Notables aplenty in courtroom; alas, Herman’s Hermits not there

Reluctant witness Michael Taylor was, at times, hard to understand.

He gave evasive answers and mumbled. But there was some humor in his testimony.

During questioning, Taylor was asked whether he saw anyone at the duplex on West Ridgeway Street during previous visits with the mayor.

“Yes,” Taylor responded.

“What kind of people did you see?” Melton’s defense attorney John Reeves asked.

Taylor’s answer was unintelligible.

“Hermans?” Reeves asked. “Hermits?”

Taylor finally spoke up, “Humans.”

Nearly everyone in the courtroom giggled, including the mayor.

It’s the little things
During a break in testimony, the judge said he had to broach a meaty topic with the jury. Lunch.

“I understand there is a question about pizza?” Jordan asked.

The question was met with laughter and then a resounding yes.

The response prompted Jordan to smile. “That’s the most enthusiasm I’ve seen from you all day,” he said.

Surprise witnesses
When defense attorneys accused an FBI agent of having improper contact with witness Michael Taylor during a recess, they called a series of witnesses who said they saw the two talking during a smoke break.

Witnesses included Agent James Foushee, who said he only asked Taylor, 19, about his 1-year-old son before breaking off the conversation. Defendant Michael Recio said he saw Foushee speak to Taylor but did not know what was said.

Also called to testify were WLBT-Channel 3 reporter David Kenny and cameraman Mike Evans, both of whom said they saw the men together but shed no light on the conversation. Anthony Staffney, an ex-convict who works for at City Hall for the mayor’s youth program, also testified.

When defense attorneys demanded access to a security tape from the courthouse loading dock, it could not be played.

“If anything else can go wrong, it will,” Jordan said.

Jordan eventually saw the footage and said it did not appear there was any error that would result in mistrial but advised everyone to steer clear of witnesses in the future.

Clarion Ledger
2/11/9