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Dominick Dunne Discusses 'Justice'

Aired June 26, 2001 - 21:00   ET

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


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, the brutal killing of his daughter made the pursuit of justice his passion. Best-selling author Dominick Dunne talks about shocking crimes, and notorious trials. We'll take your calls next, on LARRY KING LIVE.

A brilliant new book has just been published. It's title is "Justice: Crimes, Trials and Punishments." There you see its cover. We also have here -- this is the box cover for the audio version of Dominick Dunne's book. Both were just simultaneously published. It's great -- well, congratulations.

DOMINICK DUNNE, AUTHOR: Thank you.

KING: This book number what?

DUNNE: Oh, 8, 9, like that.

KING: I read this cover to cover, on an airplane flight. It's a can't-put-down book. Now, normally I like to just take it from the top. I'll tell you that. This is a terrific book, a collection of all your "Vanity Fair" articles, right?

How did this come about?

DUNNE: Well, it wasn't my idea, Larry. It was my editor, Betty Praskar (ph), who -- I'd brought out a few other collections but she said let's give it a theme. And the theme is crime and trials, and something that I'm really interested in.

KING: You become almost wrapped up in it, right?

DUNNE: I am wrapped up -- not almost -- I am.

KING: Because of the death of your daughter, right?

DUNNE: That's what started me. And, you know, I had never been to a trial until I went to the trial of the man who killed my daughter. And I had never given justice a thought, if you want to know the truth. And, I was so horrified about what went on in that courtroom. I realized that I had the power to write about it, and the ability go on TV and talk about it. And all the sort of sham that goes on at these trials.

KING: And "Vanity Fair" liked the idea of having you be this man about trials?

DUNNE: You know, they have been so fabulous to me because, I mean, I never do this equal time, you know, then I have to get the -- I take a stand.

KING: You sure do.

DUNNE: I do, and it doesn't always make me popular. But nonetheless, I take a stand, and I work for a great magazine that allows me to take a stand.

KING: Now, when you do a book like this, of course, you risk -- because you risk, because obviously you are telling us things that happened sometimes three, four, six, seven years ago.

DUNNE: Yeah.

KING: You could have been wrong about some observations. In fact, you were wrong a couple times about observations and then you correct yourself and end it off, right? So, that is the risk of looking back.

DUNNE: Yes. It is an interesting thing, looking back. You just held up the audio tape, and...

KING: Which you read, right?

DUNNE: Which I read. And it was a really interesting thing, because I hadn't read a lot of these stories for years.

KING: That is right. You wrote them years ago.

DUNNE: Yeah, and the Claus Von Bulow won the thing, and I -- as I was reading it -- I did it for Michael Veiner (ph) and his company. And as I read it I got so reinvolved in that, starting with the Von Bulow story. It was an amazing case.

KING: But you begin the book with your daughter's story.

DUNNE: Yeah.

KING: Was that the logical way to begin, since that began for you?

DUNNE: That is what started me. I mean, that event change my life and changed my career.

KING: Your daughter was an actress, right?

DUNNE: My daughter was an actress.

KING: Appeared in?

DUNNE: In "Poltergeist." She was up and coming. She was really -- from the moment she decided she was going to become an actress never stopped. KING: And there she is in "Poltergeist."

DUNNE: There she is. Oh, yes. Look at her.

KING: And she was murdered by?

DUNNE: She was murdered by a man called John Sweeney who had been her boyfriend. He was a chef at the famous -- then famous -- restaurant called Ma Maison.

KING: Does he kill her over -- was it battering? Was he a batterer? DUNNE: He was a guy who beat up women. And, he had a history of that. And she became afraid of him, and he, in effect, stalked her. She told me once that she was training for a movie and she went horseback riding on the bridal path, and he was standing there. Do you know what I mean? It was that kind of thing.

KING: Weird.

DUNNE: And she became afraid of him.

KING: How did she die?

DUNNE: He strangled her.

KING: In her house?

DUNNE: In her house, which he had lived in with her, and then she moved back to her mother's house and he got out and then she went back to the house, and he came and called on her, and he killed her.

KING: All of this is, if I may say, beautifully dramatically written of what you had to go through because you had come out of a rough period yourself. You had an addiction problem, right?

DUNNE: Yeah.

KING: You had just come out of this?

DUNNE: Yeah.

KING: And gotten close with your daughter?

DUNNE: Yeah, oh, well, I had always been close with her.

KING: I know, I mean, closer and then this happened.

DUNNE: I just adored that child.

KING: All right, now, what about the trial threw you so you much?

DUNNE: Well, in the first place -- I mean -- the second the defendant came out, and I saw -- they had him dressed like a semi- priest. KING: You knew him, right?

DUNNE: Yeah, I never liked him. I have to be quite honest with you, I never liked him, but I never said anything. My son Alex was the only one who was outspoken about him, and didn't like him and said it.

KING: So they brought him in.

DUNNE: And he was dressed like a sacristan in a Catholic seminary, and he held a bible. And he read this bible pompous -- not pompously, but he -- piously, was the word I was looking for, and -- you know, and it was just ludicrous.

KING: Where were you sitting in relationship?

DUNNE: Front row, front row, with my former wife, whom I was very close to.

KING: Some might say, why go to this? Why give yourself the pain of sitting behind your wife's killer and you write later...

DUNNE: My daughter's killer.

KING: Your daughter's killer -- when you write later about the Simpson trial, about that family. Sitting right behind O.J.

DUNNE: But let me tell you something. It's very, very important that the jury see that the victim had a family that were devastated. Because what happens is at the time of a murder, there is all the concentration on the victim. But by the time the trial happens, a year later, forgotten about her, and all the focus is on, oh, this poor guy. Oh, this poor guy. That is what happened at the Menendez trial, that is what happened at the O.J. trial. That is what happened, in a way at the Claus trial.

The jury becomes sympathetic to, especially if the guy is handsome or rich, or...

KING: We'll find out in a minute, what happened, as Dominick sees it, wrong at that trial. We even had a later incident of it when we were once in the studio at the same time with the judge in the trial. I remember that night very well.

We'll be right back with Dominick Dunne. The new book is "Justice." don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We discussed lots of these cases. "Justice" could be an ironic title because in your perception certainly you didn't get justice for your daughter.

DUNNE: It is ironic. I mean, that was...

KING: What was he convicted of -- the killer of your daughter? DUNNE: Manslaughter. Involuntary manslaughter.

KING: Involuntary?

DUNNE: And he got a sentence of six years, which was, automatically in California, cut to three. And he got out of jail in two and half.

KING: Where is he now?

DUNNE: I went nuts after he got out of jail, and I hired Anthony Pellicano.

KING: The detective.

DUNNE: The detective to follow him and to report on him, and all that stuff, you know.

KING: Stalk him.

DUNNE: Yeah, I did. And I mean, I was -- I was like crazy for a while after that happened. And before I decided the best thing to do was to write about it instead of...

KING: That helped with the catharsis.

DUNNE: Oh, please.

KING: Where is he now, do you know?

DUNNE: The last I heard, he changed his name. He took his mother's name -- his mother's first name for his last name, so he became John Mora, and, he was in Seattle the last I heard from him. At a restaurant called -- the Pelican Grill or something.

KING: And he's a chef.

DUNNE: A chef. Something like that.

KING: Now, there was one night during the middle of the Simpson trial, in which we were there every night and covering all these people, and Dominick Dunne is booked, and the same night, the judge and that trial is booked, what was his name?

DUNNE: Judge Burton Katz.

KING: Burston Katz. And Dominick walks in, he says, well, hi, Larry, who is on the show tonight? I said, Judge Burton Katz and Dominick does a U-turn, not me, so we asked Judge Katz to leave -- you were the bigger guest.

DUNNE: I just...

KING: You couldn't have gone on.

DUNNE: I couldn't have gone on, I just couldn't. Things happen in -- trials, and, I didn't like him.

KING: I gather.

DUNNE: And he didn't like the prosecutor. And, you know, every ruling went against the prosecution, and a woman came forward...

KING: That should have...

DUNNE: ...whom he had beaten up, before he had beat up my daughter. And she had had a horrendous time, hospitalized twice, with broken this, that and the other thing, and told this terrible taunting story outside the presence of the jury.

And Sweeney listening to it got into this rage in the courtroom and got up, and knocked against a file cabinet and three bailiffs had to come and tackle him and put him down, and the judge should have thrown him in whatever -- something. And instead, he said, oh, well, I know what a terrible strain you are under, and then he ruled inadmissible.

KING: Her evidence?

DUNNE: That the jury could hear this woman, and so it was possible to present Sweeney in a light that he was not like.

KING: Now did this -- I don't mean to use it derogatorily -- did this warp Dominick Dunne enough? Because we kidded you, that every trial you have covered, the defendant is guilty?

DUNNE: Well, those are the trials I pick.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: You do have some people who have been incorrectly charged and convicted, as we have already seen guys that have gotten out on DNA.

DUNNE: But not any trial I have covered.

KING: You covered it, so Claus Von Bulow, did it in your opinion.

DUNNE: Yes, I think -- I think he did.

KING: Do you make your judgments early? Like Claus Von Bulow, you write brilliantly about this. Was it pretty early on, you spoke with him, you met with him with his girlfriend, he has this wife in a coma.

DUNNE: That was one of the most bizarre cases.

KING: We had him on here.

DUNNE: Well, he had charm -- I mean, charm, like almost nobody I'd ever seen.

KING: Pretty good lawyers.

DUNNE: We had some great lawyers, Alan -- he was found guilty the first time, sentenced to 30 years, then Alan Dershowitz came in -- Alan Dershowitz is brilliant, there's just no two ways about it, and he got the first verdict thrown out.

KING: When do you decide? When did you?

DUNNE: I'll tell you, that is not a typical case. But usually, I decide early on. I mean, when I saw Claus -- not Claus, when I saw O.J. in the white Bronco, on the thing, he did it. When they got back to the house, after the Bronco turned around, and they put the bracelets on his arm, they were on very briefly, if you remember.

KING: Sure do.

DUNNE: He should have gone ape, if he hadn't done it, you know, how dare you -- and he, you know, there was something about that. I thought he did it.

KING: And now, in writing about Simpson -- let's go to Simpson. The stories -- I'm it in a lot, because you got me in the courtroom, I see you at dinner, we were out there -- you sort of do it as a sort of a diary.

DUNNE: Well, I do, because I think these trials are great dramas and it is not just what you see on TV, it is not just what the judge and lawyers and this and this. There is stuff going on. I mean, the hatred between O.J. Simpson's sisters and the Goldman family, knew no bounds. That was fascinating to me.

KING: The way you write about the lawyers -- we are seeing them now, there is O.J. and Shapiro. And F. Lee Bailey, Judge Ito, all these dramatic figures.

DUNNE: Every single one was a drama -- there was not a vanilla character in that whole trial. I never saw a trial -- there is Marcia -- I never saw a trial where there is as many high-powered people who hated each other.

KING: Do you get to hate, too -- we understand the hating of Sweeney killed your daughter -- do you get to hate O.J.?

DUNNE: No, I never hated O.J. I thought he was guilty. But I never hated -- as a character he was fascinating to watch. I think one of the high points of that trial was when the terrible error was made of the glove, and they allowed him to put on the glove over the latex glove, do you remember that?

KING: Yes, I do.

DUNNE: If the glove don't fit, you must acquit. It was so brilliant what he did. I mean.

KING: What Bailey did, you mean? DUNNE: What O.J. did, how he -- it made me realize what a great athlete it was, that was his chance, he grabbed that glove, he pulled it on, he knew it didn't -- you know he fixed so it -- it couldn't fit, he walked across the courtroom to the jury in front of the jury, I mean, he had a sense of drama there. It was one of the most dramatic things I ever saw.

KING: Was the trial over that point?

DUNNE: Possibly.

KING: We will be right back with Dominick Dunne. This is one heck of a read, the book is "Justice."

We'll be taking your phone calls, don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: A lot of famous trials in this book, the O.J. trial. Remember that day of the verdict?

DUNNE: Do I remember?

KING: Were you shocked that they were out so soon, so quickly?

DUNNE: Of course.

KING: Everyone was.

DUNNE: Of course. You know, I was on -- I used go on every Friday with Dan Rather, and every week, he would say to me, how is it going to end? And every week I would say to him, hung jury. I really believed hung jury, I totally believed it. And then when the verdict came, in two and half hours, whatever it was, ludicrous, I mean -- I said, well, they are going to convict him. I was -- I can't tell you how surprised I was.

KING: Was it prosecution did poorly? The defense did great? Neither? What? What's your analysis in retrospect?

DUNNE: Well, I think that the prosecution lost it more than the...

KING: Defense won it.

DUNNE: Defense won it. I actually do believe that. And I mean the defense had some wonderful lawyers. I'll tell who always gets the bad rap is Robert Shapiro. He was a publicity hound. But you know, he did do one of the most brilliant things right in the beginning, in that he got Dr. Henry Lee and he got Barry Scheck, and Barry Scheck's partner, and put them on -- on board, and those guys knew more about DNA than anyone in the country.

KING: They confused the whole...

DUNNE: They confused and confused. I mean, it was brilliant. KING: You covered the Menendez brothers trial. This is a brilliant chapter in the book. How they were -- the first jury was a hung jury, Leslie Abramson, their lawyer, the wild thing watching these two kids, never realized how what -- the way they lived before they were arrested, right?

DUNNE: I mean, it was incredible what these -- what these kids gave up.

KING: In retrospect, why did they do it, and why that brutally?

DUNNE: Why? Why? I mean, I want to go up to prison now and visit them. You know, they got life without the possibility of parole, so...

KING: And separate prisons.

DUNNE: And separate prisons, they can't see each other. And what do they got to lose now? You know, I would love to know, I mean, what made it happen that night? Why? Why it was...

KING: Look at that family, look at where they are now.

DUNNE: Look at them. These two young -- and you know, they were very close to each other. And -- but you know, again, when I saw the video of them coming out of the Directors Guild on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, where the memorial service was, there was some swagger about Lyle that I just thought, he did it.

KING: There you go, Dominick.

DUNNE: He did it.

KING: Did you not like Leslie Abramson?

DUNNE: She and I didn't get along. She didn't like the way I reported. And her favorite reporter is the great AP reporter Linda Deutsch.

KING: Good reporter.

DUNNE: Marvelous. Marvelous.

(CROSSTALK)

DUNNE: But, I mean, I go into the details. And Leslie would, you know, could use a lot of dirty words, and she would get into the elevator at every break. She was like a chain smoker, like this, and every break she would -- she would run to the elevator. All the reporters would get in with her, because she always had something great to say, and she would say things about the judge and the thing -- using language you couldn't believe, and then she would say, and she would say: "And you can print that!" Knowing that they couldn't print it. But I could.

KING: Yeah, you did it. DUNNE: I could and I did.

KING: In a perverse way, you liked her? Would you call that...

DUNNE: No.

KING: Is she a good lawyer?

DUNNE: Yeah, but she had methods that I really disapproved of.

KING: We'll be right back with more, we'll talk about Martha Moxley, we'll be including your phone calls. We'll get his thoughts on some other things that he may be covering, trials that could well come, and what he thinks about JonBenet Ramsey. Dominick Dunne is our man -- he is our man at the trial. The book is "Justice," don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: There is so much to talk about. What a book this is. He also discusses the Vickie Morgan murder, the mistress of Alfred Bloomingdale, of course, as we said, the Claus Von Bulow case. Martha Moxley -- earlier this year, the judge ruled there is sufficient evidence to proceed against the Kennedy cousin. This is 1975 this occurred, she was 15. Do you think he did it?

DUNNE: Yes.

KING: Yes, there you go again.

DUNNE: Yes, I do. Yes, I do.

KING: You were on this from the get-go.

DUNNE: I'll tell you, I started it. I restarted it. I mean, in 1991, I was covering the William Kennedy Smith rape trial in Palm Beach, and there was this story that went through the courtroom that Willie Smith had been a house guest of the Skakels in Greenwich on that night of Martha Moxley's thing. Well, I couldn't get...

KING: Her death?

DUNNE: What?

KING: The night of her death?

DUNNE: Yeah. And I couldn't get back fast enough. And it wasn't true. I mean, it was a bad wrap for Willie. And -- but it got me interested. I said, what happened to that, what happened to that case? I hadn't heard about that case for years, and -- they said, well, you know, the father died, and the mother moved away, and nothing, nothing was -- and I found out where the mother was, and she was in Annapolis, Maryland, and she bought a condo.

And I wrote her a letter and asked if I could come see her, and she was -- she is very media-savvy now, but she wasn't in those days. And she wouldn't let me go to her condo, and I met her in a coffee shop at the Baltimore/Washington Airport. And I said: "What did you go for? There is nobody -- there is nobody fighting your case?" And she said, because every time she looked out the window over her house, there was the Skakel house, and she didn't know who had done it, but she knew that in that house they knew what had happened.

KING: You blew that open.

DUNNE: I did. And said: "Let me write a book about it." Let me write -- I could -- I was on a roll, I had written three bestsellers, three big miniseries, I said I got another one I could do, and let me do this case.

And the fact that I had had -- lost a daughter myself was really what convinced her, and that case -- that book really reopened or relit this case.

KING: In view of this, do you ever fear for your own safety?

DUNNE: Yeah.

KING: Because a lot of people don't like you.

DUNNE: Yeah, I know. I know.

KING: But you don't walk around with...

DUNNE: I don't. Somebody else asked me that, and I'm not even like a good -- like if somebody wanted to fight me, I would lose. You know, I just would. And -- but I don't know why, Larry. I mean, at the O.J. trial I got six death threats. I got booed when I went out in the streets, and, you know, in the crowds outside the courtroom, because I was so outspoken that he -- I felt he was guilty. And -- but for some reason, you know, yeah, I get afraid, but I'm not...

KING: Not afraid afraid.

DUNNE: Not afraid...

KING: Not enough to hire security around the clock.

DUNNE: No. No.

KING: What do you make of this JonBenet Ramsey thing?

DUNNE: Well, you know, I have never written about this, and -- because so many writers already on it, so I never did. But I'm still fascinated by that story.

And, you know, I work with victims in my private life, and I'm on the national -- I'm on the board of the National Victims Center, and so forth, and so on, and go to candlelight vigils for victims and occasionally see parents who have lost a child, to talk to them. And nobody I have ever talked to or seen who lost a child to homicide has behaved like Mr. and Mrs. Ramsey did. I mean, the hiring the PR person, hiring their own lawyers... KING: So, you suspect?

DUNNE: What I suspect is they know more than what they are saying.

KING: We had maybe one of the most incredible shows I ever did was having the detective on with them who accused her...

DUNNE: I saw the show.

KING: That was...

DUNNE: One of the great shows.

KING: Unbelievable.

DUNNE: Yeah.

KING: So you -- will there ever be an arrest?

DUNNE: It doesn't look like that. It doesn't look like that. But you know what? I don't think they are having a great life either.

KING: We'll be right back with Dominick Dunne. The book is "Justice," also available on audio tape.

Tomorrow night, a tribute to Judy Garland. It's the anniversary of her death. Among the guests, Lorna Luft, Mickey Rooney, Anne Miller and Norman Jewison.

We'll come back, we'll be including your phone calls, we'll ask more about other trials and tribulations as seen through the eyes and the pen of Dominick Dunne. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back with Dominick Dunne, special correspondent for "Vanity Fair" and author of new book "Justice" -- an impossible-to- put-down book about crimes and trials, and the misdeeds of mankind. We're going to include some phone calls as we continue along.

Williamstown, Missouri, hello.

CALLER: Hello, Larry. Hi, Dominick.

DUNNE: Hi.

CALLER: I just wanted to say, I know you're a big voice for victims, and I thank you on the behalf of my sister and my stepfather, who were murdered by an ex-boyfriend. I just wanted to know, have you spoken in front of any kind of a legislature to try and enact tougher laws for victims' rights?

DUNNE: You know, I haven't spoken in front of -- no, I haven't. I mean, I speak a lot. I speak a lot at victims' things, but you know, I haven't done that. I probably should, shouldn't I? KING: Well, technically, what rights does a victim have? They're gone.

DUNNE: None. They have none, and that was what I found out. That was what the shock was to me, at the daughter of the man who killed my trial.

KING: Killed your daughter.

DUNNE: I mean that killed my daughter, I'm sorry. They -- the defendant has much more rights than the victim has. The victim's gone. You can say anything, anything, anything, whereas everything is protected.

KING: You're on a thing now with this Safra case, right?

DUNNE: Yes.

KING: He died of asphyxiation in a fire, right?

DUNNE: In a penthouse in Monte Carlo. This is an amazing story. I mean, there's -- I have no solution to this. I don't know. I don't know what...

KING: He as murdered?

DUNNE: He was -- well, he -- died by asphyxiation. He couldn't get out. He didn't wish to come out of that bathroom. It's a really fascinating story. He was one of the richest men in the world. He had become a citizen of Monaco the day before this happened. He was a man who had 12 guards trained by the Mossad with him at all time, and not one of them was on duty that night.

He had this -- he had a lot of nurses, and he had this one nurse on duty who lit the fire this night -- very confusing thing. A toilet paper fire that was lit by a scented candle, and he held it up to the fire alarm system, because he said that there were two intruders there, and he wanted to attract attention. That guy is called Ted Maher, from Stormville, New York, an American, is in jail now in Monaco, and he's been there for 18, 19 months. No date for a trial has been set. I happen not to believe that he is the sole person response for this. There's just too many strange things.

KING: You think he's involved, but not solely involved.

DUNNE: He certainly admits to having lit the fire. And -- but the story that he -- you've got to remember that they got the confession out of him. He was wounded. Whether he wounded himself or was wounded is a moot point. And he signed the confession in a language he didn't speak. They had his wife's passport and said they wouldn't let her out of Monaco to get back to the kids. It was a very strange thing.

KING: What has to fascinate you in order to cover trial, write about it? What's the trigger lock? DUNNE: Well, I know this sounds so snobby to say, but I never write about street crime. I mean, I write about crime among the powerful, because it's different for them.

KING: The rich are different than you I.

DUNNE: You bet. Now, let's just get back to the Ramseys, for instance. Here they were, the chief suspects in that trial. A grand jury was called. They had to appear before the grand jury, and they appeared on videotape instead of live. Now, only a rich person has the power to do that.

KING: Gatesville, Texas, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry, great show.

KING: Thank you.

CALLER: Mr. Dunne, I love your books, and my question is, now that Sam -- Dr. Sam Shepard's son is trying to clear his name, what do you think about his guilt or innocence?

DUNNE: Well, you know, I don't really feel qualified to speak on that. You know, I don't honestly know the case that well.

KING: It was before your time.

DUNNE: Yes.

KING: Brilliant work by F. Lee Bailey.

DUNNE: Wonderful. Wonderful, wonderful. F. Lee Bailey is not one of my favorites, but he did a great job in that.

KING: What do you make of the missing intern?

DUNNE: The missing intern -- what I wish in the missing intern is that the Congressman had a better PR person. I mean, somebody really advising him, because he's not being well advised. I don't care what the police told him. He has got to make a public statement at some time.

KING: Even if it meant he had affair with her? He's got to say that?

DUNNE: So what? You know, that doesn't mean he killed her, that he had an affair with her. But the longer it goes on like this, the ickier it gets.

KING: Now, what do you make of Robert Blake?

DUNNE: Well, that's another interesting one. I'm fascinated by that story.

KING: Seems to have faded. DUNNE: So faded, because it's gone cold. You know, Linda Deutsch, my pal -- whom I never agree with on anything, but I like her a lot -- and I saw her. She was in New York the other day. She's the AP crime writer, and she says the trail has gone cold. This could be an unsolved murder again.

KING: We'll be right back with more of Dominick Dunne and more of your phone calls. The book is "Justice." Don't go away!

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE, and we go to more calls for Dominick Dunne.

Tampa, Florida, hello.

CALLER: Yes, Larry, my question for Mr. Dunne is, if you had the opportunity to maybe perhaps do a little time traveling and go back into some of our past historical trials, what trials would he cover and why?

DUNNE: Wow, what a good question. I would love to have covered the trial of Bruno Hauptmann, the man who kidnapped the Lindbergh baby.

KING: A lot of people still think he didn't.

DUNNE: A lot of people still think he didn't, I would love to have covered that.

KING: How about the Rosenbergs?

DUNNE: The Rosenbergs is an interesting trial.

KING: How about Jesus Christ?

DUNNE: Pretty good, Larry.

KING: Just trying to come up with them. San Antonio, Texas, hello.

CALLER: Hi, question for Mr. Dunne, what is your opinion of the death penalty and do you think that will change in the United States any time soon?

DUNNE: Well, I tell you something, I am not for the death penalty. Which always surprises people, as pro-prosecution as I am. I am not for the death penalty. I'm for life in prison without the possibility of parole.

But I think as long as we have it, that Timothy McVeigh deserved it. I mean, I would never be one of those people that stood with a candle outside the prison during -- I don't feel that strong, but I am not for the death penalty.

KING: New Liskeard, Ontario, hello. CALLER: Hello, Larry.

KING: Hi.

CALLER: Yes I have a question for Mr. Dunne.

KING: Go ahead.

CALLER: First, I would like to say how much I enjoy his articles in "Vanity Fair".

DUNNE: Thank you.

CALLER: My question is, have you ever been sued? And what was the outcome?

KING: Good question.

DUNNE: A good one but I haven't been.

KING: Really?

DUNNE: And I walk a very thin line, here, a lot of times, and the stuff that I write. And, I haven't been sued.

KING: Why do you think you, some people walk around, with a black cloud over their head, some people walk around with lucky and some people -- why do you think you run into all the right people, at all the right times? Why does it come to you?

DUNNE: Well, you know, it isn't that I'm this great investigative reporter, things happen to me, people come to me, and I mean in the Safra case, it isn't like I'm over sniffing around, doing something -- people want to see me. And...

KING: You are not as an investigative reporter as we would expect you, right? You are a -- you are a -- a writer.

DUNNE: I'm a writer that who goes around, who moves around in the thing, and if I get my nose into a case, like the Menendez brothers, like the thing, people come and tell me that.

KING: Are you cynical by nature?

DUNNE: No.

KING: Which is surprising, normally you would think you would be. You are not cynical.

DUNNE: No.

KING: To Wichita.

CALLER: Hi Larry, hi Dominick.

DUNNE: Hi. CALLER: You said earlier in your interview you would like to sit down and talk to the Menendez brothers.

DUNNE: Yeah.

CALLER: Would you also like to have the opportunity to sit down and interview O.J.?

DUNNE: No.

CALLER: No?

DUNNE: No.

CALLER: And why not?

DUNNE: I'll tell you, I sat through the civil trial, and I saw O.J. on the stand, lie, and lie, and lie, and lie, under oath. He has got the whole thing down now, and I just wouldn't believe anything he said. Whereas I think it is possible that the Menendez brothers -- they have nothing to lose, nothing. And I would just love to know what really happened, I never believed that Jose Menendez sodomized his son, I just never believed that for a second. And I would just like to know what happened that night that made them do it.

KING: Of the crime books, is "In Cold Blood" one of your favorites?

DUNNE: A classic, one of the great books, I have read it many times. I love Truman Capote, I loved his writing, but I mean that was his peak. And, you know, I had this...

(CROSSTALK)

DUNNE: Robert Blake and the classic performance, one of the great acting performances. And I had a in my -- diary, in "Vanity Fair," I had a picture of Robert Blake, and we had a letter at the magazine, from the guy who took the picture, and he had said that they were shooting this in Kansas, and everybody was living in a motel, all the actors, all the things, and Truman was there, and Richard Brooks was there, and the only one who didn't live with the rest of them was Robert Blake.

And, so the photographer said, you are missing -- you are missing so much because, you know, Truman Capote is so funny, all this stuff going on, and Blake said, "I don't want to get to know those people. Because next week I'm going to have to murder them."

KING: We'll be back with more of Dominick Dunne. The book is "Justice." Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: For Dominick Dunne, Ashland, Virginia, hello.

CALLER: Hello, I wanted to ask Mr. Dunne: how does he associate now with the famous people who he thought were his friends, but abandoned him when he was at his lowest point in his life?

KING: Good question.

DUNNE: Well, that is. That is very interesting. I'll tell you what. In Hollywood, yeah, I got dropped when I had, I mean, I was on my rear end for quite a few years.

KING: You were in movies and films.

DUNNE: That is before I became a writer. I didn't become a writer until after I was 50, 53 when I got published. And -- then, I went back, you know, I left there in 1979, and moved away, and then after when I went back for the Menendez trial and the O.J. trial, I mean, I was like a well-known writer by that time. And the very same people who had sort of dumped me, then said things like, I always knew this was going to happen to you.

KING: Didn't that bug you?

DUNNE: You know what? No. I mean, that is Hollywood. That is the way it is. And that is the world I write about, and I feel -- comfortable in. And, yeah, I went right back to some of those houses...

KING: You did.

DUNNE: Yeah, I did. I have no embarrassment about it, either.

KING: Miami, hello.

CALLER: Yes, I want to tell Mr. Dunne that I respect his opinion. Therefore, I would like to ask him what is his take on this woman who just killed her five children. There is a rumor she might be pregnant again. What would he think of writing a story on that at the end of the whole thing?

DUNNE: Gosh, I hadn't heard she was pregnant again.

KING: I had not heard that.

DUNNE: What a sad thing that is.

KING: Well, we know about depression. Are we still learning? What do we know?

DUNNE: I know a lot about depression, and...

KING: You were ever depressed?

DUNNE: Yeah. , I sure have been. And -- but somehow, I still think killing five kids -- I don't care how depressed you are, that -- this has gone into madness, and I was -- I felt that the husband behaved himself in such -- acquitted himself so well in that interview.

KING: Amazingly well... DUNNE: That he gave, he was so fair. I couldn't get over how fair he was. But...

KING: He may have known how sick his wife was.

DUNNE: Then why didn't he take the kids away from her, though? I don't know. I really don't know -- that is a tragic -- that is a tragic case. This is a really sad case. And you look at that poor -- well, I shouldn't even say that poor woman, because she did a terrible thing. But you look at that blank face of hers...

KING: Think she will ever stand trial?

DUNNE: Well, I'm sure they are going to try to keep her from standing trial. I think she should stand trial, yes.

KING: Westmont, New Jersey, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry, I love your show.

KING: Thank you.

CALLER: Dominick, I love you, and I've watched you...

DUNNE: I love you back.

CALLER: ... intensely at O.J. trial. But I'm curious about who do you think -- what do you think ever happened to Marilyn Monroe?

DUNNE: Well -- who -- again, who will ever really know what happened to Marilyn Monroe? I kind of knew her, you know. I knew her. Peter Lawford was a good friend of mine, and she was always at Peter's house, and she was a really nice woman. And I was under contract to Fox -- I used to be in the movie business before I became a writer, and I knew her at the studio, and everybody loved her at the studio except the front office. And -- because she was always having so many takes.

KING: Did you know about Kennedy involvement at all?

DUNNE: Yeah.

KING: You did?

DUNNE: I did. I did. And I had been at that house, at the Lawford house, when some of the Kennedys were there.

KING: Is her death suspicious to you at all?

DUNNE: It's tragic, but you know, I -- I don't think she was murdered. I honestly don't.

KING: We will take a break and be back with our remaining moments. This a terrific book, "Justice," with Dominick Dunne, don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We are back with our remaining moments with Dominick Dunne. How is your health? I know you have prostate cancer.

DUNNE: Yeah, but you know what, I licked it.

KING: Really?

DUNNE: I mean, I really did.

KING: By?

DUNNE: Well, you know, I had a hard time, I got burned during the radiation, they over-radiated me.

KING: I saw you then. Boy, you were...

DUNNE: I looked terrible, didn't I?

(CROSSTALK)

KING: ... we were all worried about you. Couldn't even digest your bagel.

DUNNE: That's right.

KING: They over -- they -- they -- what happened?

DUNNE: They over-radiated me, and it went -- they burned a hole in my bladder about that big, and you know, it was Mike Milken, who told me that I had been burned. It wasn't my own doctors.

KING: You didn't even know Mike, right?

DUNNE: I didn't even know him. I didn't even know him. And Barbara Walters took me to lunch with him, and he -- and he has been so fantastic. He is a great guy, by the way, Mike Milken. I'm really fond of him. And he followed through.

And the other today I ran into him one night at Le Cirque, and you know, I'm all finished, I finished the radiation, I did it all, I'm feeling great again. So he calls me up at 7:30 the next morning and he said: "You haven't been going to that cancer nutritionist that I told you to go to." And I said: "I did go." He said: "You went once."

KING: He knows.

DUNNE: And he knows.

KING: When you were told the first time, did you get scared?

DUNNE: Yeah. Of course -- listen, when they call and they say "you have cancer," that's scary. And the doctor I had had his nurse call and tell me, so I fired him. I mean, you know...

KING: The nurse called?

DUNNE: The nurse called. And it wasn't even a nurse I knew...

KING: Oh, by the way.

DUNNE: Oh, by the way, you know. And so, I got off to a bad start. And -- but you know, I had to do the radiation, I had to finish it. There was -- and I did.

KING: This is the same as Mayor Giuliani, then?

DUNNE: Yeah. And he has been -- listen, he called me also, gave me -- he -- I learned more from him in a 20-minute conversation -- he told me what it was going to be like when the radiation leaves your system. And you know, when you go into these sweats and all that kind of stuff, he explained that to me.

KING: Is this -- this is something you really -- I'm often told this, when people get something -- and I had it with heart -- but cancer specially, you want to learn everything you can, right?

DUNNE: Yeah.

KING: You want to know all the material.

DUNNE: Yeah. And this incredible brotherhood springs up.

KING: Yeah, what is that?

DUNNE: It is the most amazing thing, because usually guys don't talk about, you know, that they are impotent...

KING: Never used to say it.

DUNNE: Or that the -- you know, it hurts when they pee and stuff like that. I mean, all these guys who have it call each other, because practically every guy seems to have it over 50. And -- anyway, it is a very interesting thing.

KING: So, what are we working on now, Dominick? You are continuing on the Safra case, right?

DUNNE: Yeah, I am continuing on -- I am going to cover the trial in Monaco. If there is an arrest in the Blake case, I'm certainly going to cover that. I'm certainly the Skakel trial coming up -- I mean, I have worked on this...

KING: It's your baby.

DUNNE: ... for the last -- since 1991, my baby. And I'm writing a novel called "A Solo Act," which is like a sequel in a way, 15 years later of my book called "People Like Us," about New York, the rich of New York. Got in a lot of trouble with that book. And probably will get into a lot of trouble with this new one.

KING: You love it, trouble. DUNNE: Trouble, who cares.

KING: It's my middle name, right?

DUNNE: It's my middle name.

KING: You had one of the great titles ever of a book, "Another City, Not My Own" on the Simpson trial.

DUNNE: Yeah. Thanks, Larry.

KING: Pleasure being in your company.

DUNNE: Thank you.

KING: Dominick Dunne, the best-selling author. The newest book, "Justice: Crimes, Trials and Punishments," a special correspondent for "Vanity Fair."

By the way, send us your questions for our guests. Monday night, July 2, singing sensation Janet Jackson for the hour. Just log on to our Web site and send us an e-mail, cnn.com/larryking. Janet Jackson Monday night.

Tomorrow night, our look back at the life and times -- and tough times -- of Judy Garland with people like Lorna Luft, her daughter, Mickey Rooney who appeared I guess in 40 movies with her, the great Anne Miller, director Norm Jewison and Margaret O'Brien, they will all be here tomorrow night.

Thanks very much for joining us. Stay tuned for "CNN TONIGHT." For Dominick Dunne, yours truly Larry King, good night.

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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