Leibovitz Said No. Will Rankin Say Yes?
A couple new Plaintiff filings hit the clerk’s office late on Friday afternoon.
The first one we’ll look at seems straight-forward enough, a Supplement to Rule 16(b)(2) List of fact Witnesses.
Had we tagged out posts better over the past 2+ years, finding information on James Plante would be easier – but we think his name first surfaced back in February 2010 on a Government list of expert witnesses they hoped to call for the conspiracy and obstruction trial.
Plante never made it to the stand, successfully kept away by the efforts of defense co-counsel Bernie Grimm, Thomas Connolly and David Schertler. Judge Leibovitz had a hand in that, too.
Why is James Plante familiar?
Until reading about him in those filings, we had no idea that the DC Metropolitan Police Department had an in-house expert on S&M sexual practices. We weren’t alone in being so naive.
As City Paper’s Rend Smith later noted:
“District cops even had a sex-toy expert on the payroll to help sort it all out for the court. Sgt. James Plante was to testify based on his “more than a decade of experience with gay sado/masochistic practices,” according to court papers.”
Now Plante is back on the list and for the Plaintiffs, hopefully on the stand come this fall.
While we don’t recall Plante’s expert credentials being called into question by the criminal defense armada, we believe his testimony was spiked by Judge Lynn Leibovitz’ aversion to allow any mention of the Swann Street Threesome’s unorthodox sexual histories into evidence. That would unfairly prejudice the defendants, the reasoning and ruling went. Then later, as we all know, the jury went, too.
Now that James Plante is back on a list, a few questions remain:
1. Will Plante even make it to the stand, our can Spagnoletti & Co. reprise their efforts to once again spike him from appearing?
2. If they are unsuccessful and Plante does testify as an expert, how will Covington and Patrick Regan position his credentials and testimony? Are they looking to play the physical restraint card again, even though there could be little physical evidence introduced to support that theory?
3. How may Plante’s testimony mesh with another Plaintiff witness, Jacob Pring, impresario of the CODE parties?
4. Is this an indication that Covington and Regan seriously plan on going balls-to-the-wall (no pun intended) on the defendants’ sexual histories?
That’s a start, but Plante’s name again has to raise another host of questions for how this trial may be conducted in October, and the skirmishes that will certainly precede it.