Spectral Evidence: The Ramona Case: Incest, Memory, and Truth on Trial in Napa Valley

By Moira Johnston | Go to book overview

15
The Power of Suggestion

"My name is Robert Mondavi. M-O-N-D-A-V-I. I'm in the wine business," said the seventy-nine-year-old man in the tan jacket, limping slightly as he took the stand on behalf of Gary Ramona. This craggy, still-handsome witness needed no credentials. The courtroom was full, expectant. Word was out that father and sons stood opposed in this trial; Tim and Michael would take the stand the following week. Nearly thirty years earlier, another Mondavi family feud had spilled into public view. Then it was the struggle of two brothers for the loyalty of their mother and the control of the family's winery, Krug. Robert had lost that struggle. His mother had died before they could reconcile, and he had been forced out of the family winery to start his own.

Now another deep and emotional division within the family was on view, this time over the fate of the man Michael Mondavi feared his father loved more than he loved his own sons. Again Robert Mondavi had lost, for he had seen his protégé banished, a tragedy he would tell the jury was "one of the worst things that ever happened in the winery." To his wife, Margrit Biever, sitting in the front row in court, it was worse than the death of a loved one, because a man had been condemned to a living death without trial or proof.

Mondavi would try to redeem some of the loss here in court. His answers forthright, blunt, and strong, he told the jury the intimate story of Gary's and the winery's interwoven rise to success. The Gary Ramona he knew was not the omniscient manipulator the defense had painted in its opening statements; he was a man who displayed "a lot of affection," who "was always open to suggestion, and would always

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Spectral Evidence: The Ramona Case: Incest, Memory, and Truth on Trial in Napa Valley
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Prologue the Memory Wars 1
  • A Perfect Family 11
  • 1 - A World of Women 13
  • 2 - The Birth of a Salesman 34
  • 3 - The Family Table 51
  • 4 - Flashbacks 76
  • 5 - Confrontation 96
  • Discovery 105
  • 6 - A Family Falls Apart 107
  • 7 - A Mother Knows 122
  • 8 - The Christmas Present 141
  • 9 - This Thing Called Repression 155
  • 10 - The Gathering of Evidence 172
  • 11 - The Gathering of Witnesses 189
  • 12 - The Memory Lesson 210
  • The Trial 233
  • 13 - Courtroom B 235
  • 14 - The Great Recovered Memory Debate 256
  • 15 - The Power of Suggestion 270
  • 16 - Holly's Day in Court 290
  • 17 - The T-Graph 317
  • 18 - The Debate Continues 333
  • 19 - Verdict 351
  • Epilogue the Impact 379
  • The Process 401
  • Notes 404
  • Selected Bibliography 428
  • Acknowledgments 434
  • Index 436
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