By Kent Gray
Triplicate staff writer
Defense attorney Edward Fishman attacked a lack of consistency in the testimony of a key prosecution witness yesterday in the sexual misconduct trial of a former Del Norte County jailer.
The witness, Natalie Curington, however, said she was telling the truth.
You can spin this any way you like but I know the truth ... Curington said during cross-examination. I told different things to different people, depending on who I trusted more.
Fishman focused his questions on a varying timeline Curington gave in interviews over the course of the investigation of James Brian Weaver, the former correctional officer accused of sexually abusing her while she was an inmate at Del Norte County jail.
In early interviews, Curington told investigators the four sexual contacts she had with Weaver occurred every day during her incarceration from March 16 to March 20, 2001. Curington testified yesterday that three of the incidents took place on the same day.
Ive played this over in my brain a million times ... it all happened in one day, except for the shackling part, said Curington. The shackling part is the last incident in which she claimed Weaver fondled her while she was in handcuffs.
Fishman insinuated Curington changed her timeline when she discovered Weaver was not logged as working on two of the days Curington was an inmate. He also attacked Curingtons testimony that Weaver threatened her to get her perform oral sex on him.
Fishman called Capt. Doug Plack of the Del Norte County Sheriffs Department to the stand to ask whether Curington felt threatened by Weaver.
She said she was agreeable to it, Plack testified, adding she also said it was friggin wonderful. In earlier testimony, Curington said her statement to Plack was sarcastic Plack said he didnt know how she meant it.
Curington also testified she told a female Crescent City Police officer about the misconduct before an investigation began. I told her Jim Weaver was a scumbag that was the first thing I told her.
But on a tape played in court, Curington is heard denying to Plack she ever mentioned Weavers name to the police officer. Fishman then asked Plack to assess Curingtons believability.
I didnt put it in terms of lying, said Plack. She had confided in someone and I didnt want to get her in trouble because of it ... I think she was very truthful overall.
Curington was unshaken by Fishmans assertion she was untruthful.
Its important for you that people believe you, isnt it? Fishman asked.
No ... (Weaver) will get what he deserves either by you, by God, by the judge or by this jury. I really dont care, Curington responded.
Three other prosecution witnesses who took the stand yesterday were Detective A.C. Field of the county district attorneys office, and Detective Pat Martin and Sgt. Lester James of the sheriffs office. All had interviewed Curington at different points during the investigation.
While District Attorney Robert Drossel used the officers testimony to emphasize where the stories corroborated each other, Fishman pointed out the inconsistencies.
The trial is scheduled to begin again this morning at 8 a.m. with testimony from the second alleged victim in the case.