By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
"You can afford me," Allred announced. "I will be your lawyer for free."
On the day before Monkman and McCallie were due to fly out to meet Allred, Monkman's laptop broke.
They had prosecutors to meet. Allred. Fans waiting for their commentary. This was the thrilling climax to a decade of obsession. And now the laptop, their connection to the online friends who'd made it possible, wouldn't work.
Monkman called Compaq's tech support line and got India. Some guy with an accent wanted to make small talk. Where did she live? Was she interested in coming to Asia? Totally flirty. It was all she could do not to scream. Her hard drive was totally scrambled! No, she didn't purchase a warranty, but the computer was only three months old. Couldn't he do something?
It seemed like hours before he reached an unfortunate conclusion: He could not. But maybe he could come visit her in Arizona some day . . .
Monkman called McCallie. The two were scheduled to leave for Sky Harbor Airport at 7 p.m., and Monkman had clients booked at her massage studio until practically the minute of departure. McCallie agreed to trek to Circuit City and start begging.
At noon, Monkman found a brand-new laptop waiting in the studio's reception area. She called McCallie, amazed. "How did you do it?"
McCallie had shown the manager her cell phone. "You see that?" she'd demanded. "See that last call made? That's to Gloria Allred. That's my attorney. I'm heading to the Scott Peterson trial in Redwood City, where I'm a witness for the prosecution, and I need a laptop that works now!"
As McCallie explained to Monkman, "I played the Gloria Allred card." Apparently, the name of the high-profile lawyer registered. Or maybe it was the name Peterson. What Circuit City manager would want to derail the trial that had captivated America?
For suddenly the manager remembered: Maybe there was a warranty on the laptop after all. It wouldn't be much trouble to replace it right away . . . if McCallie could just sign right there.
After finishing with the day's last client, a jubilant Monkman typed a quick message to her friends online. She wrote about the broken laptop, the Indian techie, the wonderful new computer. She left out Allred. No one was allowed to know about that yet.
"All I can say is God moves in mysterious ways and here we are . . . embarking on this trip, standing right in the middle of the mystery," Monkman wrote. "'See you' all in Redwood City . . ."
With that, Monkman and McCallie were off.
Off to California, and a meeting with Allred, whom they'd watched on TV for years, but who was suddenly their attorney. Off to a trial they'd watched for months, but were suddenly becoming players in.
On the plane, McCallie leaned over and pinched Monkman.
This is really happening, Monkman thought. Isn't it?
McCallie's presence on the witness bench on October 27 caused no small stir amongst the spectators in Redwood City. "They were totally double-taking," Monkman says.
In the end, though, McCallie didn't have to testify. After a lengthy closed-door conference, prosecutors and the defense attorneys sorted out what evidence would be needed. Peterson's attorney agreed to stipulate that McCallie had indeed taken the photo on the date in question.
"The bottom line is, that photograph went to impeach the story about what Scott used the concrete for," says Karas, the Court TV reporter. "The prosecutors were able to say, 'You didn't take your [driveway] samples until September 2004 -- a year and a half after the murder. And we know there was contamination, because here was this cement bag there.'" Adds Karas, "The defense was so mad at Court TV, because they thought we'd had something to do with it."
After whisking Monkman and McCallie to the prosecutors' office for a debriefing, Allred held a short press conference in front of the courthouse. (Allred could not be reached for comment.)
They didn't even know it was coming. "The next thing we knew," Monkman says, "we were in front of the mikes, and she had her arms around both of us."
Allred introduced them, then warned the reporters not to ask any questions. They ignored her instructions, and the questions came furiously:
"Genna, do you work for Court TV?"
"Do you work for the prosecutor's office?"
"Why'd you take the picture?"
Then, "Was this picture taken in 2003 or 2004?"
McCallie couldn't help it. "2004," she cried.
The reporters gasped. It hardly mattered -- either way, it was taken before the defense expert had done his tests. But it was still news . . . and there was that gag order. McCallie, embarrassed, ducked behind Allred.
Monkman and McCallie stayed in Redwood City for another week and a half, long enough to catch the closing arguments. Monkman was breathlessly paraphrasing prosecutor Rick Distaso's closing arguments online when the prosecutor began to hammer the missing bag of cement.
November 1, 2004
KATIECOOLADY: Geragos dragged in a bag of fence post concrete.
Where is it?
It's not in evidence.
(Jordy's photo headed THAT off at the pass.)
You're not going to see that.
Their expert never spoke about it.