The LuLac Edition #1481, Feb. 19th, 2011
In any major case like this, there are bound to be, well sidebar stories. Here’s a recap of some items maybe not covered by some other media outlets:
THE DEFENSE TEAM: Most out of town observers were surprised that Mark Ciavarella’s defense attorneys, Al Flora and Bill Ruzzo were also Luzerne County Public defenders. A few questions of conflict of interest were raised but after it was explained that both men had private practices and that they suspended their Public Defender duties the people I talked to then had an understanding of their roles. One gentleman told me after the verdict, “I really wasn’t impressed at first but Flora’s closing was very good and beating 27 out of 39 charges ain’t a bad percentage”
EDIBLE PARKING: A controversy ensued in the second week of the trial when a downtown Scranton woman who owns a flower shop was annoyed with the media parking in front of the federal courthouse. She complained to the Scranton Parking Authority saying the vehicles were ruining her business, especially during Valentine’s Day week. One camera man from a local TV station was angry when he got a ticket because he had just spent $200.00 in her store the previous week.
MEDIA COVERAGE: All of the local TV stations were there. WILK AM & FM was there. Every newspaper had multiple reporters on sight. There were a couple of guys there with book contracts as well as students from the Wilkes College Masters Writing program. AP, the New York Times, and a few European reporters were covering the trial. As well as one local blogger.
FASHION REPORT: The Government prosecution team looked like a couple of guys out of "Men In Black." Actually their suits were gray/black with white shirts and subdued ties. Defense attorneys sported gray/black suits the first week of the trial but gradually wore sport coats and lighter slacks. The defense team also wore blue shirts once in a while. On the last day of trial, Al Flora wore a light green tie. Former Judge Ciavarella wore blue suits most of the time with patterned ties. On Judgement Day, the Judge had a blazer, yellow shirt, patterned red tie and gray slacks. Judge Kosik wore khakis and a yellow or white shirt on most days with a subdued striped tie. When the jury was deliberating he wore a navy blue sweater. His outerwear consisted of his bubble coat. WBRE’s Andy Mehalshick and Joe Holden sported scarves with their overcoats (Andy’s was pink, Joe’s was white). The winter weather brought out the camel for Sarah Buynosky and the local blogger. WILK’s Sue Henry was in her favorite color purple while Steve Corbett sported a black pinstripe suit sans necktie. Only one male juror wore a tie and on Valentine’s Day, five of the women jurors wore red which was duly noted by Judge Kosik. On Fridays the well dressed people in the federal building all of a sudden looked like they were shopping at Sam’s on a Saturday. Friday is dress down day and jeans are not only allowed but I understand encouraged. Except for the guys trying the cases.
TRIPPING UP: An AP reporter broke his camera lens and reportedly hurt his knee back pedaling when defense witness Gina Carelli emerged from the courtroom. WILK’s Carol Zerblos was hit in her noggin while she walked briskly along Ciavarella and his defense team. And WYLN TV 35’s Ann Gownley smacked her spine into one of those huge flower pots in front of the courthouse. All those injured seem to be doing well and as far as I know no lawsuits are pending.
OVERFLOW COURTROOM: The overflow courtroom was utilized on a number of days when Judge Kosik’s was filled. People can sit at defense tables and in the jury box if they want to.
NODDING OFF: Two of the alternate jurors were seen to be nodding off during testimony. None of the others jurors were. A courtroom observer stretched out on one of the court benches and took a rather long nap on Thursday afternoon.
PROFESSIONAL COURTESY: Even though they were adversaries, both the Prosecution and Defense attorneys were polite. This was extended to Judge Ciavarella as he testified. At one point Prosecutor Bill Hauser told Ciavarella “When I turn around and walk away, it is not a sign of disrespect toward you. I’m just trying to formulate my thoughts and this is how I do it. So please understand that I’m not turning my back on you”. The security detail were helpful and very accommodating to all.
PROVISIONS: The drink of choice in the courtroom was Aquafina Water. Jurors ordered lunch from places like Subway, Pappas’s Pizza, Abe’s Deli, and surrounding eateries. Jurors usually picked a place, then ordered whatever they wanted off of one menu. There were no multiple restaurant selections. McDonald’s coffee was a huge favorite before deliberations began for the jurors. In the morning sometimes a juror would bring donuts for the group. For the media, it was like a giant tailgate party especially after the weather got nice. The video chow hounds ate everything from stuffed perogies to corned beef on rye. But no one ate any edible carnations.