The prosecution won a key motion Tuesday during a pretrial hearing for the Kings' Slava Voynov, who is charged with felony domestic violence.
The court ruled Justin Weber, a clinical social worker, would have to testify about statements made by Marta Varlamova, Voynov's wife. The defense is seeking to suppress Varlamova's statements made to Weber in an interview at Little Company of Mary Medical Center in Torrance after the incident Oct. 19, when Voynov allegedly assaulted his wife.
Attorneys for Voynov, Varlamova and the medical center had argued Weber could not testify because of therapist-patient confidentiality. However, Judge Eric Taylor ruled there was an "exemption under the mandatory reporting code" for suspected domestic violence.
Weber, who was under a subpoena to appear, was then put on the stand Tuesday.
Weber said Varlamova told him in the emergency room she and Voynov had "come home from a party" and "had a fight," during which she said "he pushed my head into the corner of the TV."
Weber described Varlamova's mood that night as "distraught," but also said she was "guarded" during their conversation. Her main interest, Weber said, was to get treatment for the cut over her left eye. Weber said he tried to talk to her about domestic violence, and Varlamova told him, "This is not the first time."
In a contentious cross-examination, defense attorney Pamela Mackey asked Weber whether Varlamova explained what "this" meant in their conversation. Weber said Varlamova did not.
On redirect, Deputy Dist. Atty. Frank Dunnick asked Weber about the context of the conversation. Weber said it was about domestic violence only.
Voynov, who is suspended by the NHL indefinitely with pay, is scheduled to go on trial July 6.
Varlamova, who is also under subpoena, has refused to testify. On Monday, Taylor gave her the option to attend counseling before she made a final decision. She could face a criminal contempt charge if she does not testify.
On Tuesday, Taylor pressed Michael Walsh, Varlamova's attorney, on when she would undergo counseling. Walsh said he hoped to have an answer Friday, when the hearing on defense motions resumes.
"The sooner, the better," Taylor told Walsh, with Varlamova listening to the Russian translation in the court room. "This is for her benefit."