Driver’s license and N.R.A. mail

A hotly contested issue in the Menendez trials was whether Erik Menendez had a valid California driver’s license in his possession at the time he used the stolen Donovan Goodreau driver’s license as identification to purchase two shotguns two days before he and Lyle killed their parents.

There was quite a bit of testimony regarding Erik’s driver’s license. This post will not address that testimony, but instead pose the question of whether Erik ‘slipped up’ in an interview with the defense’s expert witness in the retrial, Dr. John Wilson.

The relevant testimony is as follows:
January 24, 1996: John Wilson – Cross-examination
January 25, 1996: John Wilson – Redirect examination
January 25, 1996: John Wilson – Recross-examination

Personally I think Dr. Wilson’s notes are too vague to definitively conclude that Erik slipped up.

The 11/18/95 notes read in part: “E (Erik) says he couldn’t use his own license because Jose might find out if got N.R.A. mail or something.”

The 12/9/95 notes read in part: “Even if had own I.D. wouldn’t use. Afraid dad would find out if got stuff (N.R.A.) magazines.”

The November notes could imply a slip up, and the December notes could be Erik ‘clearing it up’, as David Conn argued to the jury. But as was pointed out by Leslie Abramson, “These are notes, not a verbatim transcript.” Maybe “even if” was said in November as well but simply not written down. We will never know.

Ofcourse, regardless of whether the notes are too vague, it doesn’t prove that Erik did not have a valid California driver’s license. Whether he did or not is something we will never know with certainty.