PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Retired Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Ron Castille's brief appearance at the Market Street building collapse civil trial became the subject of debate in the courtroom, without the jury present.
Two noted trial lawyers representing opposite sides, defense lawyer Richard Sprague and plaintiff lawyer Robert Mongeluzzi had differing views on whether Mongeluzzi was unfairly badgering a witness.
While Sprague says he has "great admiration for Mongeluzzi as a lawyer," he objected to Mongeluzzi "yelling and screaming" at Thomas Simmonds, a former top colleague of Sprague's client, real estate developer Richard Basciano.
That's when Sprague revealed that he invited former Chief Justice Ron Castille to sit in, presumably as a consultant for the defense, after which he says Mongeluzzi toned down his rhetoric, while Castille was taking notes in the courtroom.
Mongeluzzi says he was "flattered" his cross-examination led to Sprague recruit Castille. But, Mongeluzzi says Castille's appearance had nothing to do with his tone - he says he goes after "any witness who is evasive and not telling the truth."
Then, Sprague, who previously called Mongeluzzi a "dear friend," told the judge Mongeluzzi apparently was "impressed with his own words," adding what he heard was just "a lot of hot air."
for more features.