A summary news report from the AP:
Judge Peter Smith said he would give his verdict in the case before the current court term ends April 13.
In a written statement handed to the court yesterday, Rayner James said Brown had copied from ''Holy Blood, Holy Grail," but acknowledged he may have done so ''unwittingly because of the research materials supplied by Blythe Brown."
''His evidence should be approached with deep suspicion," the lawyer said of Brown's testimony during three days on the stand last week. ''He had almost no recollection of matters that related to timing. He would struggle to recall a year, was rarely able to recall a month. His general attitude in cross-examination was uncooperative."
Rayner James said evidence from Blythe Brown would have been of ''fundamental importance to this case." He claimed she would have been able to confirm the extent to which ''The Da Vinci Code" relied on Baigent's and Leigh's work.
Dan Brown knew ''little about what she did," Rayner James said.
"It remains the position that only she knows the extent of her involvement in the research and creation" of ''The Da Vinci Code," he said.
Meanwhile, the NYTimes reports that the judge expressed irritation with the lawyer of the plaintiffs:
The judge, Peter Jones, will not issue a decision for several weeks, and it is impossible to know how he will rule. But his tough questions appeared to reflect skepticism, even exasperation, toward some of the arguments put forward by the lawyer for the plaintiffs, Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh, two of the three authors of "The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail." (The book's other author, Henry Lincoln, is not taking part in the lawsuit.) They claim that Mr. Brown lifted the central "architecture" for his megaselling "Da Vinci Code" from their nonfiction book, published in 1982.
For instance, when the lawyer, Jonathan Rayner James, argued that Mr. Brown had "been hiding the truth" about when he and his wife, Blythe Brown, who does much of his research, had first consulted "The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail," Justice Jones stopped him short. If that were true, the judge asked, why had Mr. Brown left out "The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail" from the bibliography he submitted to the publisher, along with a synopsis of "The Da Vinci Code" in January 2001 — only to include a pointed reference to the book in the finished novel a year later?
"If he's trying to hide the fact that he's using 'H.B.H.G.' in the synopsis," the judge asked, referring to "The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail" by its initials, "what's the point of shouting it out from the rooftops in the book?"
On a more humorous note, I found this story about Dr. Ben Witherington III, biblical scholar and author of The Gospel Code, and his reference to TDVC as a work of "hysterical fiction," not historical fiction. Quite funny.