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Published: Tuesday, 5/9/2006

Anchors downplay criticisms of defense

BY RUSS LEMMON
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Court TV anchor Ashleigh Banfield quipped Friday that the vibrancy one usually associates with Cinco de Mayo was absent inside the courtroom where the Rev. Gerald Robinson is on trial for murder.

It was her way of saying things were moving at a very slow pace in Lucas County Common Pleas Court.

It's no coincidence that she made her observation after defense attorney Alan Konop stopped his questioning of a witness and began thumbing through sheets of paper. He did this multiple times.

To some television viewers, Mr. Konop, considered one of Toledo's best defense attorneys, may have come across as disorganized.

Ms. Banfield said lulls like the one during Friday's testimony are going to happen in court proceedings.

Real-life cases aren't going to be wrapped up in an hour like they are on Boston Legal, she said.

Father Robinson is on trial in the 1980 murder of Sister Margaret Ann Pahl.

The defense rested its case yesterday. The trial is expected to go to the jury tomorrow.

"Overall, the defense has done an admirable job in a very difficult case," Ms. Banfield said yesterday in a telephone interview.

While calling the prosecution's case "air tight," Ms. Banfield said the defense did an "excellent job of presenting its perspective of the evidence, especially today."

Kathleen Reichs, a forensic anthropologist and author whose writings inspired the TV show Bones, was the next-to-last witness for the defense.

Jami Floyd, anchor of Court TV's noontime coverage, dismisses the criticism she has heard about Father Robinson's defense team.

"I don't think the defense has been particularly disorganized - I have seen far worse on Court TV and in real life," said Ms. Floyd, a former defense attorney.

For defense attorneys, Ms. Floyd said, "often the moment of truth is in the closing argument."

Contact Russ Lemmon at:

rlemmon@theblade.com

or 419-724-6122.



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