The first witness testifying against a Stevenson Ranch resident and Grammy-winning producer took the stand in a preliminary hearing Wednesday, saying Noel Fisher, aka “Detail,” who stands accused of sexually assaulting 11 women, locked her in a soundproof studio before attempting to tear off her clothes.
Upon entering the courtroom, clad in an orange Los Angeles County correctional system orange jumpsuit, shackled and carrying a Bible, Fisher, 42, heard the 26 counts levied against him detailed by Judge Craig Richman as follows: 13 counts of forcible rape; four counts of forcible sodomy; two counts forcible oral copulation; three counts of assault likely great bodily injury; one count of attempted forced rape; two counts of false imprisonment; and two counts of assault in the attempt to commit alleged rape, sodomy and/or oral copulation.
During the first victim testimony in the case, the witness, granted anonymity by the court and referred to only as “C.D.,” stated she first met Fisher during a party hosted by Christina Aguilera in 2009.
She’d been working in the music industry as a songwriter and, despite having worked with hundreds of producers and artists, C.D. said she learned Fisher was a talented producer and wished to collaborate with him.
In April 2010, C.D. said she went to Fisher’s Stevenson Ranch house on the 25500 block of Fountain Glen Court and walked with the producer to his backyard. She had just learned her boyfriend might have a secret girlfriend, she said.
“By the time I arrived there, I was stressed,” she said of her commute from Hollywood to Stevenson Ranch.
Upon hearing of stress, and asking about C.D.’s apparent anxiety, Fisher asked if she would like a “shoulder rub” from him, she testified. She agreed to the massage and was escorted to a room inside the home where he instructed her to take off her shirt, she said. She did, but not in front of Fisher, whom she couldn’t see while she was undressing, she said.
“I didn’t want to jeopardize our session because I was anxious about other things,” she said, adding she kept her bra on during the massage.
After what she described as a five-minute massage, Fisher then took her to his home studio, which was a part of an attached unit in the back of the home, she said.
“I (sat) down, and I saw him come in, take a key from his pocket, put it inside the lock, locked (the door), took the key out and put it in his pocket.”
Within seconds of walking into the locked studio all alone with Fisher, C.D. testified that she sat down in the chair, and he jumped on top of her legs, straddling her with his own so she couldn’t move.
“He started kind of (grabbing) at my underwear, to try and pull it down,” said C.D. “I could only hold my hand over my underwear … I was just holding on, holding on. This went on for maybe 10 minutes. I could feel my arms getting tired.”
Turning tearful on the stand, C.D. said she wanted to get to her phone, but she knew she had to keep her hand on her underwear. it was useless to scream, she said, because she believed the recording studio was soundproof. She described Fisher as being in a “frenzy” and “snorting like an animal.”
“I just said something along the lines of: ‘You don’t have to do this,’” she said, adding that she felt the producer was “getting off” on the fact that she was initially panicking.
In response, Fisher gave a visible sigh and got off of her, she said. He then unlocked the door, and the songwriter felt that she had escaped the attack. But instead of leaving, she testified that she stayed for the remainder of the day to finish her work with the producer, adding that the entire encounter from her arrival at the Stevenson Ranch house to the massage to the alleged incident in the studio spanned all of 20 minutes.
“I wanted to pretend that none of it had happened and I was in control again, and I went through the work session with him,” she said, once again fighting through tears. She would go on to tell the court that she never once expressed or showed a sexual or romantic interest in Fisher during their encounters, and would spend the next few years wondering why it had happened to her, why she had stayed, etc.
“I didn’t know what was going to happen to me … I don’t understand why I was prioritizing my work over my own safety … I don’t understand that,” she said. “I was very fearful.”
After returning from the lunch break, and being asked to identify Fisher for the court, C.D. once again, fighting back tears and informing the court she was having an anxiety attack, raised her finger and pointed at the music producer.
She said she felt years of shame, and inability to approach the emotional space and explore why it happened, until 10 years after when she learned that a friend of a friend had accused Fisher. At that moment she decided to share her story, she said.
During the cross-examination, defense attorney Jaaye Person-Lynn walked the alleged victim step-by-step through her testimony and the events she said transpired, questioning her memory of the events that day.
C.D. acknowledged on the stand she could not recall the answer to a number of the questions, including: how many steps had she walked up; if she could remember if there was a lock on the outside of the door; what Fisher had worn that day; what day of the week or date on the calendar that she had gone to visit him.
She said she had tried to “erase” much of that day from her memory over the years.
Person-Lynn also pointed out that C.D. had told police Fisher had placed his hand inside her skirt to pull at her underwear — but during her testimony Wednesday, she said he pulled at her leggings. She later said that it was tights and a skirt that she was wearing on the day of the alleged attack.
Person-Lynn also questioned why she didn’t scream, asking if she knew for certain whether the recording studio was soundproof and she said “no,” basing her assumption on her years of experience in recording studios. She also said that at no point did Fisher try to kiss, grope or commit any of the sexual acts outside of the ones she previously mentioned.
However, when asked if she had come forward as a result of hearing about a multimillion-dollar lawsuit being settled against Fisher all these years later, C.D. said she had not heard of the suit, but came forward after hearing about a friend of a friend and her son’s father encouraging her to reach out to the hotline set up after Fisher’s initial arrest last August.
“I had read he was denying the charges, and it really compelled me to … I didn’t know I was going to be here today doing this,” she said, “but I felt that I needed to play my role.”
The preliminary hearing is set to continue Thursday at 9:30 a.m. in Department 42 at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center. The court is expected to hear from possibly two more of the alleged victims, who are using the acronyms “K.L.” and “A.O.” The hearing is to determine whether there’s enough evidence to proceed with a trial, which the judge will decide after the evidence is presented.
Before her testimony was cut short as court recessed for the day, A.O. testified she also met Fisher at his Stevenson Ranch home.
Fisher is being held at the North County Correctional Facility in Castaic in lieu of $6.29 million bail.