconsistency made their witnesses against Eric more credible. Teitelbaum completes his closing after 45-minutes.
Lauren Regan, Executive Director of CLDC and lead attorney for Eric’s legal team, made the closing argument. In a response to a strange analogy to a wedding made in the Government’s closing argument, Regan began by saying that 08/17/18 was not a wedding. Not for Eric, who was assaulted. Not for the guards. Not for anyone. Eric’s memory is clear, he was assaulted by Mr. Wilcox in a storage closet. This was not normal. She then reminded the jurors of their duties to uphold Eric’s constitutionally protected rights and his presumption of innocence, underscoring that burden of proof lies with the Government and not with Eric. Unfortunately for the Government, the proof just isn’t there. Because the assault occurred intentionally out of the view of cameras and witnesses, in a room that was clearly not the appropriate venue. She went on to remind jurors that inconsistencies in testimony should cast a shadow of doubt on the credibility of the evidence against Eric. The BOP witnesses repeatedly attempted to obfuscate the clear and simple truth. Wrapping up her argument, Regan reminded the jurors that there are nearly 2 million people imprisoned in this country, prisons are violent places, and cover-ups at the hands of the people holding others captive are real.
Because the burden of proof rests at the feet of the Government, they are given the opportunity to give a rebuttal after the defense closes. US Attorney Spencer stepped in to finalize their case. She began by relaying something she was told by her mother, that “words matter.” Speaking in an agitated tone, Spencer said that we don’t call correctional officers captors, we don’t call prisons a business, and we don’t lie and call a medium security prison “notorious,” in a clear response to Lauren Regan’s closing. She asked if the BOP guards were attempting to make up a story, wouldn’t they all align? Asserting her point, she said there is nothing sneaking happening. She repeated that words matter and ended her rebuttal.
Following the closing arguments, the Judge gave further instructions to the jurors and sent home the alternate.
The jurors did not return a verdict today and will return to court tomorrow, March 18th, at 8:45AM MT.
We will share on our social media accounts as soon as we receive word that the jury may have a verdict. The public access telephone number is: 877-336-1828 and access code 9449909#
Read details about the trial and the trial decorum order at https://cldc.org/king-trial-decorum
The Civil Liberties Defense Center is representing Eric pro-bono & there are significant costs associated with bringing a case to trial. Please donate at https://cldc.org/donate/ and put ‘For Eric King Legal Defense’ in the notes.