August 13, 2003 01:26am
Sizemore-Fleiss Abuse Case Goes to Jury
by: Linda Deutsch
(LOS ANGELES, CA) -- Jurors in the Tom Sizemore-Heidi Fleiss domestic violence case began deliberations Wednesday and asked the court several questions before recessing without reaching a verdict.
The panel of seven men and five women caused consternation among the judge and lawyers when they asked to see transcripts of telephone messages the actor left for Fleiss, the former Hollywood madam who was his girlfriend.
The jurors wanted to see notes they had made on copies of the transcripts that had been given to them during testimony so they could follow along while the taped messages were played.
The transcripts, however, were not evidence. Superior Court Judge Antonio Barretto Jr. Was about to tell the jurors they could not have them back when lawyers decided to let the jurors use them. Otherwise they would have had to listen to hours of tapes over again and the panelists said they did not want to hear them.
Sizemore, a star of "Black Hawk Down" and "Saving Private Ryan," is facing multiple charges including vandalism, threatening to inflict injury to a person or property, corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition, and making harassing phone calls. He faces up to 13 years in prison if convicted.
The taped phone messages contain obscene language and threats.
The jurors also asked the judge to define the term "specific intent to annoy," which is part of the allegations.
Barretto told them that specific intent is not in the mind of the person who receives the call, "It's in the mind of the person making the call."
"There is no question in anyone's mind that Mr. Sizemore is on the tapes," the judge said. "You must decide whether the defendant had in his mind a specific purpose which in this case is to annoy. You're trying to decide the state of mind of the defendant."
He told them that while "You can't climb into someone's head and see what they are thinking, you have to look at the evidence that proves it to you."
The jury also asked to see medical records referred to by the prosecutor in final arguments but it turned out they had not been entered into evidence.
An additional complication occurred when it was discovered that one copy of the phone transcripts was missing. The judge asked jurors on whether any of them might have taken it home or left it in a car, but they said they didn't have it. He said that he would assume it no longer exists.
Fleiss served 21 months in prison after being convicted of money laundering, tax evasion and attempted pandering. She became involved with Sizemore soon after leaving prison, and the two were together for about two years.