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Defense Rests, Mistrial Bid Denied in Doctor's Slaying Case


As the defense rested Tuesday in the murder trial of pediatrician Kevin Anderson, the judge in the case denied a motion for a mistrial based on the conduct of prosecutors.

Pasadena Superior Court Judge Teri Schwartz scolded Deputy Dist. Atty. Marian Thompson, however, for "walking a fine line" with her theatrical style while questioning Anderson. "Ms. Thompson has damaged her case, to be candid," Schwartz said in the jury's absence.

Defense attorney Michael Abzug asked for a mistrial Monday after Thompson asked Anderson whether he thought about the 2-year-old daughter of Dr. Deepti Gupta as he strangled the physician on Nov. 11, 1999, while the two former lovers were parked on Angeles Crest Highway.

Thompson told the judge she believed her questions were appropriate.

Anderson, 41, is accused of strangling Gupta, who was pregnant with his child. Afterward, he allegedly put her body in her car, doused her with gasoline, then pushed the car over a 450-foot cliff.

Prosecutors said it was a premeditated murder to protect his marriage, career and finances.

Anderson testified that he strangled Gupta in an impulsive act after she made a threat against his daughter.

Abzug, in arguing for a mistrial, said that Thompson ignored admonishments from the judge and wrongly implied that he had coached witnesses. Abzug said during the proceeding that he did not really want a new trial because of the financial and emotional cost to Anderson's family. But he said Thompson's actions forced the request.

In rejecting the request, Schwartz told attorneys the trial would be subject to repeated scrutiny upon appeal.

The judge instead told jurors Tuesday that Thompson's questions referring to Gupta's daughter "were improper" and to be ignored. "The verdict in this case must be based on facts, not emotions," Schwartz added. Jurors will hear final arguments today.

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