Rumors of a surprise witness today in the James Ray trial were greatly exaggerated. The surprise was... wait for it... no more witnesses!
The defense has effectively, if not officially, rested its case after calling only two witnesses. They informed the court that they are done but Judge Darrow will not let them close their case in front of the jury until next week. In the meanwhile, there will be more legal wrangling over what exhibits will be admitted into evidence.
I'm just reading the tea leaves here because of CNN's abandonment of this trial. I'm going by a handful of tweets from April Santiago and a smattering of other news coverage. But it looks like the defense had indeed intended to call a surprise witness, as they were going to call their next witness after their return from a break. But after the break, and without the jury present, they announced that they had no more witnesses to call.
It also looks like the rumored surprise witness was none other than James Ray. He will not, in fact, be testifying. He has waived his right to testify in his own defense. I would have been VERY surprised if he'd testified. Cross examination would have been brutal and would probably have opened the door to about a gazillion rebuttal witnesses.
As it is, Ray's lawyers called all of two witnesses, one of whom was a bumped prosecution witness who added next to nothing to their case. They seem to be betting it all on black; Dr. Ian Paul and his ridiculously oversized chart.
On the one hand, the defense team has limited the amount of rebuttal the State can offer by not presenting much to rebut. On the other hand, it's not much of a defense and sends the message that Ray has no supporters among former students or friends. Just an overly slick medical expert who was paid to defend him.
For his part, Ray started telegraphing his decision to hold his tongue earlier today:
Fair enough but I would add: