After weeks of graphic testimony about the beating of a San Francisco Giants fan at Dodger Stadium, jurors in a civil lawsuit against the team finally heard directly from the perpetrators of the assault.
But they didn't hear very much.
In video of a jailhouse interview played Wednesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Louie Sanchez and Marvin Norwood declined to answer any questions, including whether they intended to tell the truth under oath. The interviews took place before the men pleaded guilty in the attack on Bryan Stow and both invoked their constitutional right against self-incrimination in refusing to testify.
"I don't want to waste any more of you gentlemen's time," Norwood said. "I wish to take the 5th [Amendment] on any and all of your questions."
"Even if I ask your name, will you take the 5th on that?" a Dodgers lawyer asked.
"Yes, sir," Norwood replied.
In a separate video, Sanchez nodded as his public defender announced he would not answer questions.
Although they are not defendants in the suit, Sanchez and Norwood have figured prominently in the monthlong trial. Witnesses have recounted the pair's violent harassment of Giants fans on Opening Day 2011 and described how they set upon Stow and his friends in a parking lot after the game. One blow sent Stow to the ground, leaving his skull fractured and his brain permanently damaged.
Attorneys for the Dodgers presented the videos as one of their final pieces of evidence over the strong objections of Stow's lawyers who said the clips offered jurors no information. The panelists are to hear closing arguments Thursday and lawyers for the team are expected to argue that the two imprisoned men and not the Dodgers bear full responsibility for Stow's debilitating injuries.
Norwood was sentenced to four years in prison and Sanchez, eight. Both men face additional prison time on federal gun charges. The videos, shot in 2012, showed the men in small, dimly lighted rooms wearing blue county jail jumpsuits. In Sanchez's interview, a large guard loomed in the background.
Bryan Stow sat in a wheelchair near the jury box for much of Wednesday's testimony, the jagged scars on his scalp clearly visible. A family member pushed him from the courtroom before the videos of his attackers began.
"We left it up to his parents" whether he watched the interviews, family attorney David Lira said. Because of the brain damage, he said, "he has no memory of this event."
Stow's lawyers are expected to ask the jury to find that the team and former owner Frank McCourt bear some responsibility for the attack and award more than $50 million in damages.
Previously, jurors heard from the Dodgers' former director of security. Ramon Maytorena left the job three months before the March 2011 beating. In a videotaped deposition, Maytorena defended a decision to replace some uniformed LAPD personnel at the stadium with off-duty law enforcement wearing polo shirts.
"A lot of these fans that we have had here have had run-ins with LAPD and I could tell when I was there that they didn't respect a uniform or a badge as in other areas I've lived in," Maytorena said. He said casually dressed security guards were better at diffusing situations with unruly fans.
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