WHY KILL NINA?
SAINT PATRICK’S DAY IN COURT –
REISER ON THE STAND.
My analysis is based on Hans’ performance until about 3:20 PM this afternoon. I will update the picture as necessary tomorrow.
Today Hans recounted his activities in and around the time of the crime in some detail. As of later afternoon, he was still on direct examination by Bill DuBois with no clear end to his testimony in sight.
At this stage, almost everything Hans says has a double edged quality. At any given point in his testimony, he may think he is furthering the defense case, but he is simultaneously providing telltale keys and cues for the DA who will put this together in an entirely different way.
I have some pointed comments about what happened today, but first let me identify the key highlights:
Reiser washed the CRX in the same weekend that Nina was missing. He used a hose – inside the vehicle. This was part of a general house cleaning to please his mother. But he did not attempt to clean his mother’s hybrid car.
So far Hans hasn’t described any general house cleaning activities on the fateful Labor Day weekend in 2006, just the CRX washing & the driveway.
Hans confirmed that he had a 5 pm Sept 5 visit at the kids’ school. This was a meeting that was described earlier in the trial by school witness, Monica Potter. Recall that she recounted that Hans was nervous at the time. Hans now says that his reason for this unscheduled visit to school (after Nina actually went missing we must note) was to put his mother on the alternate pickup list in the event Hans was detained by something “unexpected, unplanned, unforeseen” (and again we must note, when Nina was also unavailable). But, as it turns out, Hans’ mother was already on that list.
Hans did briefly see his kids at school on September 5 – during “adventure time” but gave the school an incorrect cell phone number for himself. This was an accident of memory, he asserted, after he had just pointedly demonstrated his accurate recollection of the license number of an undercover police officer.
Hans first saw Bill Dubois (who is known as a criminal defense attorney) on September 7. Hans apparently first learned that he was being followed on September 8. Hans agreed with his attorney that he tends to the paranoid end of the personality spectrum.
The Last Divorce Discussion and Nina’s Disappearance
This was Hans answer to a fairly simple question from his lawyer today:
DuBois: Did you have anything whatsoever to do with her disappearance?”
Reiser: No, I did not.
DuBois: Have you thought about this?
Reiser: Yes. I thought about, you know, if I had been more emotional with her, um, she would have felt cared about more….I’ve thought that, you know, maybe since I was getting intellectual property worth millions, I could have been less chintzy about the debts, ‘cuz actually, you know, I actually didn’t, they really weren’t that important to me, because they were long-term debts.”
And in a separate exchange–
DuBois: I’m asking you about Nina. What, if anything, might you have done that could have caused Nina to disappear?
Reiser: Um, I opened the door.
DuBois: Did you conduct yourself in any manner you think contributed to her disappearance in any manner whatsoever?
Reiser: Well, I put a lot of pressure on her, and I failed to consider that if you say not nice things to Nina, Nina appears completely unconcerned. It actually means she’s very worried. That’s her pattern. During the deposition she was completely calm, cool and unconcerned, yet when I asked her to come by and pick up the kids at Greg Silva’s office , she wasn’t willing even to go near his office. It was clear that it was traumatic for her to even go near his office.
DuBois: Well, what kind of pressure did you put on her? Can you be more specific?
Reiser: Well, she had embezzled money, she had forged these checks in my name, she forged a legal affidavit, she…
DuBois: Is this pressure you put on her? Can you explain what pressure you put on her?
Reiser: Well, I caught her at it. That’s pressure.
DuBois: Anything else?
Reiser: Um, I told her embezzlement was a serious crime, that forgery was a crime, that she committed perjury.
In a response to DuBois’ question about how this affected Hans emotionally, this is what Hans chose to tell the jury :
Reiser: “I don’t like these conflicts with family, you know? It’s just horrible. And I wanted to go to a mediator from the very beginning. And I told her that if we didn’t go to a mediator, Namesys would go bankrupt.”
Hans was also concerned that Namesys’ programmers “really got screwed by this whole thing. They still haven’t been paid. They’re still owed $130,000, probably more.
In spite of the fact that Nina had just offered to give Hans Namesys in the divorce, Hans was “unhappy” when she left abruptly. Why? “Cuz only the lawyers win in divorces.”
IF you are among those who are seriously entertaining the idea that Han Reiser killed Nina on September 3, then you will necessarily assume that some of Hans’ account is truthful and some is not.
The DA will exploit several parts of Hans’ testimony today in final argument.
This is a man who, by his own account has been separated from his children by an embezzling wife who has the power to destroy his business, one that owns a half interest in Hans’ “intellectual property worth millions”, but whose divorce posture has already “screwed” his programmers out of more than $130,000 in earnings and threatens to destroy the company Hans built.
Hans claims that Nina actually offered to give up her community property interest in Hans’ company (his life’s work) then abruptly walked out of the discussion. But instead of being elated, Hans is unhappy. Why? Most jurors are probably saying to themselves – because Nina was just jerking Hans chain and he knew it.
A powerful motive to attack one’s spouse in a sudden rage does not necessarily prove murder, but it absolutely does not help the defense.
Take it from an old hand at criminal trials — I would never give the DA as much ammunition against my client as was provided today …. without a gun to my head.