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[verbatim trial transcripts]

February 5, 2000 (Saturday)



[...] The Guardian runs a whole page review of the trial written by one Jonathan Freedland; not bad, well written, but hopelessly prejudicial and I must put it before the Court on Monday. I am sure it is entirely coincidental that Guardian Newspapers Ltd are defendants in the second libel action that I am bringing, and that action will be pursued with the same vigour as I have pursued this one, when the time comes. Not that this current action is yet over. Not by a long chalk.-- People are writing me e-mail letters pleading with me not to post the daily diary, as it reveals too much to "the enemy." I disagree: cards on the table. Mit offenem Visier.

I potter around all day, clearing the decks for the cross-examination of Christopher Browning next week. Tomorrow I shall examine Sir John Keegan, one of Britain's premier historians, briefly and painlessly.

JessicaBenté has to leave her sickbed to take Jessica to the dance school in Harley Street at 2 p.m., and she goes again to pick her up at 5 p.m. She tells me afterwards that her arms and legs are numb and almost devoid of feeling now, and she has the greatest difficulty in walking.

This is the school whose director phoned me a few days ago to ask that I not personally pick up Jessica, as "a parent" was complaining (later expanded to "several parents were complaining") about seeing me there; I informed him that Benté is gravely ill, and with what. They expressed dismay, but still sent a letter yesterday asking that I not enter "the propinquity" of the school, i.e. come anywhere near it: who controls the streets!

So today Benté has struggled over with our little toddler to the dance school, and she goes again to pick her up at 5 p.m. She finds the director's wife outside the school's locked door, with a hand-held phone, explaining to arriving parents that the door is unfortunately locked today as they are making sure that "a certain parent" does not come; she has her phone with her, to summon assistance if need be, as she explains loudly to several other arriving parents.

If this were the USA no doubt she and her husband would call in the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms too. Benté, unrecognised, gapes, listens, then says: "I believe you are talking about Jessica's father?" and introduces herself. The woman is suitably embarrassed, apologises profusely, but challenges: "You can't be -- you are too young!" Then she loftily says, "I am Jewish, you see," as though this explains, and even atones for, such egregious behaviour.

After this Benté stays up and perky during the evening, but she is visibly weak. In the evening G. comes round unexpectedly. A pleasant evening, with much talk of the Holocaust and law suits until I can Stand No More; Benté has long fled.

I work until 2 a.m. preparing for Monday.

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