I didn’t have a chance to cover the trial last Thursday afternoon. I believe Bishop Vernon Parker was called to the stand by Juan. Today Nurmi will have a chance to cross examine him. This is all about the porn on a communal computer at his home that Mark McGee AKA anonymous Witness #1 claims belonged to Travis. Court started late. Court started with a secret sidebar. Just as it has everyday.
Nurmi starts by asking the bishop about his role in the church. Do people look up to him? The bishop appears uncomfortable on the stand. Nurmi asks why the bishop at some point hired a church lawyer when he was initially questioned. He says that some confessions are confidential and he was not sure what he was legally obligated to disclose. Nurmi is implying that the bishop was not honest in his testimony. He says guilty people need lawyers. Really? If everyone who has a lawyer is presumed guilty, we don’t even need to have trials.
Nurmi makes it clear that Travis lied to the bishop about being temple worthy when he baptized Jodi because they were having anal sex.
The bishop has made some corrections to the time that Travis lived with him since his original deposition. Nurmi asked him if Juan asked him to change his testimony. The bishop says that he thinks the porn belonged to someone who was staying with him named Jake, not Travis. However, Nurmi provides evidence that Jake was married at the time that Travis lived there and he could not have been living there at that time. Bishop says he has reason to believe that Jake was the one on the computer. He also testifies that Travis was never on that computer. Nurmi accuses the bishop of lying and yells at him to be honest with his fellow man. By all accounts, Nurmi is being an asshole to the witness. Apparently other people in the house told him Jake had put the pop up porn on the bishop’s computer. Apparently, after the bullshit affidavit from McGee, someone or several someones came to the bishop and told him is was Jake who put the porn on the computer.
After lunch we have a sick juror. They have agreed to tough it out until the Bishop’s testimony is done. These jurors are saints. Nurmi is not proving anything useful. He points out that Mark McGee emailed him and asked if he was there at the same time as Travis. He said yes. He was mistaken. It was 13 years ago. He didn’t realize it would be an important issue to the case or he would have tried to be more certain. He points out that Travis wanted to marry someone named Linda and later Deanna Reid. There was not a lot of time between the two relationships. Deanna chose to go on her Mormon mission before committing to Travis. He had counseled both of them.
Nurmi takes the low road with the bishop and questions him about Travis and Deanna having sex. He was aware they had. He was very close with Deanna. Nurmi wants to know the types of sex they had. Anal? Oral? Vaginal? I don’t think this is playing well to the jury. Nurmi goes through another series of vile questions about the sex between Jodi and Travis. Asking the bishop what the discipline should be for each instance. The bishop is visually uncomfortable. Nurmi goes on an on. The sex audio, the 12 year old orgasm, the tying to a tree, the phone sex, the fact that Travis was being sexually intimate with several women on the phone and online during the same time frame. Did I mention this is a bishop he is cross examining?
Juan is up. He asks the bishop who was present at his original depo. He was, his lawyer, Jodi, Willmott and Nurmi. Martinez was not at the depo. A juror is sneezing. Nurmi has had 3 side bars with only one question asked so far. Juan points out that Mark McGee’s finance moved in after Travis moved out. Juan points out that all the sexual transgression were between two parties and both were just as culpable.
A short recess was called, everyone went into judges chambers, including Jodi and victim’s family.
Juan wraps up talking about the email from Mark. Bishop says that he doesn’t think Mark and Travis lived in house at the same time or that they even knew each other. The “pop up porn” was like something you would see in a catalog” according to bishop. Juan asked if there was child porn on the computer he said no. If it had been something that serious he would have investigated it.
Question #1. “Is a person committing sexual transgressions worthy of being baptized into the church?” No.
Jury Q 2: Is there disciplinary action taken against anyone that is perceived to have put in question the integrity of the church? I’m not aware of that.
Q 3 ” “Are Jacob Thompson and witness #1 still members of the church?” The bishop doesn’t know.
Jury Q: Do people that live in his home sign agreements? No
Jury Q 5: Were any records kept of the people that live in your home? No
Jury Q: Would other people in Mormon church be assigned a lawyer to protect integrity of the church? Answer: Depending on their position.
Juan asks is the bishop is a spokesperson for the church. The bishop says no. Nurmi asked if a person confessed to him that he was addicted to child porn could he disclose that. He says probably not, but that has never happened. OOOH good answer. After a few more rounds of Nurmi pointing out that Travis was a sexual deviant who was lying to the Lord, the witness is mercifully excused.
Back tomorrow with a Mesa Police detective. Nurmi is trying to have his testimony precluded because he was not given enough time to interview him. Really? All they have is time in this circus.