Kim Pham Trial, Day Six: Prosecution Rests After Undercover Cop, Zavala Interview
Pool Photo Pino during opening statements
The prosecution in the Kim Pham trial rested today after admitting into evidence an audio recording of a police interview with Vanesa Zavala and calling back to the stand a detective who had gone undercover to speak with the woman while she was held in preparation to be booked.
The 38-minute-long recording takes place in the early morning of Jan. 20, just two days after the fight, and features Santa Ana Police Department Detectives Leo Rodriguez and Clint Achziger questioning Zavala about her involvement.
By this point, they had already acquired a video of the altercation that allegedly showed Zavala kicking Pham. However, during the interview she continually stressed that she spent the fight looking for her lost phone. (In fact, the phone somehow ended up in the hands of Pham's friends and which they turned in to the police).
"Everybody went all crazy, and that's when I went looking for my phone," she can be heard saying on the recording.
The detectives continued to press her on her involvement.
"Just because you're there doesn't mean you're doing anything wrong," Achziger said on the recording. "You have a son, right? ... Lying is what makes you look bad."
She continued to deny ever kicking Pham, eventually conceding that she may have thrown a punch in self defense but wasn't sure if anything landed.
The tape ends abruptly as Zavala invokes her right to an attorney after 37 minutes of speaking to the police. Though she wasn't arrested immediately, she was taken into custody later that day.
While being held before arraignment, Zavala was briefly housed with SAPD Detective Patty Navarro, an undercover detective sent by Rodriguez to try and gleam more information from Zavala.
The detective went undercover as an older chola and asked Zavala about what happened outside of the Crosby.
"Did you give her some putazos?" Navarro asked. "Fuck girl, maybe you beat the shit out of her, and you didn't even know."
"No," Zavala replied.
After cross-examination by the defense, Deputy DA Troy Pino rested his case. Kenneth Reed will begin his defense of Vanesa Zavala in the afternoon. Michael Molfetta is expected to begin his defense of Candace Brito sometime next week.