Thursday July 15, 2010, 11:57 a.m.
The defense rested at the opening of the John Stamos extortion trial Thursday morning.
The jury began deliberations at 11 a.m. Thursday.
Neither the prosecution nor defense has decided if they will speak to the media after a verdict is handed down. A written press release will be issued with a statement.
TV6 will have updates as more information becomes available.
Day three of the extortion trial in Marquette began Wednesday with the government recalling one of the FBI agents from the day before to clarify some previous testimony.
Two other FBI task force members, who are from the Bay City Police Department, took the stand next and detailed their participation efforts in the surveillance and search, relating to the arrest of Allison Coss and Scott Sippola back in December.
The defense repeatedly asked all government witnesses if they had lost or destroyed any evidence, as well as if the most important pieces of evidence that they were searching for were the alleged incriminating photos of John Stamos. Those witnesses denied both.
A Century 21 realtor testified that she was familiar with the records involving the sale of Sippola and Coss' Marquette Township home, which was listed with Century 21 in November of 2008 at $689,000. In October of 2009, the same time that John Stamos began receiving e-mails from Allison Coss about alleged photos, the price of the home was amended to $629,000. The defense questioned the realtor about whether or not it was uncommon for homes that were still under construction when listed, as Sippola's was, to go down in price. She answered that it was not.
The government rounded out its case Wednesday morning with testimony from several more FBI agents and participating task force members, testifying about their involvement in the original search of Sippola and Coss' home in December, and how they also obtained evidentiary data from Sippola's cell phone and e-mail.
The defense began their case Wednesday afternoon. Defendant Allison Coss took the stand for three hours. She testified about how her and Stamos met in Florida in 2004; several of her testimonial statements differed from those given by Stamos in his testimony on Tuesday.
Coss also provided detail on the alleged incriminating photos of Stamos, which have still not been produced or seen. Of the photos, she said, "There was one of him leaning over the table doing a line [of cocaine.]"
Coss claims there were four or five photos similar to this one, and the last time she saw them was the week before she and Sippola were arrested in December of 2009.
Coss testified that she didn't want Stamos knowing she was involved with the sale of the pictures because, "It scared me. He'd mentioned before that he had people, and it just worried me."
She also claimed that she would have stopped with the e-mails if Stamos had suggested alternatives, but that he seemed interested in buying the alleged photos. Coss testified that she felt like backing out of the plan several times, but never went through with it.
On cross-examination, the U.S. attorney kept referencing the defense's original argument that this was a 'legitimate business transaction." They also went through each e-mail exchange, asking Coss to point out each lie she told. It came out in court that Coss had previously asked Stamos for money back in 2006. When asked by the government, she didn't deny that she had told Stamos her mother's hair salon had burned down, and she needed a loan for her. Coss later said that her mother had wanted to start a hair salon, and that there hadn't been a fire; she said she didn't know why she'd lied to Stamos about the real reason.
While going through the e-mails, the U.S. attorney pointed out specific passages to Coss.
"You're looking for Mr. Stamos' sympathy," the attorney said.
"I guess so," Coss replied.
Coss finally broke down when the U.S. attorney asked her why she didn't just give the alleged photos to Stamos.
"You didn't want to hurt John Stamos and didn't want to take $680,000 of his money?"
"I wanted an offer on the photos," Coss said.
"What kind of a friend does something like that?" he asked her.
Coss began crying and said, "Not a very good one."
Coss repeatedly said that she knew what they were doing was morally wrong, but she never knew it was legally wrong.
Wednesday's trial ended with testimony from Coss' ex-boyfriend, John Lane. He discussed their relationship and what he knew of her relationship with Stamos.
"I didn't like it," said Lane of Coss' relationship with Stamos.
Lane testified that he had seen the alleged embarrassing photos of Stamos. He is the only other person besides the defense who claims that the photos do indeed exist.
The trial adjourned early Wednesday when the defense asked if they could have more time to subpoena one last character witness. The judge allowed it and says he still believes the trial will run on schedule to wrap up Thursday.