Thursday, February 7, 2008

Nixzmary case fireworks: Defense lawyer makes porn dig at prosecution

Thursday, February 7th 2008, 1:38 AM

Fireworks erupted at the Nixzmary Brown child-abuse trial Wednesday when the defense lawyer made a snide comment about the prosecutor possibly having porn in her home.

Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Hall chastised defense lawyer Jeffrey Schwartz for the remark, which he made during legal arguments after the jury was dismissed for lunch.

Schwartz had been complaining that prosecutors "sandbagged" him by pulling out the dead 7-year-old's Tinkerbell backpack and math book - a heart-breaking sight that could play with jurors' emotions.

Prosecutor Ama Dwimoh countered by noting that prosecutors had no plans to show the jury far more inflammatory material found during a search of Nixzmary's apartment - a pile of pornography.

"The papers I have here are just pornography that was just found all over the apartment," Dwimoh said with disgust.

"When I last checked, pornography is not a crime," Schwartz angrily shot back.

"No one said it is a crime," Dwimoh retorted.

By this point, the two lawyers were talking over each other with raised voices.

Schwartz, who has employed some over-the-top tactics in his defense of stepdad Cesar Rodriguez, then kicked it up a notch.

"Maybe the DA has some in her apartment," he sniped.

Dwimoh shook with fury.

"Excuse me?" she thundered.

Hall blasted Schwartz.

"Counselor, you are out of order!" she told him, then gave both sides a dressing-down. "You ought to behave yourself as professionals."

The judge ruled that the backpack could be admitted into evidence - and Dwimoh gave Schwartz the envelope of smut.

It was Schwartz who opened the door to the jury seeing the backpack in the first place.

During a cross-examination, he grilled Detective Steven Sneider about a trip he made with prosecutors to Nixzmary's Bed-Stuy apartment weeks after her Jan. 11, 2006, death.

The line of questioning was designed to suggest to jurors that authorities had improperly seized evidence from the home.

When she got to question Sneider again, Dwimoh asked about the trip to the apartment, pulled out the backpack and asked if that was one of the items they took.

Outside court, Schwartz said the theatrics smacked of desperation.

"[They are] bringing up stuff like that that has nothing to do with the case because they see their case is falling apart," he said, refusing to apologize for his crack about Dwimoh.

"I do believe my conduct was appropriate," he said.

Original Article-

Nixzmary case fireworks: Defense lawyer makes porn dig at prosecution

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