Nina Reiser’s divorce lawyer testified Tuesday that she was “very shocked” when she recently learned that at the same time that Hans Reiser said he didn’t have enough money to pay child support he donated $2,000 to Alameda County Supervisor Gail Steele.
In her second day on the witness stand in Hans Reiser’s trial on charges that he murdered Nina Reiser, who disappeared Sept. 3, 2006, Shelley Gordon, who represented Nina in the couple’s bitter divorce proceedings, said, “I would like to have known” about his contribution to Steele because it would have shown he had the ability to make payments to Nina and the couple’s two children.
According to prosecutor Paul Hora, Hans Reiser donated the money in May 2006. Gordon testified that in that same time period, Nina Reiser filed a contempt of court motion against him for failing to pay more than $50,000 in child support.
Hora told jurors in his opening statement three weeks ago that Hans Reiser contributed money to Steele and repeatedly contacted her because he wanted to change Alameda County’s family law system, as he was upset about losing primary custody of the couple’s children.
Steele was expected to testify later.
Nina Reiser, 31, was last seen alive after she dropped off the couple’s children at Hans Reiser’s home in the Oakland hills. Nina Reiser’s body has never been found despite extensive searches in the Oakland hills and elsewhere.
Hans Reiser, a 43-year-old computer engineer who founded his own company, claims he’s innocent and didn’t kill her, even though she separated from him in 2004 and they were undergoing bitter divorce proceedings and fighting over custody of their children.
Nina Reiser was awarded both legal and physical custody of the children, but Hans Reiser was allowed to have them one weeknight a week and every other weekend.
Hans Reiser’s attorney, William DuBois, has said that he thinks Nina Reiser might still be alive and could be in hiding in Russia, where she was born and where she was trained as a physician. Alternatively, DuBois has said that Nina might have been killed by Russian spies or mobsters.
Alameda County Superior Court Judge Larry Goodman warned DuBois today about his confrontational method of cross-examining Gordon. Goodman told DuBois that he should question Gordon “in a more respectful manner.”
The judge’s warning came after Gordon said she doesn’t know much about probate law, as that’s not her area of expertise, and DuBois responded, “We’re noticing.”
DuBois also repeatedly said to Gordon, “Thank you for sharing that” when she gave answers that he didn’t like.
— Bay City News