By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
"She was, uh, really, like, a joking person," said Stroh, who glanced at the defendants and then added: "Joking, but in a serious way."
It's Obmann who might get the defense in the most trouble. She acknowledged that four days before testifying, she amended her written statement to dovetail with the defense.
"Yeah, I corrected it," she testified.
Hess asked her if she and the other girls had ever talked about what to say on the witness stand.
"No, never," said Obmann as she slowly chewed gum and swiveled happily in the witness chair.
Hess repeated the question firmly. Obmann stopped moving in her seat, stared at the prosecutor and after a pause said, "Yeah," there had been discussions.
Obmann also confessed that the defense lawyers had, in violation of the judge's instructions, supplied Doe's testimony in preparation for their appearances; that she's close to the defendants (her boyfriend is Spann's best friend); and that she'd given her exclusive story to CBS's 48 Hours, the only news outlet with regular, friendly access to the often-angry Haidl clan.
Obmann's hourlong testimony even has a 48 Hours cliff-hanger: she has visited Cavallo's Irvine office at least three times, and Hess asked her if the defense lawyer had promised her an internship after the trial. Cavallo objected to the question, but Briseño overruled him. "No," said Obmann.
Minutes later, Hess further infuriated Cavallo when he returned to the subject. Haidl's lead attorney demanded a meeting in the judge's chamber; following that meeting, Hess continued to drill down into the subject of a possible quid pro quo. Despite Obmann's denials, Hess' confidence in this line of questioning suggests he'll call a witness to contradict her.
Although Briseño ordered Obmann "not to talk about the case with any of the other witnesses," she hurried from the courtroom and down the hallway to Stroh, Matsumoto, Maloney and defense investigator John Warren. Far from the dignity and composure Doe exhibited during more than 16 grueling hours on the witness stand, Obmann played the diva. She put her hand on her hip, cocked her head, shook her finger and bitched about prosecutor Hess. Cavallo walked up behind her, squeezed her shoulder, looked back at this reporter and smiled.
For updates on the Haidl gang-rape case, please see ocweekly.com.