In its fifth week of testimony, the case of People vs. Harris made it to the closing stages. After a four day weekend that was initiated by a medical emergency in the courtroom, the trial resumed on Tuesday. After hearing several recall witnesses, the lawyers delved into their closing arguments on Wednesday.
Deputy District Attorney Todd Graham went first. The concept behind his summation of the trials events was that the three girls accusing Michael Harris of molestation had gone through too much trauma to be lying.
These girls are making this up? Graham questioned the jury. This should be the foremost consideration in your mind, and the evidence shows it is not what they did.
Graham used the testimony of a third, young victim as a crucial point of why the entire trial was not based on some made-up story. The third young woman was unrelated to the twins who were the focal point and main accusers, but she had been visiting their home when she alleges Harris touched her inappropriately as well. This young woman was extremely reluctant to take the stand and was not at all comfortable telling her portion of the story. Grahams point was why would she have put herself through that if it werent true?
When it was defense attorney Therese Hankels turn to make her closing arguments, she countered that the third young woman was confused and didnt remember much detail of the alleged inappropriate touching while on the stand. Hankel pointed out that a medical exam for this third victim had never been presented during the trial.
Hankel continued to stick to the defenses theory they had been using from the start: that the twins had concocted the allegations as a way to escape from their home and a mother they did not like. She used inconsistencies in the girls stories to illustrate her defense, and claimed that the only specific detail they had really been able to give was that the molestation had happened more than one time.
Both attorneys took their turns reviewing the evidence and putting their own spin on it. Once they were finished, the jury was to receive instruction from the court on their responsibilities. It was expected that they would be sent into deliberation on Thursday. They will be determining whether Harris is guilty or not in relation to the 25 counts of the two charges of lewd and lascivious acts against a child under 14, and forcible rape against a child under 14.