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Special Event

Attorney for Joseph Sweeting Cross-Examines Fmr. Co-Defendant Ray Lewis

Aired June 6, 2000 - 11:51 a.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: And for our CNN viewers, we are going to breakaway from our CNNfn "IN THE MONEY" coverage right now and go back to Atlanta, to this Atlanta courtroom, where NFL all-pro linebacker Ray Lewis is set to begin his testimony again.

Up now, the defense attorneys for cross-examination, as Ray Lewis has now become a witness for the prosecution after he worked out his own plea agreement yesterday in the murders that took place just after the Super Bowl that took place on January 31. Still on trial, Joseph Sweeting and Reginald Oakley, associates, friends you might say, of Ray Lewis, but he decided it is time to speak out and tell his story.

Roger Cossack before the break was saying he expects the defense attorneys to come out swinging and attack the credibility of Ray Lewis, talk about just until a day ago he was a murder defendant himself, how he has given false testimony to police right after the crimes happened, and how he was drinking the night that the crimes happened.

We will go ahead and see if that works out, and if that is, as Roger predicts, what will happen. Let's go ahead and listen in to the courtroom here in Atlanta, Georgia.

JUDGE ALICE BONNER, FULTON CO. SUPERIOR COURT: You may cross- examine.

STEVE SADOW, ATTY. FOR JOSEPH SWEETING: So we meet again. Are you the same Ray Lewis that was sitting in the seat as a defendant in this case when Mr. Howard told this jury in its opening statement that you were absolutely guilty of murder.

PAUL HOWARD, DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Excuse me, your honor. I object, Mr. Sadow knows that an opening statement is not evidence, it is simply a guideline of the evidence, as we indicated.

BONNER: That would be a proper redirect or -- I'm going to allow him to go into this line of questioning.

SADOW: I will start again. Are you the same Ray Lewis that was sitting as a defendant in this courtroom a little over three weeks ago when Mr. Paul Howard stood before the ladies and gentlemen of this jury and said, that he would show that you were absolutely guilty of the crimes charged in that indictment. RAY LEWIS: Yes, that's me.

SADOW: That wasn't true, was it?

LEWIS: No.

SADOW: Never been true, is it?

LEWIS: No.

SADOW: When Mr. Howard said it to the jury, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, you knew it wasn't true, didn't you?

LEWIS: Yeah, I knew it wasn't true.

SADOW: That is, you are not guilty of killing Mr. Baker, right?

LEWIS: Nope.

SADOW: Either by murder or felony murder, correct?

LEWIS: No.

SADOW: You did not commit any aggravated assault with a knife on Mr. Baker?

LEWIS: No.

SADOW: You are not guilty of murder or felony murder of killing Mr. Waller?

LEWIS: No.

SADOW: And you are not guilty of committing aggravated assault against Mr. Waller, correct?

LEWIS: No.

SADOW: And I assume you are still the same Ray Lewis that was sitting there when this jury was told by Mr. Howard that the evidence would show that Mr. Fassett would say that you approached a tall man who was standing against a tree and that he drew his hand, his fist back, and aimed a blow toward him, and that Fassett would tell that you that blow was a blow that was one that was down in the bottom part of his chest area.

LEWIS: That's me.

SADOW: That's you, right?

LEWIS: Yes.

SADOW: You didn't do that either, did you?

LEWIS: No. SADOW: So, therefore, if that's what Mr. Fassett had told Mr. Howard, at any point in time, which would cause Mr. Howard to tell this jury, that would have been a lied, too, right?

LEWIS: Well, I wouldn't call him a liar, I would just say he didn't see what he thought he saw.

SADOW: We don't need to say whether somebody is lying or not lying, it just didn't happen the way the man claims, right?

LEWIS: No, it did not.

SADOW: And I assume that you are the same Ray Lewis that was in this courtroom when the state paraded Mr. Chester Anderson, put him on that witness stand. told these ladies and gentlemen of the jury that Mr. Anderson was a believable folk, and he saw you kicking somebody, right?

LEWIS: That's me.

SADOW: That's the same Paul Howard that now has called you as a witness, right?

LEWIS: Yes.

SADOW: My things change, don't they?

HOWARD: Excuse me, your honor, I will object to the commentary, that's improper.

BONNER: I will sustain the objection.

SADOW: Let's move on to something else, OK? No, not exactly. Let's stay there just one moment. Can you all hear me? is there any problem?

When you and the others went out partying Super Bowl night, it wasn't your intention or it wasn't the intention of those around you to get into any kind of trouble, were there?

LEWIS: None.

SADOW: They were out for a good time, right?

LEWIS: Yes.

SADOW: And you had a good is time in the Cobalt, right?

LEWIS: Yes.

SADOW: And I'm just not talking about you, I'm talking about Joseph, and Reginald and at the other folks, right?

LEWIS: Yes.

SADOW: No problems in the Cobalt? LEWIS: No.

SADOW: No agitation, no aggressiveness, no street talking, no trash talking, a good time was had by all, right?

LEWIS: Yes.

SADOW: When you left the Cobalt, I assume it was -- wasn't your intention, and it did not appear to be the intention of anyone else to get into a fight, right?

LEWIS: Right.

SADOW: But there were some folks from Akron who changed that, didn't they?

LEWIS: Yes.

SADOW: Now, I want to skip and go forward. Let's go to the Georgian Terrace. Whatever happened out in the incident that you've talk about is already over. You are back at the Georgian Terrace.

LEWIS: Yes.

SADOW: Joseph Sweeting is not there, correct?

LEWIS: No.

SADOW: Joseph Sweeting did not accompany any of the people back to the Georgian Terrace, correct?

LEWIS: No.

SADOW: We will talk a little bit more about this later. But after you saw Joseph at the Holiday Inn, that's the last contact you had with him until this trial, correct?

LEWIS: Yes.

SADOW: So are you back at the Georgian Terrace, and you've had a conversation with A.J.?

LEWIS: Right.

SADOW: I think, is Kwame there at the time?

LEWIS: It wasn't pointed at A.J., A.J. is who I was talking to, but it was actually to everybody, whoever it was.

SADOW: Right. That conversation is taking place with whoever is there, which included Kwame, and maybe somebody else?

LEWIS: Right.

SADOW: But it is a fact that until you saw the television and someone said on the television that there had been a stabbing, you had no idea that anybody had been stabbed, right?

LEWIS: Right.

SADOW: And this is after you had been at the incident, right?

LEWIS: Right.

SADOW: And this is after you had been at the Holiday Inn, right?

LEWIS: Right, right.

SADOW: It is back at the Georgian Terrace that for the very first time you learn that anybody had been stabbed, right?

LEWIS: Right, right.

SADOW: And you knew that was trouble for you?

LEWIS: Right.

SADOW: Because of all the people, you were the one that would be most recognizable, right?

LEWIS: That proved to be itself.

SADOW: And your foresight is pretty good, wasn't it?

LEWIS: Yeah.

SADOW: I mean, I don't even need to get into how many hundreds of thousands of dollars that you've had to spend...

HOWARD: Again, I'm going to object to that.

SADOW: Why?

HOWARD: Irrelevant, your honor.

SADOW: I will rephrase it.

BONNER: I will sustain the objection.

SADOW: Would it be a fair statement that you've been through the ordeal of a lifetime?

LEWIS: Yes.

SADOW: And did it start, specifically start, when Lieutenant Smith came out there and essentially accused you of doing something?

LEWIS: Yes.

SADOW: Now you listened to Lieutenant Smith on the stand, right?

LEWIS: Yes.

SADOW: You were still a defendant then?

LEWIS: Right.

SADOW: Right?

LEWIS: Right.

SADOW: Tell the ladies and gentlemen of the jury, Lieutenant Smith characterize your interaction in a fair way?

LEWIS: No.

SADOW: I mean, did he just tell it like it was or he tell it like the police would want it to be?

LEWIS: He told it probably like the police would want it to be?

SADOW: I mean, did you just stand there? did he ask you a simple question and you give a simple answer? and he typed it up that way or was there more?

LEWIS: It was more.

SADOW: Tell us about it. Tell us what it was that was going on with you and Lieutenant Smith that day?

LEWIS: Well, he would ask me a question and, as he would ask the question, he would throw like another question in there. He would like say, you know, who all was in the limo? who kill these people? And I was like, I don't know who kill these people. And then he would say -- then I would say, didn't I tell you, I don't know everybody in the limo, and that's how the conversation was done.

SADOW: I mean, was it a nice calm relaxed environment?

LEWIS: No.

SADOW: Did you feel at ease in your location?

LEWIS: No.

SADOW: Did you feel as if you had a nice thing going with Lieutenant Smith, that it was just a little friendly chat?

LEWIS: No.

SADOW: How did you fell?

LEWIS: I felt like I have never felt before?

SADOW: Did you fell like you were being accused?

LEWIS: Yes.

SADOW: Falsely accused?

LEWIS: Yes.

SADOW: And if I understand what Mr. Howard has asked you, because of the fact that you simply did not tell Lieutenant Summit the total truth, you wound up being charged in six counts with the murder of two people; right?

LEWIS: Right.

SADOW: Seems a bit harsh; doesn't it?

HOWARD: Again, your honor, I am going to object to the extraneous comment.

Excuse me, your honor, I would object to that. And this is the second one we have heard.

BONNER: (OFF-MIKE)

SADOW: I thought I asked if the question seemed a bit harsh.

BONNER: I'll sustain the objection.

SADOW: Did you ever see any blood on the clothing of Joseph?

LEWIS: No.

SADOW: Did you ever see any blood on any knife?

LEWIS: No.

SADOW: Did you ever see Joseph in possession of the knife when he was standing by the limousine at the point in time that the five or six guys walked by?

LEWIS: No.

SADOW: Did you ever see Joseph with a knife in the limousine?

LEWIS: No.

SADOW: Did you ever see Joseph with a knife other than what you had testified to on direct examination in the Holiday Inn?

LEWIS: No.

SADOW: And when you saw the knife at the Holiday Inn, did it have blood on it?

LEWIS: No.

SADOW: Did Joseph's hand have blood on it?

LEWIS: No.

SADOW: Did any part of Joseph, when you saw him at the Holiday Inn. appear to have blood on it? LEWIS: No.

SADOW: Let's talk about coming out of the Cobalt. Let's run through this, OK?

LEWIS: Uh-huh.

SADOW: If I understand correctly, and you know that I've had occasion now to look at the videotape of your statement to the police.

LEWIS: Correct.

SADOW: Actually, it wasn't to the police, it was to Mr. Howard, wasn't it?

LEWIS: Correct.

SADOW: It was on Sunday.

LEWIS: Correct.

SADOW: And I'm sure you know that I have had a chance to listen to the audiotape.

LEWIS: Correct.

SADOW: And I think that you even had a chance, was it yesterday, to go back over to the district attorney's office, of course at the request of Mr. Howard, to go over a transcript that was prepared by the court on the audiotape?

LEWIS: Yes.

SADOW: And you read over it?

LEWIS: Yes.

SADOW: And did you make any modifications or changes?

LEWIS: No. I made one small change. But that was probably it.

SADOW: And we might talk about that. But otherwise, the transcript you looked at yesterday was accurate?

LEWIS: Exactly.

SADOW: So you are walking out from the Cobalt, everybody is headed back to the limo; right?

LEWIS: Correct.

SADOW: Now, who was it again that was about to make the turn off on to North Fulton?

LEWIS: Rayhanna (ph) and Carlos.

SADOW: Rayhanna, although she didn't demonstrate here, was wearing a rather revealing top; correct?

LEWIS: Yes, correct.

SADOW: And that revealing top was not something that wouldn't be noticed by most men; agreed?

LEWIS: Yes.

SADOW: And you were concerned about Ryahanna's safety; weren't you?

LEWIS: Right.

SADOW: You were concerned about Rayhanna's safety because of the two guys that were standing in that corner; right?

LEWIS: Yes.

SADOW: Two guys that later became part of the five or six guys in the group; right?

LEWIS: Correct.

SADOW: That's why you told Rayhanna and Carlos -- Carlos and Rayhanna?

LEWIS: Yes.

SADOW: That's why you, instead of letting them walk down the street to Fulton Street to their car, you wanted them to come along to the limo; right?

LEWIS: Exactly.

SADOW: In your words, it just didn't feel right, did it?

LEWIS: Right.

SADOW: Your words, not my words, your words.

LEWIS: Right.

SADOW: Same words you told Paul Howard on Sunday when you talked to him; right?

LEWIS: Correct.

SADOW: And I guess as a result of you sensing that there could be a problem, Rayhanna and Carlos did come back towards the limo?

LEWIS: Yes.

SADOW: And then, as you've described it, it appeared that maybe some words were exchanged between -- I think you've described three people. And then the two people that you saw on the corner; right?

LEWIS: Right.

SADOW: Now you were not close enough to hear what was being said; correct?

LEWIS: No.

SADOW: For example, you don't know whether it has something to do with the women; right?

LEWIS: No, right.

SADOW: Or whether there was something said about any of the men?

LEWIS: Right.

SADOW: All you knew is you could hear what sounded to you like something other than just people talking to each other in a nice tone of voice?

LEWIS: Right.

SADOW: And that cause you to go back to that area, where the two guys from Akron were, as well as the three people from the limo party?

LEWIS: Yes.

SADOW: When you got back there, if I understood correctly, the three people from the limo party are A.J., Joseph, Kwame.

LEWIS: Right, yes.

SADOW: When you get there, you hear words; right?

LEWIS: Right.

SADOW: But Joseph, and I'm only worried about Joseph, Joseph wasn't saying a thing; was he?

LEWIS: No, him or Kwame.

SADOW: He was just standings there; right?

LEWIS: Right.

SADOW: So, at that point in time, you had not seen Joseph being aggressive; right?

LEWIS: No.

SADOW: You had not seen him do anything that would be an indication of violence; correct?

LEWIS: Right.

SADOW: He was just present there; right?

LEWIS: Right.

SADOW: And when you pulled somebody out of there, did I understand you that Joseph and Kwame then walked back as well?

LEWIS: Yes, after I reached the limo.

SADOW: And everyone got inside the limo...

LEWIS: Yes.

SADOW: ... except you and Joseph; right?

LEWIS: Right.

SADOW: And you showed us on the diagram that you were kind of standing sideways?

LEWIS: Yeah.

SADOW: That is you are to Joseph's left. Obviously, he's to your right?

LEWIS: Right.

SADOW: Do you agree with me, Joseph is not a big boy; is he?

LEWIS: No, he's not.

SADOW: And he was dressed in a blue jean pants and some kind of grey or blue flannel shirt; something like that?

LEWIS: Yeah.

SADOW: I mean, I don't know whether this is still the expression, probably about 40 years late with this, but was he dressed to the nines like the rest of you all were? or was he just dressed in a more casual fashion?

LEWIS: More casual fashion.

SADOW: I've got this Garland exhibit two. I don't know whether it has been tendered and admitted. I do not remember.

BONNER: I don't believe it has.

SADOW: Well, then I would move it in now as -- re-mark it -- it was marked as DE-2 -- not sure where we are.

BONNER: I think that might mean "demonstrative." I have an exhibit two admitted for defendant Lewis, though I don't know what it is. But let's just re-name it and you may tender it.

SADOW: I am not sure.

BONNER: There's only one of them; right?

SADOW: I'm not sure where I am on my exhibit.

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN ANCHOR: You're watching the scene in an Atlanta courtroom, where Ray Lewis, a linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens, has been giving testimony. A murder and assault charges against Lewis were dropped on Monday in exchange for his giving testimony against two co-defendants, Reginald Oakley and Joseph Sweeting.

What we have been watching is the cross-examination of Lewis by the attorney for Sweeting. He elicited from Lewis that he had not seen blood on Sweeting's clothing, and although he had seen him with a knife at the Holiday Inn, subsequent to the slayings of two people, he had not seen blood on the knife, and he had not seen blood on Sweeting's hands.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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