Taking the stand once again in the murder-hire-retrial of Dalia Dippolito, Boynton Beach Police Public Information Officer Stephanie Slater explained her intention behind having the TV show "COPS" ride along with officers.
"I wanted to have them come because part of my job as the public information officer is to promote the heroic things that law enforcement do every day and what better way to do that than on the TV show "COPS," said Slater.
The defense focused on footage the police department recorded of Dalia Dippolito on the day of her arrest, video that Boynton Beach Police then posted on its YouTube channel.
"You knew at that time there was a pending criminal investigation of Dalia Dippolito, correct?" asked Dippolito's attorney Brian Claypool.
"Correct," answered Slater. "The video that is on YouTube Channel was taken on a public street where there is no expectation of privacy and anyone could have taken the video, just so happen that we did and we posted it," added Slater.
The video Slater referred to was not mentioned in court. The state asked the question, did the defense open the door for the state to bring back the "staged crime scene video" excluded by the judge.
"I was dancing around broken glass on that issue cause the point I wanted to make was Stephanie Slater is the public information officer. The police department did post some videos on YouTube during the Dalia Dippolito investigation, but I couldn’t reference this staged crime scene," added Claypool.
Prosecutors asked Slater to clarify for jurors that reports and videos taken by the police department are part of public record and certain records can be released to the public or media during an investigation.
Former Sergeant Frank Ranzie was also called on to testify. He is he first witness to say the "COPS" TV show could have affected the police department's investigation.
"It changes the way people act and interact with one another when there's a camera with a bright light standing next to you," said Ranzie.
Ranzie is no longer with the Boynton Beach Police department but told jurors he believes failure to record an encounter between Dippolito and the informant Mohamed Shihadeh was a mistake. He was told there was no recording because the wire tapping device malfunctioned, but when he asked to get another he says the supervising sergeant said they were doing the meeting without it.
"He said we're going without it," said Ranzie.
The defense attorney asked what was Ranzie's response to that.
"I said it's a bad idea we need the evidence," said Ranzie.
The next witness called on by the defense offered conflictng testimony. Captain John Bonafair told jurors that using an alternate recording device could have been Ranzie's call.
But even more contradicting, on Thursday Shihadeh testified he was wearing a wire in that restaurant encounter and officers were hearing his conversation. Dippolito's attorneys say the issue will be brought back in court on Monday.
"We're going to be asking for an destruction of evidence instruction to the jury," said Claypool.
The defense has one more witness testifying on Monday.