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Don Perata’s day in court

Former state Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, D-Oakland, was in Alameda County Superior Court this morning to testify against the man accused of having carjacked him in December 2007 – a relatively uneventful 40 minutes of direct and cross-examination that I predict will mark the only time you’ll see Perata in a courtroom in the near future.

Afterward, he said this was the first time he’d ever testified in open court, and he found it “very structured” in that he had to keep his answers short and to the point.

“You know politicians, you never use two words if you can use 20,” he quipped.

More after the jump…

You’ll get the full blow by blow on Perata’s testimony from the story soon to be filed by my colleague Paul Rosynsky, who has been covering Jared Adams’ trial all along. Adams stands accused not only of allegedly carjacking Perata on Dec. 29, 2007 at 51st Street and Telegraph Avenue in Oakland, but also for the Jan. 10, 2008 robbery and shooting in which a stray bullet paralyzed Christopher Rodriguez, then 10, as he sat practicing his piano lessons nearby.

Perata’s testimony today included identifying some of the personal effects found in the car when police recovered it in Richmond one day after the carjacking. One item was a Blackberry phone, which Perata said he was particularly incensed to have lost.

“In the address book, I had quite a few addresses that were private not public,” he explained, agreeing when Chief Assistant District Attorney Nancy O’Malley asked whether those addresses and phone numbers belonged to other prominent elected officials.

Another item in the fire-engine red Dodge Charger’s back seat was “a small baseball bat that I use when I walk precincts,” Perata testified.

Outside the courtroom, I asked him about that.

“Dogs,” he explained, relating how he’d been chased out of many a front yard by the resident pooches. The souvenir-sized bats are a perfect defense, he said: “You slide ‘em right up your sleeve.”

Quite the, ahem, enforcer. But was he representing his East Bay district well by carrying a San Francisco Giants item?

“Well, y’know, they gave ‘em away,” he said somewhat sheepishly. “I never got one from the A’s.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.