Henry Lee Is Back In The Swann Street Saddle

Dr. Henry Lee

Henry Lee wants to get his eyes on the white towel 

When we last heard about Dr. Henry Lee, famed forensic expert for  notorious defendants, now convicts, such as Scott Peterson and Phil Specter, he would be unable to test physical evidence in the Robert Wone case because trial deadlines were interfering with his packed travel schedule. 

In a recent letter to U.S. Attorney Patrick Martin, Joe Price counsel, Bernie Grimm reveals that Henry Lee is back on the case, and this time it looks like he has quite a bit of time on his hands.  The defense notes that Lee wants to test item 16, which is the towel that the defendants claim Joe Price used to apply pressure to Robert’s wounds. 

What could Dr. Lee be fishing for when testing the towel?   

Is he getting ready to deliver one of his creative takes on the how the lack of blood found on the towel would be the exact amount of blood one would expect to find after pressing it to a knife wound to the heart? 

Inquiring minds are anxious to hear. 


For crime scene fans, Dr. Henry Lee’s name is synonymous with some of the most outrageous claims hoisted on American juries.  Take, for example , his analysis of crime scene of Kathy Peterson, whose husband was on trial for her murder.  Her husband claims that she fell down the stairs.  Dr. Lee opined the blood spatter was too bloody for a beating, and that it was result of a simple fall.  

When paid thousands for his expert opinions, and the rest of the world sees white, Dr. Lee often says it’s black.   Our private eye friend worked a case with Dr. Lee a while back and will chime in soon on his fee structure, the heavy buy-in, up front costs, and his way of doing business. 

The defense is also going out of their way to allow the prosecution to have oversight into Dr. Lee’s examination of the towel.  This must explain why the defense is willing to put Dr. Lee on a tight leash as he has been known to walk out with crucial pieces of evidence.  In the Phil Specter case, the judge ruled that Lee took vital items from the scene and hid that from the prosecution. 

Even with all the baggage that Dr. Henry Lee brings with him to a trial, the defense is happy to pay for his services, even if for one sole reason: Having an Asian-American testify on behalf of the defendants could be good optics.  

The defense may be thrilled of the visual Dr. Lee provides the jury that not all of the Asian-Americans in Judge Leibovitz’s courtroom will think the defendants are guilty of these crimes. 

— Posted by David


27 comments for “Henry Lee Is Back In The Swann Street Saddle

  1. Nelly
    02/15/2010 at 1:48 PM

    Dr. Lee must not be a member of the Organization of Chinese Americans. Otherwise, he should have a conscience and not be a paid hack for the defense. Also, it’s Kathleen Paterson, not Kathy.

    • former crackho
      02/15/2010 at 2:11 PM

      Does anyone still consider him credible?

    • David
      02/15/2010 at 5:46 PM

      Thanks for correct name on Kathleen. I meant no disrespect.


  2. CDinDC
    02/15/2010 at 3:57 PM

    It’s interesting that Dr. Lee (and the defense) is willing to do the testing in front of the prosecution experts.

    February 3rd was the deadline to accept this invitation. I wonder if they accepted.

    • former crackho
      02/15/2010 at 4:39 PM

      Perhaps doing the testing in front of prosecution experts is simply a weak attempt to restore some credibility to Dr. Lee.

      • CDinDC
        02/15/2010 at 6:00 PM

        I wonder if he’s going to try some strange folding experiment. Like…..tie dye.

        “See? If you fold it up all tight you’ll get the same marks.”

        • Clio
          02/27/2010 at 9:20 PM

          Why is Dr. Lee focusing on that towel? Just by his celebrity analysis, he draws more attention to the one of the weakest parts of the defense. Does even Dr. Lee secretly want Team Price to lose and to lose big?

  3. AnnaZed
    02/15/2010 at 5:28 PM

    Jeez man, all they need is Derskovitz to make the absurdity quotient move off of the charts.

  4. Bill Shatner
    02/15/2010 at 8:46 PM

    of course the name you mean is Dershowitz. he generally only argues appellate cases, focusing on speicific points of law that he argues were decided incorrectly by the trial judge… (he did have a cameo in OJ, however)

    • AnnaZed
      02/15/2010 at 9:12 PM

      Thanks for the correction. I knew I should have actually looked that spelling up. Sort of a show-boat isn’t he? I think so. He weighed in recently in the New York Times on the subject of the Amanda Knox case (calling the Italian Judicial system “not among Europe’s most distinguished,” and didn’t they make a film about him defending Claus Von Bülow, who then had a murder conviction, on appeal? In any case, it was those types of antics that I had in mind. I think he would fit right in with the rest of the defense team. Certainly though, it’s too early for him, as you point out.

  5. Clio
    02/15/2010 at 11:59 PM

    Mae West, Liberace, and I are glad to see that the showmanship of vaudeville still lives in the guise of Henry Lee, who has no compunction about taking the trouple’s parents’ last red cent. Go, Henry, go, until the mortgage money finally runs out.

    On the other hand, the use of politically correct visuals for a politically incorrect act is pure Joe Price: cynicism in pursuit of his liberty is no virtue! Thus, extremism in pursuit of his incarceration is no vice? Just kidding?

    • Craig
      02/16/2010 at 1:52 PM

      From Liberace to Barry Goldwater in a single comment. Impressive.

  6. Friend of Rob
    02/16/2010 at 11:40 AM

    I have no idea how they could be paying for Lee and their attorneys. Is Dylan tapping into some vast store of family wealth we don’t know about? If so, does that support the theory that it was Dylan that actually committed the crime and he is paying the lion’s share of attorneys fees to discourage Joe and Victor from jumping ship and cutting their losses.

    • CDinDC
      02/16/2010 at 12:47 PM

      FoR says: “If so, does that support the theory that it was Dylan that actually committed the crime and he is paying the lion’s share of attorneys fees to discourage Joe and Victor from jumping ship and cutting their losses.”

      I think, Joe would have thrown Dylan under the bus if that were the case. I can’t imagine anyone enduring criminal charges of this magnitude simply because they would be getting “free counsel.” If they didn’t commit the crime, I can’t imagine they would set themselves up to do the time. For anyone. For any reason.

      • Friend of Rob
        02/16/2010 at 1:31 PM

        I’m not saying that it’s a major motivation, only that it might make Joe and Victor play out the string a bit further than they otherwise would have if they had to foot the bill for everything.

        • Bea
          02/16/2010 at 1:59 PM

          I think it’s a theory worth considering, but Joe is a decent lawyer – lousy human being, but decent lawyer. He would’ve tossed Dylan under the bus long ago in order to keep his “life” the way it once was. Even if Dyl’s family is (horror) able to get Joe exonerated, he won’t get his old life back. No partnership at Arent – it will be hardscrabble time. No A-list parties. No divine home in Dupont. I don’t think he’d have saved Dylan in exchange for working at a crummy law firm in Discount Big Man’s suits and living in a cramped pre-fab condo in a lesser suburb with only Victor to kiss goodnight. In other words, Joe committed a felony that night long ago – which, we’re not exactly sure, but I’d bet a handsome sum that it was a serious felony.

        • CDinDC
          02/16/2010 at 5:30 PM

          If Dylan’s family IS paying for all of the defendants’ representation, that basically equates to hush money.

          • Bea
            02/16/2010 at 5:34 PM

            Just don’t think Dyl’s family is paying it all. Remember Bernie Grimm asked Judge Weisburg NOT to freeze Joe’s assets because he needed to get paid. This is some serious cash for attorneys and experts but Joe/Victor likely had some savings and 401k money to cash out – and possibly their monied friends contributed early on (especially before the REAL story emerged).

            • CDinDC
              02/16/2010 at 6:17 PM

              Or maybe they will go broke and their attorney’s will request to withdraw from the case and the court will appoint defense counsel.

    • BenFranklin
      02/16/2010 at 3:36 PM

      I think you are right about Ward’s deep pockets funding the lion’s share of this spectacular shock & awe defense for reason you suggest-guilt mitigated by prescription drug side effects. Dr. Henry Lee will earn his keep by calling the prosecution’s bluffs & shining his light on incompetent forensic casework, if necessary.

      I’m positing that all of the defendants’ attorneys agreed that Ward would come forward with the truth before the trial since his memories of committing the murder & deception returned.

      Ward’s funding likely kept Price & Zaborsky from jumping ship but they never would have climbed on board if they had known the truth or the cost of passage at the start.

      I hope the brilliant defense attorneys deliver with such skill that they are able to bring justice, closure & healing to everyone, including everyone here.

      We won’t have to wait much longer now, but first the uncharged conduct negotiations.

      • Tallulah
        02/16/2010 at 7:38 PM

        My dog drank coffee this morning!

        • Clio
          02/17/2010 at 11:29 PM

          My broom is in the shop!

      • Ski
        02/20/2010 at 12:56 AM

        I fear a pimple is developing on the left cheek of my ass.

        • Tallulah
          02/22/2010 at 1:52 AM

          : )

  7. AnnaZed
    02/16/2010 at 1:53 PM

    Good points both FoR and CD.

    It is hard to quite figure where all of this money is coming from. It’s a lot of money and probably more will have to be spent in the future when the “real” trail (the ever brewing murder trial) begins. Embattled and certainly delusional the team my be still thinking that if significant early battles are won then war itself can be averted. Maybe they are by that logic front loading their machine. Certainly, they hung an irrational amount of hope on that goofy motion to dismiss. It even caused me to wonder just how smart these big expensive guys could actually be, seriously.

    Thinking all that, I still do not (as CD points out) think that Joe would face these charges if he had any alternative just to get a hand-out, and I’m not sure if that is even what you are saying FoR.

    CD, to my mind; guilty of what crime is the question. They are all three guilty of conspiracy, obstruction and tampering. How, indeed, could they not be? I don’t think that even bears defending against, but apparently, given that Dr. Lee is going to be tasked to do some light and magic, they don’t see things that way.

    So, there’s that, but guilty of murder? The government may be making menacing rumblings behind the scenes but from where the three of them are sitting the central truth may be that they have not been charged with murder and may never be charged with murder. In my earlier more naive thinking I didn’t think that anyone could hang on to an absurd elf story, endure the loss of reputation, employability and self respect while clinging to a toxic emotional entanglement when faced with a any charges of which they were not themselves guilty, but then I was forced to consider Victor who just might. In any case, that tipping point has not yet been reached.

    As the pressure builds and the certainty of incarceration for these lesser crimes bears down on them the likelihood that someone will break ranks increases daily. The person most likely to turn would to my mind be Joe, and there’s the rub. I think that he certainly had some hand in or was even the prime mover in the attack on Robert. He also seems the most likely to be completely delusional about potential outcomes of this trail, dragging Victor along with his logic. The potential still exits that they will just brazen it out unto the end and taken the conspiracy medicine rather than face the murder charges. Surely, the government can keep this from happening, one hopes.

    The problem is that I’m not sure how flawed this logic actually is in legal terms. Certainly each free breath of air taken has tremendous value to them, one can’t lose sight of that. The long time that it took for the government to even make their initial tampering case must give the men a peculiar sense of positive inertia.

    “We are free now, we have been free, we can continue to be free if we listen to Joe who is smarter than we are.” may be the core of this logic.

    So, I am forced to wonder if for all three men it may just seem now preferable to do the shorter incarceration term for the obstruction, tampering etc. than face the murder charges for even one member, as FoR seems to be saying. Cowardice and mendacity need also be taken into account. Criminals are always cowards, that’s why they take the easy way out in the short term by committing crimes in the first place. Criminals are usually habitual liars as well, and liars always lie to themselves, maybe to themselves most of all.

    • CC
      02/17/2010 at 8:42 PM

      I can understand Victor standing by Joe. It’s what he does best, apparently. What I cannot fathom is either Joe or Dylan allowing even a breezy hint of guilt to be blown their way if both were not equally culpable. Maybe initially a Boy Scout Oath, hang together or hang separately plan seemed logical, but when things began to unravel I can’t see either of them keeping quiet just because they’re sexual partners. Especially Joe, who doesn’t seem like a man given to putting others first.

      If I were Dylan, I’d be watching my back. I wouldn’t be surprised for Joe to find some opportunity to save a little of himself.

  8. Jake
    02/17/2010 at 10:28 AM

    Before judging him too harshly re: the Peterson case, you really should watch “The Staircase” — heck, anyone interested in criminal trials should watch it. It’s a fantastic documentary.

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