"THE COURT: What else, Mr. Sterg?
MR. STERG: Not that it matters, but I know that Mr. Chun was sick the other day and Ms. Haynes said she gave it to him. And I just want to let you know right now I'm feeling pretty doggone, lousy myself.
THE COURT: Okay.
MR. STERG: Anyway, so, just letting you know.
THE COURT: Lousy meaning ...
What is it that you need, Mr. Sterg?
MR. STERG: If I were to ask for a break --
THE COURT: Right now?
MR. STERG: No. I'm not asking right now. But if I do, it's because I'm really sick and I would need a brief break.
THE COURT: But when you say "really sick," what are you talking about, Mr. Sterg? Because we're not going to bring the jury in, and in 10 minutes break.
MR. STERG: I don't anticipate 10 minutes.
THE COURT: But here's the deal, Mr. Sterg: We're not going to engage in tactics that interrupt a cross-examination. The Court has been hacking and coughing for three or four days. Actually, for two weeks, and I've still been doing it and we don't take breaks because the Court has been hacking and coughing. We need to get this case over with.
MR. STERG: Okay.
THE COURT: If you need a break, let's do it now while the jury is out. And I was anticipating giving y'all a break right now anyway before the jury comes back in.
MR. STERG: Well, I'm not coughing and hacking. I'm just -- whatever is wrong feel I like I'm ready to throw up. I'm doing fine and I'm holding it down. But I'm just saying, if it keeps on, I may have to throw up.
THE COURT: You're not doing it in my courtroom either, Mr. Sterg.
MR. STERG: I don't want to. That's what I'm telling you.
THE COURT: Well, you're not.
MR. STERG: If I'm feeling bad, I'd like to be able say, "Stop. I'm about ready to throw up." But I'm not ready to throw up. But I'm really a mess in here and not just hacking and coughing. But if you don't want me to let you know --
THE COURT: Let me have all counsel approach for a second.
(Following bench conference held on the record:)
THE COURT: Mr. Sterg, we're outside the presence of everybody. We got the white noise just for purposes of the record. I don't know what kind of little game you're playing, but I'm getting kind of tired of it. This whole folksy kind of thing. You didn't have any issues yesterday when you were directing your client. I am sensing this is all a game and a scam to interrupt proceedings. I am not happy with it. So if you need to, go take some medicine, but it needs --
MR. STERG: And I was going to --
THE COURT: Yesterday you had indicated about a break for food. If you need food, we've got food in chambers, or candy. If you feel like your sugar is going down, let us know and we'll get it for you. This is going to stop. None of us feel well. But we're all here and we're all going through it and we're swinging through it.
MR. STERG: I'm sorry I brought it up.
THE COURT: As you well note, yesterday I had such a bad, hacking cough and I interrupted your direct and I realized it. It hadn't stopped. So that's the bottom line. But this is going to stop. We're not going to gain advantages with these kind of things because you know it's very difficult for the Court to know one way or the other. You're not showing any signs of sickness. And you're right, you're indicating it's on the inside and not on the outside and I understand that. But this is the first I have heard about it as we're about to go into cross-examination of your client.
MR. STERG: I may make it through. But I can tell you, in the past I've been through this and I've taken a break while we're in trial and I've gone and I've thrown up and I come back and I'm fine. Once I can throw up, I'm fine.
THE COURT: It sounds more like nerves, Mr. Sterg.
MR. STERG: Oh, no, ma'am.
THE COURT: Well, how is it that you can throw up at this point in every trial and you're fine?
MR. STERG: Okay, ma'am. You've gotten such a bad impression of me. That's fine.
THE COURT: The bottom line is this --
MR. STERG: It's happened once before.
THE COURT: The bottom line is this: Is the impression that I have been getting throughout this trial is you agree to one thing and then you back out and you have a misunderstanding as to the Court's rulings and then you don't comply with the Court's rulings, and we're going through this. Go take a break right now. Have a Sprite. See if it will help your stomach.
MR. STERG: I'm going to go and try to throw up.
THE COURT: I don't want to bring the -- because once you run out of the courtroom, I have to stop the proceeding. This is a critical stage. I cannot leave your client alone.
MR. STERG: I've been practicing all for over 40 years and it happened one time.
THE COURT: You just said it happens.
MR. STERG: No.
THE COURT: Did it happen one other time?
MR. STERG: In court. It happens occasionally to me when I feel like this. And I can recall, when I was working before I became a lawyer, I would go and I would throw up and I come right back to work. I'm okay once I get it out of my system. You know, you think it's a game. So it's okay.
THE COURT: I do think it's a game.
MR. STERG: That's fine. That's fine.
THE COURT: But don't be sick in my courtroom. I would rather you run out than be sick in my courtroom.
MR. STERG: I'm not going to run out. You told me not to.
THE COURT: I don't want you throw up in my courtroom. I would rather you run out than throw up in my courtroom.
MR. STENBERG: I can go try right now.
THE COURT: Go and have a Sprite. Do it at this point in time. See if it's something that is going to help. We're not finished with cross. We're not even at the charge conference and we're finishing this trial today. So go ahead and go take a break."
(Bench conference concluded. Open court resumes.)