CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Interview With Dominick Dunne
Aired May 20, 2002 - 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, Dominick Dunne, having lost a daughter to a vicious killer, he takes issues of justice to heart. From Michael Skakel to Jon Benet Ramsey to accused Hollywood killer Robert Blake, Dominick Dunne will take your calls and give you an inside look at some of America's most sensational crimes.
Plus, we'll get the latest on the Robert Blake murder case. Is the actor trying to buy the silence of is alleged co-conspirator? We'll hear from Blake's defense attorney Harland Braun. All of that next and more next on LARRY KING LIVE.
We always have a great pleasure in welcoming Dominick Dunne to LARRY KING LIVE. His most reason book is "Justice, Crimes, Trials and Punishment". Now out in trade paperback. There you see its cover. He's, of course, the special correspondent for "Vanity Fair". His monthly diary for the magazine in its second year, and he's going to host a new series on Court TV starting in June. Dominick Dunne's power, privilege and justice. He is currently on top of covering the Martha Moxley murder case, the case in which the defendant is the Kennedy cousin, Michael Skakel. Why does this case so fascinate you?
DOMINICK DUNNE, INVESTIGATING UNSOLVED CRIMES: Well, it's fascinated me from the very beginning, Larry. I mean I think I had a lot to do with the reopening of this long dormant case. When I was at the William Kennedy Smith trial in Palm Beach, there was this rumor that he had been in the Skakel house on October 30th, 1975. So I went back to check it out, and it turned out not to be true. He wasn't there, but I got interested in that story, and whatever happened and so forth? And the family moved away; the father died.
And I tracked Mrs. Moxley down in Annapolis, Maryland. I met her in a - in a coffee shop of the Baltimore Washington Airport and I said what'd you move away for? What -- there's nobody -- there's nobody - you know and this was in 1991. And the murder had happened in 1975, and so I asked her what she would think if I wrote a novel based on her daughter's murder and on a family like the Skakel family, a rich, Catholic family, and I wrote a novel. It became a best seller, and it reopened - I mean it put the spotlight back on that case.
KING: And then Mark Fuhrman wrote a book about it, too, right?
DUNNE: Yes, but I'll tell you what happened first.
KING: First, we ought to say that there's -- you have feelings in this case, and this show always tries to be balanced. You believe that Skakel is guilty as charged, right?
DUNNE: Yes, I always have ...
DUNNE: ... feelings.
KING: You always do, and so we're basing this on -- you haven't heard the whole trial yet. I know you try to be open, but basically we know that's where you're coming from.
DUNNE: Yes that's ...
KING: All right, go ahead, I'm sorry ...
DUNNE: That's absolutely right. But ...
KING: The Fuhrman book.
DUNNE: Well the - well first, Rushton Skakel hired a private detective agency called the Sutton Agency that worked for three years on the case trying to deflect the suspicion of certain members of the Skakel family. And they ran up a bill of $750,000,and the report pointed to Michael Skakel, heretofore his brother Tommy had been the main suspect. And so this report was - they'd all signed confidentiality oaths. This report was put in the back of a file, but a kid whom they had hired to put all these reports together for Mr. Skakel, they had forgotten to ask him to sign the confidentiality oath, he had written the scenario, and he stole it, and he brought it to me, and I -- that's when I got Mark Fuhrman to come into the case, and I gave him the Sutton report and he went from there.
KING: And Fuhrman shares your beliefs, right?
KING: OK, tell me a brief history of who this girl who was killed and why she was killed. What's the - what's the prosecution's motive concept?
DUNNE: Well I mean she was 15 years old. She was a newcomer in Greenwich. Now, Greenwich is a very swanky place, full of very, very rich people, and the Moxley family, who had been there about a year and whereas the Skakel family, I think they were in their third generation of being in Greenwich, and for people who don't know, the Skakel family is enormously rich, and they are related by marriage to Ethel Kennedy, Mrs. Robert Kennedy was Ethel Skakel, and it just happened that I went to Ethel Skakel's wedding when she married Robert Kennedy back in 1950.
KING: So Michael is Ethel Kennedy's nephew.
KING: All right.
KING: And which adds a lot of intrigue to this trial, it's a Kennedy relative in a sense ...
KING: ... not a blood relative, but a relative.
KING: OK, now the motive.
DUNNE: And so Michael Skakel and his brother Tommy Skakel were always adversarial. They fought and didn't like each other really. And Michael Skakel thought that the new girl next door or across the road, was his girlfriend, and he thought Tommy was sort of moving in on his grounds. And for years Tommy Skakel was the main suspect in this case. He was the last ...
DUNNE: ... one to have seen her -- to have been seen with her.
KING: And the theory of her being killed is why was she killed?
DUNNE: Well, that -- Michael saw Tommy making out with her, and he had a golf club that had belonged to a set of golf clubs that had belonged to his mother who had died a year or two years before this murder happened.
KING: So it was jealousy?
DUNNE: That's what -- that's my take on it, Larry, yes.
KING: But he didn't harm his brother.
DUNNE: Did not arm his brother and his -- you know, this is a very interesting thing. I mean, it seems -- this has not come up in the trial yet, but it seems that the brother could have helped him move Martha because she was moved 80 feet from ...
KING: Where she was killed.
DUNNE: ... where she was hit, yes.
KING: So there could be two people involved.
DUNNE: There could be two.
KING: OK, now, today we are told that two former friends of the cousin Michael Skakel testified that he admitted being at the crime scene the night that Martha Moxley was murdered, but that he never actually confessed to killing her. DUNNE: Yes that's right. He admitted being there, and he admitted masturbating in the tree -- it was a little confusing as to which of the trees he masturbated in, the one outside her window or the one under which her body was found. And that was a very interesting thing that happened in court today, Larry, in that Michael Meredith was one of the witnesses on trial. He is the son of Don Meredith, and he's 34 years old today, so he was younger than Michael. They had both been to the Elan School, but not at the same time.
And they met when they were both working for Joe Kennedy's campaign to get into Congress, and they had in common with each other the fact that they had been to this nightmare school called the Elan School.
KING: And was it Don Meredith's son that testified that Michael said he was at the scene?
DUNNE: Yes. Yes.
KING: We'll be right back with more of Dominick Dunne. He's with us for the full hour, taking your calls later. We'll get an update on the Blake case as well. He's right on top of the Skakel case, of course. Dominick Dunne is our guest.
Tomorrow night, Marlo Thomas, Wednesday night, Vice President Cheney. We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL SHERMAN, ATTORNEY FOR MICHAEL SKAKEL: This jury is not stupid. They are not going to make the leap that because Michael liked Martha, that if she liked Tommy more, then he's going to brutally murder her in the most savage and sadistic way we've ever seen. That takes a bunch of light years to leap that far, and I don't think this jury is going to buy it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: As we come back, you see Michael Skakel on the left there heading into court with his attorney for proceedings to take place today. The court that Dominick Dunne is covering this trial in, and Dominick joins -- there have been statements by some that Michael confessed this to others. Is that true?
DUNNE: Yes, but he usually says, though, that I think I did it in a blackout. So, you know, there's no --nobody has yet said he actually confessed to it. Now, there is -- one of the witnesses who died subsequently. He was in - he was in the hearings, said that Michael said that I -- yes, and I will get away with this because I'm a Kennedy, and it was interesting today. He died, that guy, and he - of a bad overdose - I mean an overdose of bad heroin. And his widow, from whom he was estranged, was in court today, and she totally backed up the story that he told.
KING: The puzzlement in all of this is it would seem the prosecution's got a difficult road to hoe with a case this old.
DUNNE: Very, very difficult and you know you keep hoping there's going to be a smoking gun along the way. So far I haven't - I haven't seen it, but there's been a great accumulation of people to whom he seems to have confessed. And I was just telling you about this guy Michael Meredith who was on the stand today, a very colorful guy. He was 34 years old. He was much younger than Michael and had not been to Elan at the same time. And he - they had met in Joe Kennedy's campaign ...
DUNNE: ... become friends. He'd moved into the Skakel house for the summer. He had never heard of the murder and then when Michael told him and told him the story, he left the next day and had never seen Michael again. And then was - that was just kind of a strange thing and ...
KING: How about the defense seeming to point to an alternative suspect? Ken Littleton, the tutor who testified for the prosecution, the defense is implying he may be the culprit.
DUNNE: Oh yes, but that was nonsense. I mean they prove - you know if they could have blamed this on Ken Littleton, the tutor, who was a teacher in the - in the prep school that the boys went to and Skakel hired him to move in, the Skakel family, they were totally unsupervised. And they - this guy, it was his first night on the job and for 25 years they've been trying to lay it on him and it's ruined his life. He's a drunk and a - you know has been and so forth - a drunk and a drugger ...
DUNNE: ... and everything since. But they showed this thing where they put him in a room in the hotel in a Howard Johnson motel outside Boston, and the police did, and they bugged the room, and they got his ex-wife to tell him that he had confessed during a blackout, which he had never done. And so I think he's out of the picture as the suspect.
KING: Are the Kennedys involved? Is Ethel Kennedy there? Are they showing public support?
DUNNE: Well there's been a rumor that they were going to be there, Robert Jr. and Ethel and I don't know who others, but they have not -- there have been no Kennedys there so far. There are many Skakels there, and the Skakels today did the thing that the Kennedys often do. They had a priest in a Roman collar sitting in the front row of the courthouse. It's something that I, as a Catholic, I object to terribly, to see a priest being used as a prop to show the jury what a wonderful family they are and that ...
KING: Of course these days ...
DUNNE: ... really annoys me.
KING: ... these days ...
DUNNE: I know ...
KING: ... may not be the best prop.
DUNNE: That's exactly right. There's that to be said.
KING: But you would say then the odds would be against the prosecution winning this one because of the length of time.
DUNNE: Well I -- no, no, I don't want to say that. I mean I don't want to say that. But it's a tough road for them, I think, unless there is a smoking gun.
KING: And how long is this supposed to go on, by the way?
DUNNE: Well it's -- they're going to rest in about two more days, the prosecution, and then the defense. I don't think the defense is going to go on too long. I would say we got about three more weeks here.
KING: You've watched lots of trials, does the jury look alert?
DUNNE: Oh yes, I think this is a wonderful jury. This is a really intelligent jury, and there's nobody falling asleep, you know there's none of that stuff. They're very - you know they're not allowed to take notes, which really surprised me.
DUNNE: I guess it's a California - I mean, it's a Connecticut thing. At the California trials they all take notes, which I think is very good, but they're very attentive. They don't miss anything, and there was a very dramatic moment in the case today with this Michael Meredith. He is now -- he's had a reckless background, and he's been arrested 15 times, and in the cross-examination Mickey Sherman got right in his face, and you know Mickey is very effective, and so forth, and he said to Michael Meredith have we ever talked? And Michael Meredith said well, you tried to contact me, and you certainly leaked my name to all the - to all the papers, and then he turned to Mickey, and Mickey was about this close to him, and he said I don't like looking at you. You're such an ambulance chasing creep, and boy, the courtroom went - I mean, people were roaring with laughter or stunned or shocked. I mean it was really quite a moment, and the judge had to call for order and anyway.
KING: The son of Don Meredith, the famed football player, for years on "Monday Night Football" on ABC.
DUNNE: And - yes but this kid is now a movie producer, clean and dry, and has you know, has just produced his first movie.
KING: We're going to take a break. When we come back, he's going to remain with us, Dominick Dunne. We'll have him pause for a couple of moments while we talk about the case involving Mr. Blake. We'll get his thoughts on that and other issues and take calls for Dominick Dunne. When we come back, Harland Braun will join us, the attorney for Robert Blake, and then Nancy Grace and Mark Geragos will go at it and then back to Dominick. Don't go away.
KING: Dominick Dunne remains with us in our New York bureau, and we'll be getting back to Dominick in a couple of minutes. Joining us now here in Los Angles is Harland Braun, the attorney for Robert Blake. Today in court the judge got a little angry and said he would not be allowing mud slinging, and he seemed to be talking about you.
HARLAND BRAUN, ATTORNEY FOR ROBERT BLAKE: He was - he was.
KING: What did you do?
BRAUN: I criticized the police, the way they arrested Robert Blake, and that kind of publicity stunt. I criticized the press conference, and I thought it was an abomination, and I criticized the fact that it got Robert Blake locked up in a cage without bail, and I guess judges sort of become defensive when you're outspoken, but this is America, I have a First Amendment right to say what I think.
KING: All right now (UNINTELLIGIBLE) what was today -- today what happened?
BRAUN: Well they tried to remove one of my investigators, a veteran homicide detective, from (UNINTELLIGIBLE) case, tried to throw him off the case - they failed at that. They tried to remove my co- counsel Arna Zlotnick as Earle Caldwell's attorney and they failed at that. So ...
KING: What -- was this a hearing today for what?
BRAUN: To see if we could use this Mr. -- detective Jordan, which we could and to see whether or not Earl could keep a lawyer of his choice?
KING: When does his trial start?
BRAUN: Well we still have got 35 to 40,000 pages to go through. We have 120 tapes. The prelim will probably be four to five months off, if we're lucky, and the trial by the end of the ear or early next year.
KING: Has anyone offered a plea bargain?
BRAUN: There is no plea bargain in this case.
KING: Because your client says he didn't do it.
BRAUN: ... didn't do it.
KING: Now what about the conflict of interest, issues raised? The prosecution wanted Zlotnick removed, saying that in a sense Blake is paying Zlotnick so he's tied to Blake.
BRAUN: Of course, but you know a lot of people pay for other people's attorneys. Corporations do it all the time. It's the integrity of the attorney that's the issue, not where she gets her money. Now if Robert Blake had allowed Earle Caldwell to sit in jail without bail and without an attorney, he would be not much of a friend. So he did what anyone would do for a friend and it does not influence Ms. Zlotnick.
KING: Why did they try to have your private investigator removed?
BRAUN: I think he's probably too good. He's too experienced.
KING: Yes, what grounds, though?
BRAUN: They claim that he was a witness to Mr. Blake's investigation of Bakley in his attempt to get custody of the child, and they think that he's a witness for them. He's not a witness for anyone. He's a witness to the truth and that's -- nothing hidden about that.
KING: What about bail?
BRAUN: Robert Blake should get bail. He's not a flight risk, and he's not a danger to anyone. He stayed around for a year. He's cooperated. The only reason they won't give him bail is they want to win at any cost.
KING: Are they still deciding, though, didn't he still hold the option open to still give him bail?
BRAUN: We're going to make a bail motion on June 18th to - as to the issue of lying and wait and we ...
KING: Does the same judge determine that or is it a different judge?
KING: OK. The judge plans - is this true, to pick an independent counsel to look into the matter of possible conflicts of interest?
BRAUN: He said he was going to, but I think that's not the proper procedure.
KING: Why is Blake paying the legal bills of the bodyguard?
BRAUN: Because it's his friend. It's his assistant. He's an employee. If you were sued, Larry, I think CNN would probably pay your legal fees, and most employees look to their employer, and that's why he's paying it. But he can choose any lawyer he wants. He likes Ms. Zlotnick. He's been represented by a year. The recent the prosecution doesn't like Ms. Zlotnick is because she won't cooperate with them.
KING: Do you think the public likes your client or doesn't, because he's been so bold. He's made public statements before, and kind of viewed sometimes as arrogant.
BRAUN: I hope the public wants him to get a fair trial. That's all we want for him. Whether you think he's guilty or not guilty, you don't know. I think he's entitled to a fair trial, and he's not getting fair treatment now because he's locked up in with no bail and a case he should be out.
KING: Thanks Harland always ...
KING: Harland Braun will be seen frequently as we forge forward toward a trial. Joining us now in New York is Nancy Grace, the former prosecutor and anchor for "TRIAL HEAT" on Court TV and in Los Angeles, the defense attorney mark Geragos.
Nancy, what do you think of one of the defendants paying the legal fees of the other?
NANCY GRACE, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Well I think just common sense wise it stinks, and I think a lot of Harland Braun's explanation was left out for your viewers, Larry. For instance, you know, L.A. has about 3,000 PIs. Why do they want to hire the one PI that is going to be a witness for the state and pay him money? He has been hired as a consultant and has yet to submit a bill since he has been rehired. And as to Ms. Zlotnick, that is Caldwell's attorney, the reason the state wanted her off the case is because she could potentially be a state's witness. According to them, she provided information to the police during the investigation. That's why they wanted her off the case.
KING: Mark, what's your read on the events today?
MARK GERAGOS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I think it's clear that what happened is the judge rejected this idea that they were going to eliminate the private investigator. I thought that was unbelievable basically when it was filed. The idea that because they want the person to testify that somehow you can't use him, I mean that's like saying that you can't use the investigating officer for the prosecution because the defense might want to call him to impeach one of their witnesses. That makes no sense whatsoever.
GRACE: The defense can call him Mark ...
GRACE: ... they just can't pay him.
GERAGOS: The issue is though Nancy ...
GRACE: They're lining his pockets with cash.
GERAGOS: They're not - you just said he didn't get paid. So he hasn't ...
GRACE: He hasn't submitted a bill yet, I never said ... (CROSSTALK)
GRACE: ... he hadn't got paid.
GERAGOS: Either he's getting paid or isn't getting paid ...
GRACE: He hasn't done any work ...
GRACE: ... he may have been paid.
GERAGOS: Well he obviously has done something, otherwise the prosecution doesn't want to call him ...
GRACE: Under the custody ...
GERAGOS: ... for no reason.
GRACE: ... investigation - under the custody investigation.
GERAGOS: Well, the custody investigation, he still ...
GERAGOS: ... has been hired by Mr. Blake or Mr. Blake's team. Just because he's been hired for one particular purpose doesn't mean you can't have that person perform another particular job.
KING: Do you think ...
GERAGOS: It doesn't make any sense.
KING: Mark, do you think he deserves bail?
GERAGOS: Yes I think he does. I mean special circumstance in California normally you don't get bail, but there's cases, I talked to Harland in the Greenroom before we went on today, case I had today, it's a special circumstance case in Los Angeles. My client's got a $1-million bail. It's not unusual. It's not unheard of, and in this case, given the problems with the lying in wait, given the fact that there's no physical evidence, and given the fact that they've got no eyewitnesses and no kind of smoking gun so to speak here that links Robert Blake here, he deserves a $1-million. Put him on an electronic monitor and let him stay back at his house where he's been for the last year.
KING: Nancy, what's ...
KING: ... wrong with that, Nancy?
GRACE: Mark, Larry ... GERAGOS: Yes.
GRACE: ... according to the state the man tried to hire two stunt men as hit men. You can't convince this jury, I don't think, that everybody is lying except Robert Blake.
KING: I mean on ...
GRACE: He was there on the scene ...
GERAGOS: Yes but ...
GRACE: He had motive for murder and his hands were covered in gunpowder. Why should he get bail?
GERAGOS: Nancy, Nancy, understand what the facts are.
GRACE: Bail is a privilege.
GERAGOS: Bail is -- you're entitled to bail ...
GRACE: You have a right to a bail hearing.
GERAGOS: They're not seeking the death penalty. It's a special circumstance case, yes.
GRACE: It's murder, Mark.
GERAGOS: However, the lying in wait is - well in any murder case here, in first-degree murder in California you're entitled at least in Los Angeles ...
GRACE: To have a bail hearing.
GERAGOS: to a $1-million bail. No, first-degree murder is one million. The only reason that he isn't out on it is because of the special circumstance.
KING: All right, guys, we'll be doing it -- more on it. Thank you all very much, Nancy Grace, Mark Geragos and Harland Braun earlier. We invited anybody from the prosecution to attend tonight, and they declined.
When we come back, Dominick Dunne returns, and we'll take your phone calls. Don't go away.
KING: We're back with best selling author, Dominick Dunne; his most recent book is now out in paperback, "Justice, Crimes, Trials, and Punishment" -- a terrific read -- he's a special correspondent for "Vanity Fair", and he's going to host a new series on "Court TV" staring in June called, "Dominick Dunne's Power Privilege and Justice".
We've discussed the Skakel case, we're going to take phone calls in just a couple of minutes, but I want to get Dominick's thoughts on what he just heard on the Blake matter.
DUNNE: Well, I must say, I love watching Harland on T.V., he is a great character, but then so is Nancy, and I always love the interplay between the ...
KING: Geragos and Nancy, yes.
DUNNE: Yes, but you know what, I'm against giving him bail, I'm sorry -- I mean this is a murder, with special circumstances, and I'm sorry I think he ought to stay in.
KING: OK, let's go to St. Petersburg Florida, for Dominick Dunne, hello.
CALLER: Hi, Mr. King and Mr. Dunne, I'm a big fan of both of yours. My question for Mr. Dunne is; with all the thousands of unsolved crimes being investigated, how does Mr. Dunne choose the ones that he writes about?
KING: Good question.
DUNNE: Very good question. Well, I'm -- I happen to be particularly interested in the upper echelon crimes, shall we put it.
KING: Rich people.
DUNNE: Yes, yes -- I mean I've never done a street crime story, and I mean it just happens to be, you know, I mean -- and I usually have a connection with the people, sort of, that are in the trial. I mean I knew Claus Von Buello (ph), at that trial, and I knew all the Kennedy's at the William Kennedy Smith trial, and of course I'm always on the other side, and so I'm not popular with these folks. But that's how I pick them.
KING: Where you involved in writing about crime before your daughter's killing?
DUNNE: No, I was not. I had never been in the courtroom, until I attended the trial of the man, John Sweeney (ph), who changed his name to John Mora -- I always like to get that in. I'd never been to a trial until I went to his trial, and I was appalled by the judge in the case and by the lies that are allowed in the courtroom, that, you know -- I thought, I could do something about this. I can write about its. I can go on T.V. and talk about this, and it changed my whole life, Larry.
KING: Golden, Colorado, for Dominick Dunne, hello.
CALLER: Hi, Mr. Dunne.
CALLER: Why isn't the Skakel trial being televised?
DUNNE: I wish it would be televised. I wish more trials would be televised. I love televised trials, and I can't tell you that I know why. I'm sure that Mickey Sherman, just love to be in front of the camera, and he's a great -- by the way Mickey Sherman is fascinating in a courtroom. I have to tell you, he's a show to watch, and I'm sure he'd love it to be -- I don't know why it is ...
KING: In Connecticut, is it up to the individual judge? Is there some sort of state law or each judge determines it on his own?
DUNNE: I think it's each judge, Larry, but I'm not sure on that.
KING: So, we don't know if this judge had a reason why it's not telecast.
DUNNE: No, I don't know that.
KING: Would the public be fascinated to watch this trial?
DUNNE: Yes, of course they would. It's a fascinating trial because, of -- Jonathan Benedict (ph), is a very interesting prosecutor, I mean, he's a New England, WASP, laid back, you'd think, you know -- he's quite as opposed to Mickey's dramatics, but slowly, slowly you begin to feel this guy's strength, and he's ably assisted by Kris Morano (ph), who happens to be a friend of mine, and who is in charge of all the Forensics and so forth, and Susan Gill. It's a very good team. So, I mean, it's a -- just whether Batine (ph) has got the goods to get them convicted, I don't know.
KING: Is, turning to the Catholic Church, is pedophilia that should be treated period, as a crime, or as someone writing in a Vatican paper this week said, "Should be treated as a religious matter inside the church."
DUNNE: Well, I think that was the most outrageous thing that I ever read, when I read that in the "New York Times"; of course it should be treated as a crime, and of course the bishop should give the names to the police, absolutely.
KING: Should there be compassion for the predator?
DUNNE: Well, yes.
KING: I mean, they're not typical criminals.
KING: They're in it for money, there's obviously something really wrong.
DUNNE: But, there's something wrong about any kind of abuse of a child is wrong, and a sexual abuse or physical abuse, any abuse of a child is wrong and should be treated as a crime.
I am just so appalled, as I think I said the last time I was on here; by the cardinals who have moved these guys around from parish to another, I just find that disgraceful.
KING: Why do you think, as you have said, that victims often get short tripped?
DUNNE: Well, they do, they do.
KING: Is that because they are not around?
DUNNE: Because, they're not there, and that's why I think it's so important for the families of the victim to be a presence in the courtroom. That's why I think Dorothy Moxley, this extraordinary women, I just -- wonderful, wonderful person, who has just never given up on trying to get justice for Martha's death, and she's a very dominant figure in that court room.
Now, the Skakel family; Julie, the sister is there, almost every day, and there is an aunt who is there, and then Rushton Skakel. The father was on the stand, this past week, and he's been pulling this, do you know that gangster; Chin Jangote (ph), or whatever his name is ...
DUNNE: ... who did the crazy act. Well that's what Rushton Skakel has done. Rushton Skakel was two years ahead of me at the Canterberry School, and he got on the stand, and he couldn't -- they asked him the names of his seven children, and he couldn't remember the name of one of them, and they asked him what had happened on September 11th, I mean, Mickey asked him, and he didn't know, he said something, some of ban -- you know, it was like that. So, and then they marched him out of the courtroom.
KING: We'll take a break and come back with more of the always interesting, Dominick Dunne.
Tomorrow night, Marlo Thomas, Wednesday night Dick Cheney, Thursday night Liza Minnelli, will be in our studios, and in addition to an interview, we'll sing some songs.
And on Friday night, the first interview since ABC dropped "Politically Incorrect", with its host, Bill Maher.
We'll be right back.
KING: Take another call for Dominick Dunne, Baton Rouge Louisiana, hello.
CALLER: Yes, hello, thank you. I'd like to know Mr. Dunne, what you think actually happened in the Jon Benet Ramsey case? And I'd also like to know how good or accurate, do you think the tabloids are at investigating these types of cases?
KING: Did you hear that, Dominick? DUNNE: Yes, that's two things; let me do the tabloids first. I'm not one to put down the tabloids. You know, during the O.J. Simpson trial, the "National Inquirer", had some incredible information before anybody else had it -- I mean, of course, they pay for it. But anyway, so, I think that they serve a purpose.
Now, the other half was -- oh, the Jon Benet Ramsey. Now look, this is what I feel about that. Again, it's like a Skakel thing, there is privilege in being involved in the Jon Benet Ramsey thing. When that case went before the grand jury in Boulder, Mr. and Mrs. Ramsey, who were in effect the chief suspects in that case, were allowed to on, on video tape, so that the grand jury never actually saw them, and I think it's so important to see the body language and everything. I don't think they should have been in control of that. I can't tell you who actually did it, but certainly in every interview that I've watched, with Katie Couric and Barbara Walters, when they've been on -- they know more than what they're saying. And I -- you know, they're kind of stuck with each other for life too.
KING: Historically in America, does having money buy you privilege in court?
DUNNE: Look, if you can spend a million bucks on a lawyer, you're going to usually do better than the prosecution. I mean it does help -- I mean only a rich person could say, "No, I'm going to go on videotape for the, for the, for the grand jury", that wouldn't happen to most people.
KING: No. Toronto Canada, hello.
CALLER: Hi, I'm -- I've been following Dominick Dunne's writing in "Vanity Fair", about Chandra Levy.
CALLER: And especially, the abduction theory, and it seems so horrific to me. I have two questions, number one; has anyone from the police department or the FBI following up on his sort of leads, and his theories, and secondly; how do the parents feel, given that according to your theory, she may be alive somewhere in sort of white slavery ring? How do they deal with that?
DUNNE: No, I've never said that I thought she was alive somewhere in some white slavery thing. That was not from me, but ...
KING: You reported it, but you didn't think it.
DUNNE: No, I never said -- I think that she was abducted, and taken, but the white slavery thing, I never said. I must say, there was a procurer, who was the source of this story. Now, let me tell you, I did -- they did follow up on some of the information that I got, but then they kind of pushed me aside and I never heard from them again, and I never could get any more information from them, every time I call. I mean they got what they wanted, and you know, they're under no obligation to me.
So, I don't know what's happening, and I have not been in touch with the parents.
KING: Were you hurt when the congressman really racked you up on this show -- got very mad at you?
DUNNE: Hurt? I loved it. I loved it that I'd gotten under his skin that way, and Condit, I mean that just -- you know, I felt proud, and I'm not a fan of his ...
KING: I gather.
DUNNE: ... you can tell. I mean, I'm not saying he did it, but he knows, he knows, and his indifference in the weeks immediately following her disappearance, a women with whom he'd had an intimate relationship for several -- a year anyway, and his total indifference, just turned me off him, completely.
KING: By the way, in the book, "Justice, Crimes, Trials and Punishment", Dominick adds a new essay called, "Morning in New York", about September 11th. I'm going to ask him about that when we come back, don't go away.
KING: Before we take a few more calls for Dominick Dunne, what is the essay "Morning in New York" -- dealing with justice, how does that equate?
DUNNE: Well, it doesn't really, it doesn't really. But, it -- you know, it was the, you know, the worst day -- September 11th, it was -- I had written that in "Vanity Fair", and my publisher thought in the paperback edition it would be good to include it.
KING: Well, it was a brilliant piece as I remember it in "Vanity Fair".
DUNNE: Yes, I don't know -- well I hope so.
KING: Two ...
DUNNE: Incredible day.
KING: Farmington Connecticut for Dominick Dunne, hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry and Dominick, it's so good to talk to you. Tell me how did you come to collaborate with Mark Furman on the book, "A Murder in Greenwich?" And will there be further books? I am very proud of you and Mark.
DUNNE: Well, I'll tell you exactly. You know, people say that we met at the O.J. trial, we never did. I was in the court room every time that he was in the court room during the O.J. Simpson trial, but at the end of that trial, I always felt there was something wrong, that didn't equate, that a man, who used the "M" word, and so forth, which is wrong and terrible; that his life should be ruined, when a man I believed, is guilty of killing of two people, walked free. And so, when the opportunity came along, when I had the Sutton report, I had a call from Lucianne Goldberg, whom you may remember Larry, who was at that time a literary agent, this was before the whole other events of Monica Lewinsky -- I mean this is several months before that, and she called me about Mark, and said that he wanted to do a book, and I had this information and that's how we got together. He's one of the great detectives of America, I like him, and I admire him, and I'm so happy that he's been able to start his life over again.
KING: He can also write.
DUNNE: He can write, yes, he can.
KING: But, you certainly don't forgive -- do you discount the things he said?
DUNNE: No, and I -- listen, that's something he will never day again. I mean it was, you know, the mistake of his life, and he -- but he shouldn't have to suffer for the rest of his life.
KING: Newdalenscar (ph) Ontario, hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry.
CALLER: You have great show.
KING: Thank you.
CALLER: Mr. Dunne, I really enjoy your articles in "Vanity Fair", you're one of my favorite writers. My question is; who is the most famous person, you found hardest to interview?
DUNNE: Who is the most famous person, I found ... I think maybe Amelda Marcos. I was the first person that got to interview her after her fall. And I interviewed her in Honolulu, and she still had an enormous grandiosity, as if what had happened, hadn't happened, as if she were still, you know, "Mrs. Philippines". And she had to be called "First Lady", the whole time, she was difficult interview, which she finally broke down, and I stayed several hours with her.
KING: Why do the rich fascinate you so much?
DUNNE: They do, they always have.
KING: They're different from you and I -- who said that? -- Fitzgerald?
DUNNE: Fitzgerald said that, and they are, and they are, and you see it in this trial -- I mean you see, the people who are at the Skakel's house on the night of the murder, were 15/16 years old, and now they're coming back as -- you know, they're 40/38 to 42 now, and they're women with children and so forth. And it's just so fascinating watching them arrive at the courthouse and they go up to Michael, and they give him the double kiss on each side -- oh Michael -- as if they haven't seen you, and then they go on the stand and they're prosecution witnesses. I mean, it's really fascinating to me. I just love watching all that interplay.
KING: Do you -- are you always hot to trot -- I know you're in on this Safra case overseas, right?
DUNNE: Oh, the Safra case, yes, indeed, indeed. Well, I mean -- and I'm going to be there when that trial starts. It's in the court of appeals now, and they're mulling the decision to reduce the charge to voluntary manslaughter, instead of intent, which would carry with it a sentence of 20 years to life.
KING: That's the billionaire banker who was asphyxiated right?
DUNNE: Absolutely, and the American lawyer who is a friend of mine, Mr. Griffith, he's going to put on a real show over there -- I mean he wants to turn it into O.J. Simpson type trial. I mean, it is really ludicrous that this man has been -- that Ted Maher, the nurse, the lowest ranking person on the house, has been in the prison, in Monte Carlo, for two and a half years -- and Mike Griffith (ph) is a wonderful lawyer, and he is going to bring a lot of publicity to this case.
KING: We're out of time. Dominick as always, that you so much -- calling on you again.
KING: Dominick Dunne.
DUNNE: Nice seeing you Larry.
KING: Me too, one of my favorite folk.
When we come back, I'll tell you about tomorrow night. Don't go away.
KING: Quite a lineup coming up the rest of the week. Tomorrow night, Marlo Thomas will be with us. On Wednesday evening, the Vice President, Dick Cheney is aboard. Thursday night, Liza Minnelli is here with interviews and song. And Friday night, Bill Maher in his first interview since ABC dropped "Politically Incorrect."
We go now to New York. Fighting a bad voice in a cold, never the less, in the great tradition of show business, he carries on, Bill Maher is not here.
Aaron Brown, "NEWSNIGHT" is next, I'm so excited Aaron, I don't know what I'm doing with myself.
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