LOS ANGELES: "This is LA water; it's got floaties," joked Deputy Court Clerk Marilynn Morris as the prosecutor eyed the Styrofoam cup in front of her. "If you guys aren't crazy about LA water, I'd be happy to empty it."And so began Day One in the long-awaited federal trial of former Fleishman-Hillard Los Angeles GM Douglas Dowie and SVP John Stodder. Both men face multiple wire-fraud and conspiracy charges alleging they scammed the LA Department of Water and Power out of more than $300,000; both pleaded not guilty on all charges.
This morning's jury selection process was preceded by administrative comments by the Honorable Judge Gary A. Feess, who advised attorneys on both sides to schedule enough witnesses for each day's testimony – and not to expect lunch breaks.
Looking well-rested and clean-shaven, Dowie, 58, is represented by lead attorney Thomas Holliday, co-chair of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Los Angeles' Business Crimes and Investigations Practice Group.
Also defending Dowie are Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher lawyers Michael Farhang and Nicola Hanna, among others. Co-defendant John Stodder, 50, is represented by lead attorney Jan Lawrence Handzlik with Michael L. Resch, both of Howrey, Los Angeles.
Representing the United States Department of Justice are Assistant US Attorneys Adam D. Kamenstein and Cheryl O'Connor Murphy.
The prosecution is expected to present its opening cases on Thursday. The prosecution expects to display at least 160 government exhibits -- some 50-60 pages in length -- inlcuding e-mails and Fleishman billing documents.