High drama and low points in RIAA trial

High drama today at the illegal music downloading file of Jammie Thomas-Rasset, as RIAA expert witness Dr. Doug Jacobsen testified that he recently found a log file on the defendant's hard drive indicating that an external drive was used to copy files over.

High drama today at the illegal music downloading file of Jammie Thomas-Rasset, as RIAA expert witness Dr. Doug Jacobsen testified that he recently found a log file on the defendant's hard drive indicating that an external drive was used to copy files over.

That information was not in the expert's report, defense attorney Joe Sibley said, and he demanded to know when the good doctor had discovered this file, Ars Technica reports.

"A couple days ago," said Jacobson.

"A couple days ago!" thundered Sibley. "No further questions."

He stalked off to his table and threw down his pen.

The jury was removed and Jacobson was questioned further. It turned out that he had recently unearthed the log file information when preparing again for his testimony, had mentioned it in passing to a recording industry lawyer, and no one had notified the defense—a massive error.

U.S. District Court Judge Michael Davis threatened to throw out all of Jacobsen's testimony based on the RIAA's behavior in this case, Sibley complained the RIAA had "thrown a skunk into the jury box," and RIAA lead attorney Tim Reynolds apologized four times. Ultimately, only the testimony about the log file was stricken.

After that drama, the defense took a number of hits.

  • Ex-boyfriend Kevin Havemeier testified that he needed Thomas-Rasset's help to use her computer.
  • Ryyan Chang Maki, a Best Buy Geek Squad supervisor, testified that Best Buy replaced her hard drive in 2005 when it was having problems. That was big trouble, as it was that new hard drive, not the original one she provided to investigators. Worse, she testified under oath twice that the drive was replaced in 2004 and never again.

When Thomas-Rasset testified, she had to concede that she lied about the hard drive.

Reynolds finally came straight out and suggested that the hard drive that had been turned over to investigators was different from the one that had been in the machine during the alleged infringement. "That's true," said Thomas-Rasset, and with that, her testimony was over.

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