Prosecutors in the McMartin Pre-School molestation trial opened the final phase of arguments to the jury Friday by accusing defense attorneys of intimidating child witnesses during their cross-examination in an attempt to stifle the truth.
Deputy Dist. Atty. Lael Rubin criticized defense attorney Danny Davis for having asked children to describe in intimate detail how they were molested. Rubin told of Davis asking one 12-year-old girl to demonstrate for jurors how she had been assaulted by using her hands to represent a penis and a vagina.
"That's embarrassing (and) offensive," Rubin told jurors. "You should be offended."
Rubin asked jurors to question the defense attorney's motives for such questioning. "What was he doing?" Rubin asked. "Seeking the truth or trying to embarrass (the witness). . . . And that's what the defense is counting on. Eliminate, extinguish, annihilate the truth" through intimidating cross-examination of the children, Rubin said.
The prosecution is expected to take three days to complete its closing arguments.
After that, Superior Court Judge William Pounders will instruct the jury, which will begin deliberations in the record-breaking trial. Pounders has said the deliberations could take several months.
On Thursday, Davis completed his 5 1/2-day closing argument, in which he asked jurors to acquit his client, former teacher Raymond Buckey, 31.
Co-defense counsel Dean Gits, who represents Buckey's mother, Peggy McMartin Buckey, 62, argued for her acquittal last week.
Before the defense arguments, Rubin's co-prosecutor, Deputy Dist. Atty. Roger Gunson, gave the first phase of the prosecution's final arguments.
The Buckeys, former teachers at the now-closed Virginia McMartin Pre-School in Manhattan Beach, are on trial on one count of conspiracy and 64 counts of child molestation in the alleged sexual abuse of 11 pupils from 1978 until 1983.