Judge Orders Prosecution Witness' Testimony Stricken From Record
Posted September 26, 2003 5:28 a.m. EDT
Updated December 9, 2006 10:27 p.m. EST
DURHAM, N.C. — One of the state's main experts was picked apart on the stand Friday and even called a liar by defense attorneys. As a result, Judge Orlando Hudson ruled that Dr. Saami Shaibani had committed perjury and his testimony was stricken from the record.
"The court orders the jury to totally disregard all of the testimony of this witness," Judge Orlando Hudson said.
Dr. Saami Shaibani is an injury analyst who said science proves Kathleen Peterson did not die from a fall. During cross-examination, defense attorney David Rudolf hurled accusations of perjury at Shaibani.
Shaibani said he is affiliated with Temple University. However, Rudolf read a letter written by one of the university's lawyers saying Shaibani is not affiliated with the school.
"Any current representation that Mr. Shaibani is employed by or affiliated with Temple University is simply untrue," Rudolf read from the letter.
At one point, Rudolf even called the witness a liar.
"Do you understand sir that when you get on a witness stand and swear to tell the truth that it is perjury to lie even about something like what your position is at an university," Rudolf asked Shaibani.
"Yes, sir. I understand that," Shaibani replied.
With the jury out of the courtroom, Rudolf insisted Shaibani's testimony be thrown out.
"I think it's an important message to send to this jury, the justice system and to other junk scientists out there who are performing these kinds of stupid, ridiculous experiments," Rudolf said.
In court, District Attorney Jim Hardin did not put up a fight.
"If the court believes he's perjured himself and wants to strike his testimony, we will not object," he said.
After Friday's proceedings, Hardin said Shaibani came highly recommended by several lawyers in North Carolina and across the country. Hardin said he was upset over the latest incident, but he plans to keep pushing forward with this case. He said he will deal with the Shaibani situation after the trial is over.
The state medical examiner is expected to take the stand Monday.
The trial started Friday with a request by jurors. After being together for weeks, the jurors wanted their picture taken. A photographer even snapped souvenir shots of the prosecution and defense attorneys. Judge Orlando Hudson even had his picture taken for the group.