Monday, September 10, 2007

Monday Match-Up Is Grind 'Em Out Defense

News-Press attorney Barry Cappello's cross-examination so far of fired reporter Dawn Hobbs at this morning's NLRB hearing has been far from riveting or fast-paced. In fact, I've seen chess matches that were more exciting. Kind of surprising when you figure that both Cappello and Hobbs have a lot more charisma than Bobby Fischer or Boris Spassky.

Cappello has been carefully trying to lay the groundwork to impeach Hobbs on a number of points. For instance, Hobbs denied in her direct testimony that she was one of the people who directed a certain four-letter Anglo-Saxonism that rhymes with "Chuck" at Travis Armstrong as he perp-walked editor Jerry Roberts out of the newsroom on July 6th. To set the stage for when Armstrong is eventually called to testify to the contrary, Cappello asked Hobbs to engage in a little demonstrative evidence by re-enacting how she heard, in both tone and volume, Jane Hulse and Starshine Roshell, the two other people standing there whom she heard, utter the phrase in question.

Hobbs was clearly uncomfortable in doing so and the judge immediately sensed it. A few minutes were consumed in a back and forth between the judge and the attorneys about whether it was really necessary. It was finally settled with Hobbs re-enacting the incident with a different phrase that omitted the four letter word.

Another heretofore undisclosed e-mail also surfaced this morning. This one by Tom Schultz to Hobbs in which he explained why he didn't get the word, the first time around, of the date the union election would be held.

hearing loss . . . must be due to that sonic boom through the newsroom on our way to Wendy's office. Damnit. (sic) I must have banged that sauce pan too close to my head right before jackhammering our demands into the floor at HR.

Cappello is trying to emphasize that this account contradicts the characterization, by Hobbs and Schultz, of the attempt to deliver the letter to McCaw as being "professional and quiet." Of course the possibility that the e-mail was an attempt at sarcasm on the part of Schultz was neither raised by Cappello or pointed out by Hobbs.

The only thing that's preventing me from writing more on this lunch break is the hope that the pace at the courtroom might have quickened and I'm missing out on something. In other words, gotta go.

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