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     Both defense attorneys were stunned when Trammell refused even to hear the motion. What's more, he made his ruling "with prejudice", meaning that Jin and Chu were precluded from renewing the motion later. What was remarkable is the fact that Trammell went a step further and ordered all papers filed in support of the motion to be stricken from the record. "This appears to have been unusual," concluded the Evidentiary Findings of Fact filed by Judge Frank F. Fasel who was charged much later with reviewing Trammell's conduct of the proceedings against Jin, Chu and Lo.
"He denied every one of our motions and granted every one of the DA's motions."
     Trammell made a series of other rulings that clearly favored the prosecution and went against Jin and Chu.
     "He denied every one of our motions and granted every one of the DA's motions," says Enid Ballantyne, who had been retained on March 15, 1996 to take the place of the attorney originally retained to represent Chu.
     Trammell raised eyebrows even more in May when he rejected a plea bargain hammered out between Morrison and Jin's attorney under which Jin would plead guilty to some of the charges against him and agree to serve 11 years in consideration for other counts being dropped as to himself and Chu. Eleven years is a considerable prison term, and the case in support of the kidnapping charges weren't exactly rock solid.
     "I've never heard of a judge rejecting a plea bargain," says Montie Reynolds. Enid Ballantyne, who was retained by Jin to represent Chu, agrees. Even prosecutor Larry Morrison was flabbergasted, noting that he had never had a judge turn down a negotiated plea bargain.
     With a trial now inevitable, Jin retained Montie Reynolds to represent him in place of his first attorney. Jury selection began May 20, 1996. Two days later Jin and Reynolds decided to plead out the software piracy and money laundering counts as to which there was little hope of winning. In exchange for Jin's open plea on those counts, Morrison agreed to drop the money laundering and child endangerment charges against Chu. Jin's open plea would give the judge free rein to decide sentences for those and any other of the remaining counts on which Jin was found guilty among the remaining counts, namely, kidnapping for extortion, residential robbery and assault with a semi-automatic firearm.
     The jury that was finally impaneled consisted of six caucasians, three or four hispanics and perhaps two Asians, to the best recollection of Enid Ballantyne. The swearing in of the jurors on June 4, 1996 marked the beginning of the six-week trial. Each day Lo was among the spectators.

The Trammell scandal has drawn close coverage in both the Chinese-language and the English-language press in the San Gabriel Valley.

     One of the dramatic highlights was the introduction into evidence of numerous love letters sent by Jin to Chu in the women's jail. The letters were confiscated from Chu's cell and offered by the presecution to show that Jin was masterminding a criminal conspiracy. In several of the letters Jin beseeched Chu to become his "second wife". As with other motions by the defense, Trammell denied the motion to exclude the letters from evidence.
     Complaining witness Yan had been the key witness at the preliminary hearing which laid the foundation for the prosecution's case. At the trial, however, Yan refused to take the stand on the ground that his testimony might be self-incriminating.
     "He was worried that he might be charged with taking a bribe," says Reynolds. According to Jin, Yan had offered to drop the charges if Jin paid him. Also, the sheriffs had promised to pay Yan a share of any money they confiscated from Jin and had paid some of the money to Yan, Jin contends.
     Just as the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees Yan's right to refuse to testify, the Sixth Amendment guarantees Jin's right to face his accuser in court. This right has been interpreted as the right to cross-examine the complaining witness.
     Over strenuous objections from the defense attorneys, Trammell let the prosecutor read in Yan's testimony from the preliminary hearing, presumably because the defendants had the opportunity to cross-examine Yan at the preliminary hearing. The problem is that at the time of the preliminary hearing Jin and Chu hadn't yet been charged with kidnapping for extortion. Their attorneys had had neither the opportunity nor a reason to cross-examine Yan on his testimony as it related to that most serious count. By letting Yan's testimony be read in, Jin would later argue, the judge denied him his Sixth Amendment right to cross-examination. Page 7

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