By Steve Dunleavy
DEFENSE lawyer Jack Litman might as well have been getting a suntan in
Florida during this farce of a cybersex trial.
Because you could wait until the Sahara needs sand for Judge William
Wetzel to have given him anything but what amounted to "jurispru-dunce"
in this very troubling case.
Never in all my time of covering courts have I seen a sitting judge tie
a lawyer's arms and legs and put a gag in his mouth.
Yesterday, after a long trial in which we saw Oliver Jovanovic, 31, get
the best railroad job since Union Pacific, Judge Wacko Wetzel couldn't
After countless days of scowling at Litman, appearing bored, nodding his
head in contempt and slapping down the defense on every trip of the
train, Wacko couldn't contain himself.
"Stand back," he barked rudely at Litman, as other lawyers gathered at
the bench for a post-sentencing conference.
Several leading criminal lawyers and at least one prominent retired
judge have puzzled over Wetzel's unreasonable rudeness.
Others have questioned outright the entire fabric of the case that
yesterday saw Jovanovic sentenced to 15 years to life for a crime I
sincerely believe didn't happen.
His accuser, Madame X, who obviously we don't name, claims Jovanovic
kidnapped her, bit her breasts until they bled and did other unspeakable
Yet, when she was exhaustively examined at Barnard College, no signs of
this horrific abuse existed as far as the doctors were concerned.
Then the prosecution, now remember that - the prosecution - was about to
call in a medical witness, Dr. Jacques Maurice.
But they suddenly backed off.
You see, Dr. Maurice found no injury with the exception of a cut on
Madame X's vaginal area - a cut that wasn't present during the first
When Litman wanted to call Dr. Maurice for the defense, Wacko Wetzel
wouldn't allow it.
The great suspicion arises that if Madame X did not have that wound
before her first examination, then a strong case exists that the whole
thing was a fabrication.
Much was made about the activity between Jovanovic and Madame X over the
But when Litman wanted to introduce a bizarre series of Madam X's
Internet files, Wacko Wetzel said no.
This Barnard student talked at length about past experiences in
sadomasochism and "snuff" films, where actors supposedly are murdered.
She admits to willingly undressing in his apartment. Now, I believe "no"
means "no," but she wasn't there to pose for a statue.
Madame X, by many people's observations, is an extremely troubled young
A top cop involved in sex crimes once told me, "Rape is the most
under-reported crime in America.
"There are those who don't report it out of shame. And there are those
who do report it and it never happened."
Remember Tawana Brawley.
Now, Wacko Wetzel raged yesterday about newspaper columns, and
undoubtedly he was talking about my defense of Jovanovic.
"I thought the judge was going to jump over the bench and hit you on the
head with his gavel," said one veteran court reporter.
Well, let's call off the brawl until later.
"Oliver will appeal the case vigorously and expects to be cleared on
appeal," said Jack Litman.
Let's wait until round two, Judge Wetzel. By that time you may have
worked out your aggression on Jack Litman and found yourself
embarrassingly reversed on a case that should never have happened.
Oliver Jovanovic might be an egg-headed computer nerd. But if the jury
had been allowed to hear the facts, he wouldn't be on his way to state
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