Ever wonder what the lawyers were saying in those sidebar conferences? These two were released to the public. Both of these conversations occurred while Ms. LaViolette was testifying. Surely there will be more to come.
Sidebar Transcript April 2, 2013
Willmott: What she wants to say is that how Mr. Alexander threatened to commit suicide because he said-he used the F word, that he wanted to F’g kill himself. This is important. It doesn’t go to the truth of the matter asserted, in other words, whether or not he actually was going to kill himself. But this speaks to the threat of abandonment and when we talk about relationships and abusive relationships, threat of abandonment which she discussed during the continuum is something that is present in– ultimately in abusive relationships where one party is threatening abandonment. And the way they do it is not just by saying, I’m going to leave you, but also by threatening to commit suicide. That’s why it’s important, not for the truth of the matter asserted, therefore not hearsay.
Mr. Martinez: I don’t see how she can talk about the victim’s state of mind i.e. did or did not want to commit suicide.
Additionally, the only way she gets this information in is through the defendant, not the journal but through the defendant. There’s a lack of trustworthiness there. She’s a liar [referring to Ms. LaViolette]. So I’m just having a difficult time seeing how she can say that Mr. Alexander attempted suicide.
Additionally, if this is the incident that were talking about, she’s got it all wrong. This is the incident where the defendant was peeping in the victim’s window, the brassiere incident is the way I remember it. She came back the next day and confronted him and this is where he was banging his head on the closet door, if you remember.
There is no issue of suicide that was ever discussed. And he never said he wanted to commit suicide. He was just banging his head on the door so-
The Court: Well, that terminology doesn’t necessarily mean suicide. That’s her interpretation is that he wanted to commit suicide, that was the defendant?
Ms. Willmott: No. Judge, first of all, it’s not about Mr. Alexander’s state of mind. It’s about Ms. Arias and what she have perceived when Mr. Alexander said, I F’n want to kill myself. That’s what he says. He threatened suicide. Now that’s about what that does to somebody in a relationship.
Second of all, Ms. LaViolette does not have this all wrong. She’s talking– she just is not allowed to finish the story because of the constant objections. But that’s what she’s talking about is when she goes back the next day and talks to Mr. Alexander about it and how upset he gets.
Mr. Martinez: But the thing is that if Ms. Willmott and I were married, I certainly would say I F’g want to kill myself. That doesn’t mean I want to kill myself. It just means there’s a bad relationship and I want you to leave me alone.
She’s talking again about somebody’s state of mind. Just because somebody says that, that doesn’t mean that he wants to commit suicide.
The Court: Okay.
Ms. Willmott: Judge, just for the record, I think that that was an insult because he’s trying to say that if he and I were married–
Mr. Martinez: That was a compliment, bad joke.
Ms. Willmott: I don’t see it as either. But at any point–
The Court: All right. Let’s move past that.
Ms. Willmott: Okay
The Court: Okay. Let’s go back to the topic at issue. So you want– your witness is– you want your witness to testify that your client was concerned about abandonment because Travis Alexander said that he wanted to kill himself. Is that it?
Ms. Willmott: Yes. You know, I mean, she’s not going to say that Mr. Arias (sic) was particularly concerned about abandonment at the moment.
It’s part of the pieces that get put together ultimately in this progression of the relationship. Threatening abandonment is one of those pieces.
So she’s going to talk– she just wants to say basically that, well, he was flipping out over this, over being caught, he’s threatening to commit suicide and banging his held (sic) against the closet door. And she did testify to that.
The Court: She did. Okay. But I was unclear that this was the incident that you’re talking about is the journal entry.
Ms. Willmott: Yeah. It’s not a journal entry.
The Court: Not talking about 569?
Ms. Willmott: No, not anymore. We moved on.
The Court: You moved on. All right.
Ms. Willmott: I just move fast.
Sidebar Transcript April 4, 2013
Ms. Willmott: What’s hearsay? She’s not quoting anybody. I’m not understanding what the hearsay is.
Mr. Martinez: Well, then maybe you ought to go back to law school. I mean, she’s talking about an item, an out-of-court statement. How else could she have gotten that knowledge from other than out-of-court statement offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted. I think it’s under, I think, it’s 801 Arizona rules of evidence.
Ms. Willmott: Well, I’m really familiar with hearsay, especially after this trial. I’m also familiar with what hearsay is not, and this is what we’ve been discussing. She’s been talking about subject matter this whole time.
The Court: Where are you going with this? What are you trying to elicit?
Ms. Willmott: The fact that they have an argument and that she can read about it in text messages and that Mr. Alexander swearing at her and she hangs up on him.
I mean, I can lead her through it and ask for those two questions if it makes it easier.
The Court: And why is that important to her opinion?
Ms. Willmott: Why? Because he’s swearing at her. It’s evidence of verbal abuse. It’s also evidence of his escalation because they are fighting and his verbal abuse is getting worse as we get towards into April.
The Court: Okay. So the gist of all this is that she’s read it, they have an argument, he swears at her. And this is evidence that she believes shows that there’s an escalation and verbal abuse.
Ms. Willmott: Yes.
The Court: Okay. You can go into that part of it, but not the specifics about the argument or not what he calls her or anything else, just that there was swearing.
Ms. Willmott: I mean, if I’m allowed to specifically ask her a question without getting objected to for leading, I’ll do that.
Mr. Martinez: Well, no. I don’t want her. I want her to ask the questions–
Ms. Willmott: I can’t prevent what she says.
The Court: Well, it’s not leading to ask is this text about argument between the parties. That’s not suggesting the answer.
Ms. Willmott: Okay.
The Court: So you can do that.
Ms. Willmott: All right.
Mr. Nurmi: Before we move off the topic of verbal abuse, I’m going to ask the court to admonish Mr. Martinez. Yesterday he said that he would kill himself if he was married to Miss Willmott, now he says at bench that she should go back to law school. I think of those comments are totally inappropriate and should be, at least– very least– admonished by this Court.
Mr. Martinez: I didn’t hear what he said. I would like for him to say that again.
The Court: He didn’t hear you.
He’s asking the court to admonish you for making a comment about killing yourself because if you were married to Miss Willmott. Counsel, I understand some of this is tong and cheek, some of it is just the stress of trial, but let’s try to be as professional as possible when we have these bench conferences.
Mr. Martinez: And I would note– that’s fine– admonish Miss Willmott also on the record, so it’s not like we can sit up here and complain about one side.
The Court: I understand. So I’m asking everyone to do that. Thank you.