Posted at 7:27 p.m.
Attorneys are returning to the room, and we're awaiting Hardt and then the jury. Dianne Hamberg just leaned across the courtroom bar and kissed her husband.
Posted at 7:22 p.m.
A verdict is coming.
Posted at 7:01 p.m.
"We've heard what we need to hear," the jury foreman tells Hardt. Jurors are released to resume deliberation.
Jurors heard maybe half of Berry's cross-examination before deciding they were ready to return.
Posted at 6:03 p.m.
We're one hour into testimony, and the recording is still playing Mara Marzano's direct questioning of the accuser. We still have to listen to Berry's cross.
Posted at 5:03 p.m.
The jury has chosen to listen to testimony up to the end of Berry's cross-examination. That'll be most of the two-and-a-half hour testimony.
Posted at 4:43 p.m.
Due to the nature of the electronic recording system in the courtroom, known as Court Smart, it's not practical to search the accuser's testimony for certain segments. Hardt brings the jury out again and gives two options: Either they listen to the full testimony, skipping over sidebars, or they resume deliberations without hearing the testimony at all.
Jurors have re-entered the jury room to decide.
Posted at 4:31 p.m.
A juror has asked if the court can skip playing the entire testimony to play a selection. After a sidebar, Hardt tells jurors they can re-enter the jury room, indicate on a piece of paper the part they want to re-hear, and come back out to hear it.
This could save everyone time.
Posted at 4:24 p.m.
There is no transcript immediately available, so the accuser's recorded testimony is being replayed for jurors over speakers. This could take a while. The accuser testified for two and a half hours on Tuesday.
Posted at 4:19 p.m.
Jurors want transcripts of the accuser's testimony and cross-examination from Tuesday.
Posted at 4:09 p.m.
We're more than three hours into deliberations, and jurors have another question.
Posted at 3:26 p.m.
Alternate juror Jim Caruthers sits on a bench outside the courtroom, waiting for a verdict like everyone else. Released at noon as the other jurors began deliberations, Caruthers called the case a difficult one.
"I don't envy their position, although I wouldn't mind being in there."
Asked for his impression of the case, he declined to give it. He's not the one in the jury room, he said.
Posted at 2:44 p.m.
The question suggests jurors might be discussing two of the counts against Hamberg: Count three alleges he performed oral sex on the accuser, "penetrating her vagina with his tongue." Count seven alleges Hamberg engaged in sexual activity by "placing his penis inside of or in union with" the accuser's genitals.
Remember, questions have arisen as to whether Hamberg is capable of sticking his tongue beyond his teeth and penetrating anything with it. He claimed he can't, due to being tongue-tied; his ex-wife told jurors this morning that he is capable.
Also, the accuser told jurors that Hamberg never inserted his penis fully inside her due to his condom being too tight and uncomfortable.
Posted at 2:39 p.m.
Penetration is not defined in the jury instructions; union is defined.
Hardt pens a response that both sides should refer to jury instructions previously given.
Posted at 2:30 p.m.
There are two questions. Hardt reads them aloud:
1) What is court's definition of penetrating or penetration?
2) Can we consider penetration and union the same thing?
Posted at 2:20 p.m.
Jurors have a question. Hardt and attorneys will return to the courtroom to address the issue.
Posted at 1:22 p.m.
We're back from lunch, and the waiting game begins inside the courtroom.
Posted at 12:03 p.m.
As jurors begin deliberations, it's worth noting the differences between the eight counts of lewd and lascivious battery faced by Hamberg.
Counts one and two allege Hamberg received oral sex from the accuser two different times at Gulf Coast High School. Count five alleges he received oral sex from the accuser at his home.
Count three alleges Hamberg performed oral sex upon the accuser at Gulf Coast High School.
Counts four, six and eight allege Hamberg digitally penetrated the accuser, once at the high school, once at his home and once in his car.
Finally, count seven accuses Hamberg of penetrating the accuser's genitals with his penis.
Every count carries a lesser-included charge that jurors may convict upon if they feel evidence falls short of the lewd and lascivious standard.
Count seven has a lesser-included charge of attempted lewd and lascivious battery.
All other counts carry a lesser-included charge of "unnatural and lascivious act," an antiquated charge created some 93 years ago to prosecute homosexuals.
Posted at 12:00 p.m.
The court will be in recess for lunch until 1:15, regardless of what happens. After 1:15, it becomes a waiting game.
Posted at 12:00 p.m.
The jury is out at 12:00 p.m.
Hardt released two male jurors, leaving the final jury at three men and three women.
Posted at 11:39 a.m.
Jackie Rush is sticking around to see what happens to her ex-husband. She didn't flinch when prosecutors asked her to fly down yesterday, she said.
"I'm not hesitant because this isn't the first time it's happened," she said. "Everything he did with her, he did with Dianne."
"Dianne" is Dianne Hamberg, Robert Hamberg's current wife and the woman he left Rush for in 1988, while Hamberg and Rush lived in Georgia.
Robert Hamberg was a band director at Norcross High School, just outside Atlanta, when he met Dianne Hancock as a freshman band student, he testified. Questions were raised by school officials about Hamberg's relationship with the girl during her senior year, and Hancock's parents forbade Hamberg from seeing their daughter when she was underage
Hamberg resigned from his position, and the pair married after Hancock graduated and turned 18.
Neither police nor the school ever conducted a formal investigation into the relationship, and there are no allegations of sexual acts with a minor, as there are in this case.
Rush said she hopes for a conviction, but she's afraid he'll get away with it.
Posted at 11:36 a.m.
Maresca wants to drive it home for jurors.
"She was the pick of the litter that he picked out freshman year to be his next conquest."
"Look at the corroboration, the phone calls and how it was done. And her motivation for lying? There was none, there was none. Why didn't she disclose right away? Because she was protecting him."
And then this:
"He doesn't direct things anymore, you do."
Hardt will now instruct jurors before deliberations.
Posted at 11:27 a.m.
Berry has concluded, and Maresca is giving a rebuttal.
Posted at 10:52 a.m.
Why would the accuser make up such a story? Berry swings just wide of giving a reason.
"I'll let you consider all that, and I think you can come up with some reasons..." he tells them.
He then digs into a list of what he calls "reasonable doubts."
Pubic hair: The accuser called it "jet black," but Dianne Hamberg testified it was brown and gray.
Length of hair: Dianne Hamberg testified she shaved her husband's body and pubic hair in the spring, before one of the alleged sexual acts occurred.
The notion that Hamberg would secret the girl into his car at the school lot and drive her to his house for spooning: "Those are teenage fantasies," Berry said. "Those come up from a teenager who is making up a story."
Berry returns to the photograph of the dressing room, a spacious, well-lit room where the teenager alleges she and Hamberg frequently met for kissing and sexual acts.
"One thing that's absolutely clear--there's no place to hide," he said.
Posted at 10:35 a.m.
Berry addresses the phone records, some nine and a half hours of conversation and text messaging between Hamberg and the accuser. Berry maintains the defendant was giving a student guidance.
"He cared about his kids, but he shouldn't have done it," Berry said. "And he shouldn't have had lengthy discussions. But you also heard this was nothing he hid from his wife."
He returns frequently to his "insinuation upon insinuation" theme to address what he calls minor details emphasized by prosecutors. Those details include the note intercepted by teachers and the fact Hamberg married his current wife at age 18.
"The state, because they're desperate to show something beyond what they have, is trying to let you jump (to conclusions)," Berry tells jurors.
Posted at 10:22 a.m.
"The only direct evidence in this case is that of (the accuser) and Mr. Hamberg," Berry begins. "Everything else is circumstantial, and insinuation upon insinuation."
Posted at 10:19 a.m.
Marzano wraps by asking for conviction on all eight counts of lewd and lascivious battery, and she thanks the jurors for their attention. Several nod their head visibly.
Berry begins his closing argument.
Posted at 10:16 a.m.
Marzano picks at details from the investigation and Hamberg's testimony.
On accuser being familiar with Hamberg's body: "She didn't remember a mark on the buttocks, but she did remember this man is circumcised."
On the lengthy phone conversations between the two: "What is a 50-something year old man -- what business does he have having a phone conversation with a 15-year-old girl that lasts 50 minutes?"
On his naïveté about being alone with a young female student: "He never thought it could happen to him--except for we know that it did. He knew better."
Posted at 9:54 a.m.
Hardt halts Marzano's closing due to a disturbance in the court gallery--an observer appears to have grown faint and can't sit up straight. Bailiffs wheel the woman out and call an ambulance.
The jury is dismissed briefly before re-entering once the situation is handled.
Posted at 9:52 a.m.
Marzano closes for the state.
Standing behind a lectern that faces jurors, she tells the panel that Hamberg exploited the immature emotions of a young student with a school-girl crush.
Hamberg flattered the child's musical abilities, encouraged her attention with a "full-body" hug before winter break and then cultivated her feelings in the early months of 2009.
Marzano emphasizes the girl's immaturity. She recalls the email the teenager sent to Hamberg after the hug: "Best hug ever," it said. Hamberg's response, "Agreed."
She notes the child remembered the anniversary of the pair's first kiss, January 28.
"The man who should have protected her took advantage of her teenage emotions," Marzano said.
Posted at 9:30 a.m.
A brief recess is called as attorneys prepare for closing arguments in the case.
Rush is nowhere to be found outside the courtroom; one wonders if she's already headed back to the airport.
Her appearance was brief and straightforward, but it undoubtedly boosts the state's case by undermining yesterday's testimony by Hamberg and his wife, Dianne Hamberg, regarding his "tongue-tied" condition.
Posted at 9:17 a.m.
Rush currently lives in Nebraska, she tells Assistant State Attorney Mara Marzano. She was married to Hamberg from 1980 to 1988.
Marzano gets to the point:
"Did he ever French kiss you?" she asks, referring to Hamberg.
"Yes," Rush replies.
"Was he able to put his tongue in your mouth?" the prosecutor continues.
"Yes," Rush says.
Rush then tells jurors that Hamberg had performed oral sex upon her in the past.
The defense gives no cross, and Rush steps down.
Posted at 9:12 a.m.
Hamberg's ex-wife, Jackie Rush, takes the stand.
Posted at 9:11 a.m.
The jury enters, and the state calls its first witness--Renee White, an algebra teacher at Gulf Coast High School. White testified previously about a note she intercepted from the accuser, in which a relationship with a teacher was suggested.
Although Hamberg's name was not written on the note, the band director later approached White and another teacher and referenced the note, telling them in jest that he shouldn't be kissing their students.
Hamberg testified yesterday his comment was a joke--maybe an inappropriate one--and one that the teachers laughed at.
White testifies now that she didn't laugh, but warned him.
"I said, 'I hope you understand I had to turn the note in,'" White testifies. "He sort of shrugged his shoulders. I said, 'After reading that note I don't think you should be in the room alone with her.'"
The defense gives no cross, and White steps down.
Posted at 9:05 a.m.
Hamberg attorney Jerry Berry seeks to have Rush barred from the witness stand because she was not, in fact, included on the state witness list.
Because Rush gave a previous statement to investigators, Hardt will allow her to testify, he said, but only within the bounds of the statement. That means no tongue.
Maresca protests. When Rush was originally interviewed, investigators had no way of knowing Hamberg's tongue would become an issue, he tells Hardt.
Collier Circuit Judge Fred Hardt is swayed, and he allows testimony on the tongue.
Berry comes back with his own request. The defense would like to reopen its case and have a medical doctor speak about Hamberg's tongue. But no doctor is immediately available, and Hardt denies the defense request.
Posted at 8:55 a.m.
Today is day four of the Robert Hamberg trial and the third day of testimony in the case.
We're expecting a rebuttal witness this morning, followed by closing arguments, jury instructions and deliberations. Although state prosecutors have not given the name of the witness in open court, it is expected to be Jacqueline Rush, Hamberg's ex-wife.
Assistant State Attorney Steve Maresca vowed to fly Rush down from Georgia to testify against an assertion made by Hamberg on Wednesday--that he was "tongue-tied," or lacked the ability to stick his tongue beyond his teeth.
The distinction, if graphic, is significant. Hamberg's accuser testified on Tuesday that the teacher often put his tongue in her mouth when the two kissed in a dressing room at the school. She also told jurors he gave her oral sex, the basis for one of the counts against the defendant.
Hamberg, the former band director at Gulf Coast High School, is charged with eight counts of lewd and lascivious battery on the account of the accuser, a 15-year-old student. She told detectives the pair had multiple sexual encounters between February and May 2009.