Vinther had some strong documentary evidence to back his story, however — documents which apparently convinced the jury Agha was lying:
– At the time of the sale, Vinther was given a handwritten receipt made out by Agha’s wife, Nadia, who works for her husband. “10-22-07 Received $36,000 for Nader clock, Italian Renesons,” the misspelled receipt said.
– More than a year later, when he was about to be deposed in the case, Agha produced a different receipt, this one from a preprinted receipt book. The new receipt was also dated Oct. 22, 2007, and bore a serial number of 592631. “Carved Mahogany Grandfather Clock, $36,000 cash,” it said. In his April 2009 deposition, Agha testified he had prepared this receipt at the time of the sale and left it for Nadia to give to Vinther when he paid, but that she couldn’t find it, and that’s why she made out the first receipt.
– But when Vinther’s attorney asked to see the receipts from the preprinted book immediately before and after the new one, Agha’s attorney, Christopher Cayce, vehemently opposed the request. Only after Monterey County Superior Court Judge Kay Kingsley ordered Agha to produce them did Agha give Huang receipts 592630, which was dated Nov. 14, 2007, and 592632, dated Nov. 16, 2007. Vinther had asked for his money back on Nov. 15, 2007.
Cayce explained the long delay in producing the receipts and the discrepancy about when the second one was prepared by telling the jury, “We were just trying to sort out the evidence.” He also said Agha made out the new receipt in November not because of Vinther’s demand for his money back, but because “it was time to pay the taxes on the sale.”
But Huang argued that Agha “created” the second receipt that said “Mahogany grandfather clock” in an attempt to “defeat” the first receipt. And she said any reasonable person would look at Agha’s constantly shifting story as evidence he wasn’t telling the truth.