JULY 27, 2020 - TRIAL DAY 6
The Trial Continues With Questioning of Police Officers, Alina, and Traffic Police Officer
Trevor’s trial continued today. We had hoped this would be the final day before a decision and sentencing, but it may not have been.
The day started with the prosecutor presented documentation that they had acquired the emergency telephone call recording properly after the defense argued that they had not gained the tapes properly during a previous hearing.
The defense asked the judge to read Trevor’s statement of what happened to him into the record and he did so. The prosecutor did not ask any questions.
The prosecutor then asked Trevor what his plea would be. At the beginning of Trevor’s trial in March, the defense asked the judge to allow Trevor to wait to make a plea because he can’t remember what happened. He wanted to hear the evidence presented before making his plea. Today, Trevor pleaded not guilty based on the evidence presented during the trial. The prosecutor then asked several different ways, and Trevor stated that he doesn’t know how many ways or how many times he can say it, but he pleads not guilty because the evidence proves he didn’t do what he is accused of.
The prosecutor then questioned Trevor about a statement he gave the day of his arrest. In the statement Trevor said that he was sorry if he had done something wrong. Trevor argued that he had was told to say this by a translator that was assigned to him. Trevor had reservations about this, but the translator said he needed to do it. As soon as Trevor met with his first attorney, he asked what Trevor had said. The attorney told him he should never have said he was sorry for anything. This original statement was objected to by his current attorneys and he was allowed to make another statement in October due to the circumstances of the first one. The prosecutor brought up another statement made by Trevor after his arrest. Trevor again said that the translator translated his statement improperly and he did not say what was written. He said he stands by his October testimony. Trevor went on to mention that because of those early incidents, he has requested his own translator in every court. In the courts where a translator was appointed, they have never translated properly. Trevor said he isn’t willing to apologize for something that he doesn’t remember and has not been proved.
The judge asked Trevor about paying damages to the police officers “victims”. Trevor said he would not pay them anything. They have asked for 150,000 rubles each ($2100). The judge said this wasn’t a rational decision on Trevor’s part. Trevor’s attorney walked over to the cage and discussed this with Trevor at least twice. When asked again, Trevor told the judge that he had already been in jail for something he didn’t do and he wasn’t going to pay the people that put him there. Trevor then said, that he would pay whatever fines or fees the judge deemed appropriate, but he would not pay the police officers directly. We had placed 50,000 rubles each on account for the police officers in January, but the police agency intentionally didn’t tell them it was there. Police management didn’t want the officers to accept the payments for some reason, so they were not told about the accounts.
The prosecutor asked if Trevor was psychologically intimidated in any way. Trevor said that he was made to wear handcuffs while being taken to another location for questioning, and he was handcuffed to an officer all day long, before being charged with anything. He also was not given food or water from early Friday morning until Monday morning when he arrived at the jail where he has been ever since. The prosecutor asked if Trevor went voluntarily to the Investigator’s office for questioning. Trevor jokingly answered that he volunteered to go because they said if he didn’t, they would shoot him. There were giggles in the courtroom and the judge also smiled and understood his meaning. (He had no choice)
The prosecutor asked Trevor several questions about how long he had been in Russia, and other personal activities.
The defense asked Trevor if he had made complaints about his injuries after his arrest. He said he did at the police station before his arrest and after he was sent to his jail. At the jail, he thought they were examining him, but they were giving him an alcohol/breath test. He tried to complain about pain in both legs in broken Russian. He had no translator.
Defense attorney Sergey questioned Trevor about his injuries and who had seen them. The injuries were viewed by Lina and her mother at the police station. Some remaining injuries were viewed by the Embassy staff when they saw him several days after his arrest. He said the embassy had him remove his pants so they could examine him.
Trevor was asked about when he first saw someone after he woke up in the jail. He said he was sitting in a lobby area with no guard or handcuffs. Families were coming and going. He went to a front desk window and told the woman he was sick and asked for a restroom and water. He was directed to a restroom. When he returned to the window, he asked if the woman could call his girlfriend and she said she already had and she was on the way to pick him up. Trevor said he believed he was free to go and could have walked out the door. He also had his cell phone. Sometime after that, police approached him in the lobby and told him he couldn’t leave. When Lina arrived, she said let’s go. He told her that they said he couldn’t leave. The attorney asked Trevor if he knew where he was at when he was in the jail and if he knew there was an outside guarded gate. Trevor said he didn’t know that. Trevor was asked if the prosecutor visited him at the police station or at his jail (SIZO-5). He said the first time he met a prosecutor was at his second prolongation hearing.
There was some discussion or question regarding the administration case against Trevor dealing with his registration. This case was dismissed by another judge for lack of evidence and sent back to the Investigator’s office to find more evidence. This is a charge against Trevor for not being properly registered while living at Lina’s apartment. (It is our understanding that the defense has appealed this action. The defense was ready to go to trial on the matter, but because the prosecutor’s case was weak, the court allows them to continue looking for new evidence to counter the defense).
The prosecutor then played the recordings of two emergency calls made by the driver of the car Trevor and Lina had been riding in after the birthday party. The recordings had been played previously. The recordings sounded concerned at times, but the caller also laughed during portions of both calls. The defense then called Lina to testify about what happened at the scene of the calls and why the calls were made. The defense attorneys asked detailed questions about the situation. She said she asked police to take him to a medical facility.
Lina was asked about going in the police station. She said she saw the police helping Trevor go inside the station when they got out of the police vehicle. A woman at the police station asked Lina to write and explanation of what had happened. The driver of Lina’s car waited outside.
A police person told Lina that Trevor would stay there until he was sober.
The prosecutor then called a government worker to testify that the section of road where the alleged incident occurred had been under repairs at the time of the incident. There was no further questioning of this witness. (This may be to argue something about the car shaking or not swerving).
The prosecution then called the two police officers or “victims” as the court refers to them. They had previously testified during the first two hearings. They were shown a part of the traffic videos. (Remember, there are 59 minutes of video from 4 different cameras). The police officers watch the video along with defense attorney Sergey and the prosecutor. They were asked about the speed and other cars on the road. I believe the officers acknowledged that the video was of their police vehicle.
Then the police driver took the stand. When asked what lane he had been driving in, he said he didn’t remember. There was laughter in the courtroom. He was shown the video again so he could answer. He was then asked, were you in the left lane, answer Yes. There were several questions about traffic. Questions about holding the steering wheel with both hands. He was asked if he drove straight? (in other words, he didn’t swerve as originally reported and used to charge Trevor with serious level 2 crime). There was a question about the force used to restrain Trevor. The driver said that he retired because of this incident.
The Judge asked the driver a question. Did you have both hands on the steering wheel. Left hand? How strong was the pull on the wheel? The police officer described and indicated how his shoulder was pulled.
The second police officer is called to testify. He was asked what lane the car was traveling in, he answered “whatever he said”. How fast were you going, answer “not fast”. He said he felt the car vibrate. He was asked if he was scared. What were you afraid of? He said Trevor was screaming and saying something.
The Judge asked where were you bruised and the officers showed the area around or below his belly button. Where was your body armor located? He indicated where it was. I am unsure of exactly what was said, but everyone was laughing including the judge. May have something to do with being bruised by an elbow through his body armor. The police officer was asked if he had a medical check after the incident and he said yes.
The police officer who had been sitting in the backseat with Trevor was asked how long it took for the entire alleged incident to occur. He replied it was a few seconds, very fast. There was then much questioning about where Trevor was sitting, how he allegedly reached forward to grab the driver, and how the police officer pulled Trevor into his lap to restrain him. Sergey asked how many times did Trevor strike you with his elbow? The officer said he didn’t remember. Sergey said your story keeps changing. Sergey tried to demonstrate their positioning and how the police officer restrained Trevor. He questioned how Trevor could have struck him with his elbow if he was pulled down onto the officer’s legs. He also questioned how he was injured if his body armor was resting on top of his legs while in the sitting position. The police officer said his armor was not touching his legs.
Defense attorney Victoria asked questions about Trevor being placed into the police vehicle and did he resist. How was he restrained? (which he wasn’t). The judge asked how dangerous were his actions? Were they dangerous enough to use further restraint according to policies you are supposed to follow?
The Judge asked if Trevor had grabbed the driver’s shoulder with both hands. He asked if the officers were wearing guns. Officer said yes. He said which side was the driver wearing his gun, answer on right side. What side were you wearing a gun, answer on right side. (not sure about this line of questioning by the Judge).
I believe Victoria asked the officer what was done to keep him restrained after the alleged incident. I think he answered, that Trevor didn’t fight any more. He was not handcuffed after the alleged attack. He was not wearing handcuffs when he was taken into the police station.
The prosecutor asked about when Trevor was taken into the police car. He asked the police officer if Lina translated and he said yes. He told Trevor not to resist and asked Lina to ask him if he understood.
Trevor asked the police officer, “Did I fight you when you took me inside the police station?” The officer said “no, you could barely walk”. (I believe there are other statements by the police that Trevor fought with them when being taken inside the station. Remember, the videos of the police station parking area were denied to the defense).
Victoria asked police officers how they had determined the amount of money they wanted from Trevor for moral and physical damages. The driver said he retired over the incident. He was asked if he documented that in his retirement papers, he said “no”. He was asked if he had detained many serious criminals during his career and I believe he said “yes”. He was asked why this alleged incident would cause him to retire. All I could understand from the answer was that it was his last call.
Victoria asked him if police have to follow traffic rules. Why did you speed with this person? Police officer said he wasn’t focused on speed. He was asked about action during the alleged incident. He said he tapped the brakes slightly. He was asked how much did you slow down? Unclear answer.
Sergey asked if the incident was such a huge threat to your lives, why didn’t you stop? (Which they reportedly did in their earlier reports or testimonies). Victoria mentions this.
The Judge asked the officers, what is swerving? Did you change directions? When you moved the steering wheel to the right and left, did you hit the brakes. Police officer, “I don’t remember”.
Sergey asked which testimony is correct? There was some question about when he knew what happened. I believe he answered after we had talked.
The Judge then questioned the officer from the backseat about his request for injury payments from Trevor. He said explain the amount requested. Is it based on salary? Is it a percentage moral or physical? The officer said he makes 60,000 rubles. I think he said it wasn’t really based on anything in particular.
Victoria asked about what the officers did after they dropped off Trevor at the station.
Sergey got into a heated discussion with police officer about which story we should believe. He said your stories keep changing.
The Judge also confronted the police officer and asked which story is true?
The Prosecutor also asked the police officer. I think the police officer answered, the later stories. Sergey then had direct questions regarding previous conflicting reports and testimonies. There were questions about traffic lights, the location, and other things. Very heated back and forth between Sergey and police officer.
The judge interrupted and asked about the location. Where did it happen? Did you make a mistake in your statements in the investigator’s report? The Judge showed him his testimony and photos in the case book.
Victoria asked the police officer from the backseat if he had ever watched the traffic cam videos before today. The officer said “no”. The judge confronted the police officer about viewing the videos before. There was a document in the case files that showed that the Investigator had shown the videos to the police officers last year. The police officer said they were shown photos from the report, but didn’t watch videos. The Judge asked if this was his signature on the documents that said “the police officers watched the videos”. The police officer said he wasn’t sure if that was his signature. The other police officer approached the Judges desk to look at the signatures. The judge commented about several of their signature that all looked different and there was much laughter in the courtroom and people shaking their heads. Both police officers said they don’t remember watching the videos. Sergey said there were six signatures. A police officer said some of them look like mine. The officers were asked who showed them photos from the report and they said someone from the department. There was a long debate about the police seeing or not seeing the videos. (The question is, if they didn’t go to the investigator’s office and watch the videos, who made the report and who signed the documents?).
The Judge asked the driver point blank, “Did the car swerve?” The driver hesitated and said “a little”.
The defense called Lina to testify again. She testified that on the morning of Trevor’s arrest, a police officer requested a bribe. She gave some details about what was said. I believe she said that she wrote this down in her written statement to the investigator after this happened.
The police driver was asked about the bribe conversation and he says he had no conversation. He was outside smoking.
Lina was asked if there were other people there when the bribe was requested. She said yes and there were video cameras. She said she didn’t agree or disagree with the offer. (Remember, the defense was denied access to police station videos).
Court was adjourned early. Trial with closing arguments scheduled for Wednesday, July 29th. There might be some discussion or questioning prior to closing arguments. The court may have a decision late on Wednesday if time allows. If not, another hearing date has been scheduled for Thursday as a precaution.